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54

Sweden was a vital source of iron ores to Germany, an important strategic resource for her war effort. Because the allies controlled the seas, Scandinavia was Germany's main source of good quality iron. Attacking Sweden would have disrupted the supply for no real gain. Production of high-grade steel suitable for armour plate and gun barrels depended ...


31

At the time, Henry Suzzallo's National Encyclopedia claimed that: The Swedish Academy decided not to award the Nobel Prize in Literature this year, declaring that no single person in the field of literature merited the award in 1935. Whether this was accurate, it would not have been terribly unusual. The Peace Prize was likewise not awarded in 1935; it ...


25

For the same reason he did not invade Switzerland, the cost-benefit ratio was not good. Also, you should realize that the Germans were not just a bunch of frenzied madmen attacking everybody. They were happy to co-exist with other countries that were friendly, such as Sweden. After the war started, many countries, including the United States (1941), Britain ...


18

Swedish liberal attitudes developed during the post World War 2 era (remember that Sweden had been neutral, and had not suffered nearly as much during the war as many other European countries). As far as American perception of Swedish attitudes to sex, this was probably formed during Eisenhower's presidency. With the international distribution of Swedish ...


17

I found at least one source that advances the notion that Crichton is referencing a source who had an agenda, and may have exaggerated for effect. Ahmad ibn Fadlan wrote about his visit to the Rus: § 84. Every day they must wash their faces and heads and this they do in the dirtiest and filthiest fashion possible: to wit, every morning a girl ...


13

Sweden like Switzerland was a neutral country and not involved in the conflict. Attacking Sweden would have tied up military resources and it wasn't really necessary since the resources Germany needed from Sweden could be obtained by trade or diplomacy. See Wikipedia's article on Sweden during World War II for more information. There was also an ideological ...


13

Most cars actually had left-side steering even before the switch. Most imported cars were from countries with left-side steering. Cars made in Sweden kept this, as people were used to it, and it easier to export the cars. Here is a picture from the day of the switch, with people driving into Stockholm to try driving on the other side. Of the four cars you ...


10

It is somewhat important to realize that even Hitler was not so mad as to actually consider invading all of Europe, and getting away with it. He had to consider cost vs. benefit. Hitler's target -- "the plan", as early as 1925 -- was Russia. That's where his ideological enemy was: Bolshevism. That's where his whole screwed "Lebensraum" vision played out: ...


10

Peter greatly underestimated the size and speed of the Ottoman army, overestimated his chances to peel away Ottoman vassals as allies, allowed his supply lines to be disrupted, and misread the terrain and Ottoman maneuvers, bogging his forces down in a marsh. This should have been the end of Peter the Great, but his reputation and the timidity of the ...


10

Absolutely not. Through the entire 17th century and most of the 18th Sweden was the dominant military power across the Baltic Sea, a significantly stronger military power than Russia. Not until the end of the 18th Century is Russia approaching Sweden in military strength. It is not until 1809 that Russia is even strong enough to wrest the bulk of Finland ...


9

There are a couple of reasons. The main ones are lack of a double standard, and the fact that Sweden had its "1960s" about ten years earlier. The lack of a double standard explains the stereotype of "easy" women. Basically, Swedish women (by the middle of the 20th century) had equal rights with men in initiating flirtations (or more). They (and men) also ...


8

The reason goes back to Queen Margrethe I of Denmark. (She is to the current queen, Margrethe II, what Elizabeth I of England was to Elizabeth II). Margrethe was the Queen Consort of King Haakon of Norway-Sweden with whom she had a son, Olaf. She was also the daughter of King Valdemar of Denmark. The succession plan was to have the son take over both ...


8

I believe that the scene is 13 Warriors is taken from the account of Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rāšid ibn Hammād (Arabic: أحمد بن فضلان بن العباس بن راشد بن حماد‎) detailing his dealing with Northmen. This was a inspiration for Michael Crichton's Eaters Of The Dead which was a source for 13 Warriors.


8

According to this source by the Treaty of Bärwald: Richelieu, however, turned against the Habsburgs young Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, paying him a subsidy of a million livres a year by the treaty of Bärwald of the 23rd of January 1631. Wikipedia states: The treaty obliged Sweden to maintain an army of 36,000 troops, and France to fund the Swedish ...


8

The problem with doing that is that there was an established precedent in Western Europe that an "emperor" had to be proclaimed as such by the pope. Even Napoleon, who held a popular referendum on his accession to Emperor, required a Papal ceremony to make it official. For a protestant ruler, that's obviously not going to happen. Now, he could I suppose ...


8

As it is so often the case, an official reason given might not be the real reason for why something happened. In the case of the Nobel committee of that era, it is indeed the quasi official word that not a single suitable candidate was considered fit to receive the prize. Another inquiring mind has asked this question before and claims to have had this ...


8

Yes, they did put a Holstein-Gottorp on the throne. But that didn't really help relations very much. Following the disaster of the Great Northern War, Russia was the dominant power in Northern Europe. In the Treaty of Nystad, Sweden had to give up all the eastern Baltic dominions. More to the point of the question, Russia was also made a warrantor of the ...


7

I have attempted to do research on the history of Kubb, and although there are claims of people having played games called Kubb before 1990, sometimes as far back as the early 20th century, none of these can be verified, and certainly no description of such a game and it's rules survive. The first commercial Kubb games appeared on Gotland in the late 1980's ...


7

This is a difficult topic to find good sources for, because this war is largely forgotten in Sweden. It was not a very dignified affair, and was overshadowed by the catastrophic defeat in the Finnish War a few years later. Most Swedes, even historically interested ones, would not know about it or be more than dimly aware of it. (The article in Swedish ...


7

They were obviously important enough to call for the implementation of Operation Bridford. According to that source "This operation resulted from the fact that the UK was to a degree dependent on Swedish ball bearings and also needed other specialist equipment to keep production plants running" so it sounds like it was not just about the quantity. The cargo ...


7

Wrong premises lead to wrong conclusions First about Croatia - it did not exist as an independent country until 1991. Until 1918 it was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, later Austria-Hungary. After WW1 it was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later Yugoslavia. During WW2, it was a German puppet state, so called Independent State of Croatia . ...


6

A further look at the map that kubanczyk posted indicates another part of the story: the original campaign objective was indeed Moscow. However, Charles had to halt at about Smolensk (the last major stop on the eastbound route to Moscow) and to give up the idea of marching on to Moscow because his supply train (led by General Lewenhaupt) couldn't make the ...


6

Here is the map: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grosser_Nordischer_Krieg_Phase1.png Most important Swedish allies became the Ukrainians under Mazepa. Initially, Charles XII was going south to conquer them, but until he got there they decided to join forces against Russia. Mazepa had been promised an independent Ukraine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


6

The Plan R 4 article lists the following source: Ziemke, Earl F. (2000) [1960]. "Chapter 2, The German Decision to Invade Norway and Denmark"., Command Decisions, United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 70-7. Quoting from the source, emphasis mine: With due allowance for Hitler's tendency to play by ear, it can be said that the German ...


6

First of all, you have confused the Vikings (seaborne warriors) with the Rus, the Scandinavians who according to chroniclers founded Russia (hence the name); I'm not sure if this idea finds favour among modern Russian historians. The Rus are thought to have their name from Roslagen. About another assumption you make: If you would ask a Swedish historian of ...


5

Tom Au's answer above is mostly correct with regards to Norway; Albrecht actually had a formally stronger claim to the Norwegian throne, but was set aside since Margrete was so effective. As for Sweden, Albrecht had been king there since 1364, and Margrete only really came to power in Norway and Denmark in her own name in 1387/1388 (she had been regent for ...


5

Avancez! was the personal motto of William Chalmers, a member of the Swedish East India Company, who left about half of his personal wealth to supply for a school which eventually became the current university (the other half went to Sahlgrenska sjukhuset, a hospital founded by one of his colleagues). The school has copied his motto.


5

French used to have a status as working language for international institutions, somewhat like English today (or Latin in the past for Catholic Europe). This was the case around the time of the founding of Chalmers University of Technology (1829). It is not surprising if some universities during that time used a French motto. Today there are also ...


5

By the tone of your question, you're seeing WWII as a crusade against evil where there can be no neutrals, and in hindsight I agree. The laws of war didn't use these categories at the time. Being neutral can mean trading with both sizes equally, or with neiter one. If one of the belligerents is closer and trades more, that happens. The US transported lend-...


5

The ritual bowl is not uncommon in Germanic tribal culture. Even in modern settings communal washing bowl would not be considered disgusting (participated myself in Iraq) Most of us are more unnerved by the nose blowing etc. I have seen it suggested that Ahmad ibn Fadlan, might not of seen them emptying the bowl. Regardless, Arabs of the time only ...


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