[Marxism] Swedish Nazis

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Sep 8 17:33:14 MDT 2014

 From “Stieg Larsson: the Real Story of the Man Who Played With Fire” by 
Jan-Erik Petterson

One feature of the extreme Right in Sweden is that, despite the weakness 
of its popular support, it is remarkably well represented among the 
elite and ruling classes: among scientists, academics and high-ranking 
military officers. It was not just theorists like Kjellen and Molin who 
were in the vanguard in formulating ideas which then became prevalent in 
the Third Reich. Herman Lundborg, the world’s first professor of 
eugenics, was part of the trend as early as 1910, and founded the 
Swedish Society for Racial Hygiene. A decade later he managed to get 
more or less the entire Establishment behind him when he set up a 
Swedish racial research institute.

The National Eugenics Institute opened in 1921, with Lundborg at its 
head, and became well known for its large-scale field-research projects 
on the Swedish people. He and his colleagues travelled all over the 
country, photographing, measuring and making notes. The subjects of this 
research, seeing no harm in it, were allocated to racial groups on the 
basis of their physical constitution, skin colour, hair colour, shape of 
cranium, cranial circumference and so on. And there were few who doubted 
its scientific validity. On the strength of his findings, Lundborg 
pursued a vigorous campaign for an active population policy, including 
compulsory sterilization of undesirables, such as Lapps, Gypsies and 
vagrants. If this were not implemented, the fusion of the races would 
escalate and culture would fall into decline: `Sexual urges would 
intensify, immorality, hedonism, vice and crime break out and leave 
their mark on society. Sooner or later it would lead to discord, 
dissent, riot and revolution’ (according to an article in Svensk 
Tidskrift in 1921).

One reason for the rapid and widespread support for Lundborg’s theories 
was that there had been a deep-seated belief since the mid-nineteenth 
century that the Germanic peoples of northern Europe were related and 
that Sweden was their original home. So when the Nazis stepped forward 
and began talking of restoring the honour of the German nation and 
defending the Nordic race, many Swedes were willing to listen. And these 
were not so much Swedish Nazi party members as influential individuals 
in politics, the civil service, the business world, the military, the 
police, even the royal family. Some of the greatest admirers of Germany 
before and during the Second World War were to be found in the Swedish 
military. When Hitler celebrated his fiftieth birthday in the spring of 
1939, he was congratulated by a Swedish delegation of high-ranking 
officers led by the future supreme commander Olof Thornell. They were 
accompanied by the openly Nazi Carl Ernfrid Carlberg and Henri de Champs 
as representatives of the Manhem Society (a patriotic Scandinavian 
association named after Olaus Rudbeck’s seventeenth-century book of 
Gothicist speculations) and the Swedish-German Association, who also 
presented Hitler with a gift, a statuette of Charles XII, which he is 
said to have much appreciated.

In the initial phase of the war the Swedish coalition government adopted 
a far-reaching policy of acceding to German demands, with increased 
exports of iron ore, the transit of troops by rail and sea, and 
censorship of any Swedish newspapers which criticized Germany.

Things did not go so well, however, for the official Nazi parties. 
Generals and colonels would never dream of subordinating themselves to 
Warrant Officer Lindholm, not even under a German occupation. And the 
nation it was the intention to unite was not very interested in the 
constant bickering among the Nazi parties themselves. But there was a 
common pool of historical ideas and attitudes from which groups and 
individuals drew their inspiration and which made some hold fast to 
their fundamental credo — aggressive nationalism, racism, the belief 
that elites should rule — while other friends of Germany took down their 
portraits of Hitler and enrolled for correspondence courses in English.

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