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What if Sweden joined the Axis in 1940?

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  • What if Sweden joined the Axis in 1940?

    This was brought about by CarpeDiem's excellent thread bringing to light a proposed attack by the Allies on Sweden in 1940.

    So for the same of this 'What if?', lets consider the operation did go forward and the RAF attacked Sweden sometime between April and June in 1940, sinking civilian shipping and mining Swedish ports to deny said shipments to Germany, leading to Sweden joining the Axis.

    If you wish to know the details of the proposed attack, check that link and you'll get some articles in the first post.

    So would Sweden's joining of the war have had an impact on the progress and conduct of the war? Would Swedish military forces have aided in defending Norway from possible invasion, or maybe reinforced the Finns in the Continuation War?

    And how would Sweden's role in the war have affected a post-war settlement?

  • #2
    Stated in another thread. It would have had little influence on the war. Same with post war except under whose influence it might have fallen. NATO or the Warsaw Pact or tried to revert back to being a neutral such as Austria.
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      Possibilities:

      1) Swedish reinforcements ready for the climate assist in the Continuation war, increasing the drain on the Soviets and dragging that mess out longer.

      2) Swedish troops take over partial or full occupation in Norway. With a tad softer occupation Norway is more secure and willing to cooperate.

      3) Swedish Air Force assets cover the Scandinavian Coast, allowing the Luftwaffe to focus on the Continent more.

      4) Swedish Naval (destroyers) and air assets help pinch the Arctic convoy routes, to varying degrees of success.

      The Swedes don't have much tank capacity, I don't see them providing more than a Division's worth total to the Finnish Front on their best day. Swedish Air assets seem suitable for giving the VVS hell and helping the Finns work over Soviet reinforcement columns.

      I don't see them as a game changer, though they could provide enough assets to drag the war out another 6 months or so.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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      • #4
        http://www-solar.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/~aaron/sweeds.html

        Seems to me that they could toss in with the Finns and possibly capture Leningrad.
        Credo quia absurdum.


        Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bwaha View Post
          http://www-solar.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/~aaron/sweeds.html

          Seems to me that they could toss in with the Finns and possibly capture Leningrad.
          Except that the Finns made no move against Leningrad after reaching the Pre-1939 border on the Karelian Isthmus. I don't think that the admixture of Swedish forces would have affected this policy decision.
          "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
          Samuel Johnson.

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          • #6
            The Swedes would have to keep most of their forces at home. In terms of help for the Axis I'd say two divisions at most, maybe just one. Their navy would be useful in the Baltic but that'd be about it.
            The loss of overseas shipping would have a small effect as most of it was already ended because of the war anyway.

            Their air force is obsolescent for the most part so it doesn't add a lot to the Axis either.

            I'd say the biggest changes would come later when the Axis is losing. The Soviets might push for occupation of Finland and Sweden, seeing real value in grabbing both rather than seeing little value in getting Finland.

            The Allies might give more serious consideration to invasion of Norway than they did too. Bombing Stockholm and other larger Swedish cities is a certainty.

            In the end, Sweden loses, and probably loses far more than anything they had to gain siding with the Axis.

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            • #7
              Last thing the Germans would have wanted in both World Wars was for Sweden to cease to be neutral. As a friendly neutral she was of far more value. German naval control of the Baltic meant that Britain could not blockade Swedish ports with the result that under International law she could not declare a full blockade in general on other neutrals (eg Spain) trading with Germany. Sweden provided a route to the outside world through which vital supplies flowed to Germany in both wars. Sweden provided vital communications links with the rest of the world. This was even more important in WW2 than WW1 as there were fewer neutrals left in Europe to provide such services. And how else would Goring have got his supplies of Coffee?
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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              • #8
                I could see the Swedes launch a diplomatic complaint and do everything short of war with the allies.

                Remember the UK attacked Vichy France in 1940 and sank part of the fleet and Vichy did not join the Axis. There is precedence for an attack by the allies not forcing the victim into the arms of the Axis.

                Don't forget the Swedes were making money from the allies as well.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
                  I could see the Swedes launch a diplomatic complaint and do everything short of war with the allies.

                  Remember the UK attacked Vichy France in 1940 and sank part of the fleet and Vichy did not join the Axis. There is precedence for an attack by the allies not forcing the victim into the arms of the Axis.

                  Don't forget the Swedes were making money from the allies as well.
                  I imagine that, if one plays with the dates a bit, it also affects the outcome greatly.

                  According to what I read, the real plan looked to only take place after the German invasion of Denmark and Norway under the "they were going to be invaded by the UK first" argument (which occurred in early April).

                  If the British action before the German invasion, then it may have lent that claim more credence to the Scandinavian nations - not enough to push them into war, really, but more sympathy on the ground.

                  However, that's even more of a divergence.

                  Indeed, I believe that if the UK had attacked Sweden, it would not necessarily have pushed Sweden into the Axis - especially due to the invasions of Norway and Denmark making Germany a less than beloved neighbor - but could have led to a backlash against the allies due to civilian deaths. One could picture more Swedish volunteers heading South or East, and that Sweden would be less interested in working with Allied intelligence services.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    I'd say the biggest changes would come later when the Axis is losing. The Soviets might push for occupation of Finland and Sweden, seeing real value in grabbing both rather than seeing little value in getting Finland.

                    Unlikely, Sweden and Finland together could probably concentrate enough forces to stop any offensive. The space and infrastructure are lacking too much for Soviets to gain an upper hand in numbers(supply issues).

                    End situation would most likely be the same. Hard to say what kind of peace would have been forced, certainly not one that would be more beneficial than neutrality.
                    Wisdom is personal

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Karri View Post
                      Unlikely, Sweden and Finland together could probably concentrate enough forces to stop any offensive. The space and infrastructure are lacking too much for Soviets to gain an upper hand in numbers(supply issues).

                      End situation would most likely be the same. Hard to say what kind of peace would have been forced, certainly not one that would be more beneficial than neutrality.
                      I think that's the most interesting part: how it would affect the post-war settlement.

                      Outside of Swedish intervention changing the outcome of the war (which seems unlikely), the biggest result would likely be in how the war would progress and how Scandinavia would be handled after the war.

                      Russian determination to turn Sweden into a... well, not puppet, but compliant neighbor may have forced the Reds to intervene more forcefully in the north.

                      What might have happened was a soft-Soviet control over Scandinavia, and/or Scandinavia entire refusing to join NATO.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
                        I could see the Swedes launch a diplomatic complaint and do everything short of war with the allies.

                        Remember the UK attacked Vichy France in 1940 and sank part of the fleet and Vichy did not join the Axis. There is precedence for an attack by the allies not forcing the victim into the arms of the Axis.

                        Don't forget the Swedes were making money from the allies as well.



                        After the war, Sweden returned 6 metric tonnes of gold to the Netherlands and 7.2 metric tonnes to Belgium. The gold, which Sweden had received from Nazi Germany's Reichsbank, was believed to have been taken from those countries' central banks.......
                        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/34761.stm
                        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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