The Postwar Naval Revolution


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Sweden literally got darker: candles and gas were rationed and there was a constant lack of kerosene. Trains and trams reduced both their speed and departure frequency. Living costs were two-and-a-half times higher than in Sugar, coffee , bread, flour, milk, and even potatoes were rationed. There was a continuous shortage of potatoes, grain, fat, milk, cheese, eggs, and pork until early The authorities tried to solve the situation by encouraging substitutes and allotments, cultivating park areas for potatoes and turnips, and running communal pig and rabbit farms, black pudding industries, and kitchens serving 25, people a day.

In the contemporary press and in memoirs, wartime Stockholm is described as a besieged city, wherein people starved and despaired. But did the Swedes really starve during the First World War? Once the SAP was in power in , hunger protests decreased, despite the fact that the food situation was much worse than in From , the situation slowly normalized.

The Nationalizing Commission was finally dismantled in the summer of When peace came, people quickly reverted to old eating habits. The consumption of butter, bread, and potatoes increased by 40 percent compared with pre-war figures. Although it is difficult to measure the general health of Swedes during wartime, there was no increase in the endemic diseases related to poverty; rather, the opposite was true. Childhood diseases, diphtheria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and gastritis all show a steadily decreasing curve during the war. The big exception was the influenza outbreak in Within a year, 34, people died — the highest mortality since In total, there were 37, reported influenza deaths in In all probability, the official figures were too low, as was the total number of sick reported ,, or 9 percent of the population.

Due to its extensive range, the influenza created a social emergency as much as a medical one. Such is the situation!

The Postwar Naval Revolution

Within a few weeks, so many conscripts had fallen ill that all planned military activities had to be cancelled. From an international perspective, the effects of the Swedish epidemic were no different than in the rest of Europe. Sweden had no significant advantage from remaining outside the war. To contemporaries, the pandemic was an integrated part of the conflict that did not discriminate between the belligerents and the neutrals. It has recently been argued that the dramatic year of saw the birth of modern Sweden, the equal welfare state.

The war accelerated the external and internal nationalization of Sweden. State intervention in agriculture and labour continued in the interwar years. In , a state monopoly on selling alcohol was introduced that is still in place today. The nationalization of the police began in , partly in order to neutralize the military and violent right-wing militias. The war saw the advance of a strong central government with broad responsibilities for economic planning and the welfare of its citizens.

In Sweden, a new progressive taxation system allowed for the further development of the public welfare system, especially child and family allowances. The dramatic decline in Swedish birth rates facilitated pro-natalist policies and social reforms such as free school meals, maternal support, school health care, and state-subsidized housing for large families. Public health care expanded, with residential homes, birth clinics, hospitals , and asylums. The conflict also changed the political landscape in Sweden. It accelerated the democratization process and the post-war state became more inclusive under pressure from radical movements.

Important long-term political reforms that had previously been blocked by political impasse were resolved.


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Pressed by the revolutionary upheaval abroad especially in Germany and at home, the opposing right and the king were, in December , finally forced to accept constitutional reform: universal and equal suffrage, parliamentarism, and consultative referendums. New coalitions and rivalries formed. Yet the social divide opened up by the war had lasting consequences.

Around , this insular tendency of forgetting was increasingly challenged by both a new internationalist generation of working-class intellectuals and authors, and by the peace movement, which used the memory of the war in its disarmament propaganda. The fact that peace coincided with domestic constitutional reform and universal suffrage — making Sweden safe for democracy — has strengthened this connection in public memory.

Most scholars seem to agree that total war had a long-term impact on Swedish society, which was only overcome after the Second World War. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. DOI : Version 1. Wartime and Post-war Societies Sweden.

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By Lina Sturfelt. Motherhood in Constructions of a Swedish National Community, c. Kvinnors utrymme efter det demokratiska genombrottet [After Suffrage. Modernitet, femininitet och svenskhet i svensk veckopress [Modern Women. Sweden and the European Revolutions ], Stockholm , pp.


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Stockholm [The Stomach Question. Food as an Objective and Means. Stockholm ], Stockholm , p. Quotation on p. See Ohlsson, Tiden efter [Swedish History. The Period after ], Stockholm , p. Studies in the Experience of the Northern Neutrals, Lund , pp. Sweden during the First World War], Stockholm , pp.

Den svenska epidemin och dess internationella bakgrund [The Spanish Influenza. Nederlanders en oorlogsgeweld, [The War of Others. The Dutch and the Violence of War, ], Amsterdam Den svenska epidemin och dess internationella bakgrund The Spanish Influenza. The Swedish epidemic, , and its international background , Uppsala Ubsaliensis Academiae. For all the political, economic, and cultural similarities celebrated in the Great Rapprochement between Britain and the United States, by it was American power — not Japanese — that most concerned the British government. As America pulled abreast, both countries ceased to believe their mutual interests were indivisible.

The Anglo-American peace is thus key to understanding the constitution of the contemporary international system. The absence of centralized political authority did not force states to play competitive power politics, as realists would have us believe. Rather, an international order emerged modeled on the Anglo-American relationship, a convergence of values shifting the security landscape from competition to cooperation among like-minded states.

Relations among states have three modes: anarchy, in which no order exists; balance, in which states form either transient or enduring alliances to prevent one becoming dominant; and hegemony, where one state is powerful enough to establish order. At its most basic, hegemony is the ability to set the rules of international order. It occurs when a state has a predominance of power and can impose its will on other states to create and enforce behavior.

An asymmetry of power combines with the ambition to impose terms on weaker societies. Powerful states contest for the ability to establish rules that advantage them , enforcing the rules while they are able through military might and incentives for cooperation. Some of the most interesting international relations theorists have attempted to go beyond this minimalist definition of hegemony, to festoon it with more liberal trappings. Daniel Deudney and G.

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John Ikenberry argue that American hegemony has unique attributes that perpetuate it through consensual practices and make it less onerous to countries than have been previous hegemonic orders. What information do we need to predict and explain state choices in the international order?

Realists and neo-realists posit that the distribution of power is sufficient. States have interests, and they use their power in service of those interests. Yet the richest countries do not always dominate, the strongest militaries do not always derive from the most prosperous economies, armed forces prove more brittle than anticipated in combat and adversaries more determined , and wars won do not always translate into increased power or autonomy.

Perhaps most important for conceptualizing the international order is that the distribution of power alone does not explain why states do not fight.

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Why do strong powers permit the rise of rivals and what triggers decisions to fight? If interests are immutable, why are states not perpetually in conflict? It presumes state behavior is dictated according to enduring interests and the material conditions needed to advance them. Social structures and arrangements can be formed on the basis of identities , and those affect both the definition of national interests and the identification and creation of means to secure those interests. He argues:. In the British-U.

The Postwar Naval Revolution The Postwar Naval Revolution
The Postwar Naval Revolution The Postwar Naval Revolution
The Postwar Naval Revolution The Postwar Naval Revolution
The Postwar Naval Revolution The Postwar Naval Revolution
The Postwar Naval Revolution The Postwar Naval Revolution

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