During the invasion of Scandinavia, Sweden kept neutral, but because much of their income was generated by exporting iron, they continued to sell it to Nazi Germany. Sweden would not help Finland fight off the Soviet attack, but 8,000 Swedes volunteered for the Finnish army. Sensing the impending trouble, nearly everyone in the country pitched in to bolster the Swedish defense lines. The meager Swedish army nearly doubled overnight from volunteers and by war�s end tripled from that. Civilians built shelters, scanned the skies for enemy aircraft, donated time and money and made military vehicles and supplies. Germany told Sweden to stay neutral, but “pro-German,” meaning they would have to abide by Germany�s demands. The Swedes would not listen to Germany�s threats and told them if Sweden was invaded they would blow up the iron ore mines. Although Sweden was surrounded by chaotic war, its citizens led relatively normal lives. However, every Swedish family was affected by it because so many civilians were called into the military reserves.
After Germany conquered Denmark and Norway they blockaded Sweden from the outside, forcing Sweden to deal exclusively with Germany. This imposed terrible food and supply shortages, but the resilient Swedes made the best out of a bad situation. They pushed their food production to the limit and used enormous amounts of timber for countless by-products. Censorship was rampant and anti-German and anti-Communist sentiments abounded, which was only compounded when Sweden�s King Gustav V let Germany move their troops across Swedish land. Hitler did not invade Sweden because he did not want to waste valuable troops in Scandinavia when he had other concerns. The Swedes proved their neutrality by not letting Germany use Swedish airspace: when the Germans flew over Sweden to attack Norway, the Swedes fired back with anti-aircraft guns. The Swedish reluctance to bend under German pressure infuriated Hitler, but he had more important things to worry about–the invasion of western Europe.
Hitler did not invade Sweden because Sweden was traditonally a neutral country for over 200 years and Hitler did not want to bother Sweden when he already had Norway, a more strategically located nation.
Germany was already receiving iron ore from Sweeden on a cash and carry basis. Germany also needed a neutral country as a conduit for goods and foreign currency, and a stage for negotiations and an outlet to the world. As bizarre as it sounds, some goods and materials were purchased by neutral 3rd countries from Allied nations (the US for example) and sold to the Germans via Sweeden.
Why should they? The Swedes were willing to trade freely with Germany, offered no great strategic improvement to Germany should they be occupied, and had a military that was of no threat to any of its neighbors.
Contrast this with Russia which had a highly aggressive and expansionist military and political system. Occupation of their territory was Germany’s PRIMARY goal in WWII. Also, Stalin, while willing at times to trade vital materials with Germany was extremely unreliable and would have cut off trade when he thought it would best leverage the Soviet position.
Only nations that posed a threat to Germany, one way or the other, were attacked by the Germans. Despite popular mythology to the contrary, Germany was not on a rampage to take over the world in WWII. They were interested in improving their national security and sought to do this via military means.
Because of its geographic location it was not strategically important, it had no vital resources they wanted to steal and since the Swedes are Nordics the Nazis did not want to eliminate them. Michael Montagne
“since the Swedes are Nordics the Nazis did not want to eliminate them.”
People being Nordic did not stop them invading Norway.
Sweden actually did provide Germany with iron ore throughout most of the war. The Swedes were cooperative with the Germans (while they were still powerful) knowing full well they were at risk of invasion otherwise. As long as they cooperated the germans had no need to launch a costly invasion.
The invasion of Norway was to: Protect the shipping route for Swedish iron from any Allied interdiction.
Actually, this question should be in one of the top positions in questions asked. Sweden provided steel to the nazis, the even provided their railways to them when they invaded Norway. There are many documents on the net and documentaries aired on swedish state television regarding the “swedish-nazi” cooperation during WWII. It was not by chance that Sweden was Europes richest nation at the end of WWII. Today, pro-nazi sentiments still exist making Sweden the No.1 country in the world for self-declared nazis pro-capita. they even have their own political party which is allowed to exist despite WWII and despite present and on-going acts of violence and brutality towards non-native/immigrant individuals. Alot is hush-hush and very little is mentioned in the papers. racism is a problem which unfortunately is underplayed. To be factual..there race or neo-nazi related crimes in Stockholm everyday but they are often just reported for the “text-book” crimes that are committed and the fact that the individuals perpetrating these crimes are neo-nazis and in most of the cases are not first-time offenders is simply omitted.
Im half Swedish and have been wondering about that question forever. Sweden did help Norway when they were invaded. They made a sort of underground resistance with Norway. If a German pilot crashed in Sweden then the Swedes would put him in jail, but if an Allied pilot crashed in Sweden they would let him walk about freely. My grandfather says he rembered seeing a few Allied pilots at some parties in Sweden. What I dont get is that why would Sweden help Norway and also provide the Nazis with iron because if they got caught things could go downhill very fast with the Germans.
sweden had really bad with military units during this time but they played it smart. they took almost all of their units and walkt along the danish line so they germans sholud see thet they had many military (witch they didnt have) and when they had walkt along the line they walked like a D after they had walked with the line they walked back over the land and walked beside the line again :). and german got ALOT of iron from sweden and was afraid thet if they got bad with sweden they shold loose the war becaus they hadent enough iron to built weapons for.
The reason Sweden wasnt invaded were because the germans needed their troops elsewhere.
Germany had planned to attack Sweden several times during world war II, last time was in 1944 when they planned to shoot Vi and V2 rockets against Stockholm from Norway.
As the swedish military grew and became stronger Sweden started to say no to German demands and cutting down on the iron ore export.
Ways to contribute:
- Improve the answer by adding new information, removing something incorrect, or fixing spelling or grammar. This answer page might need some special editorial work because it was imported from our old FAQ Farm system. ( You can view the removed content in the question history. )