Tools of Hegemony : Military Technology and Swedish-American Security Relations, 1945-1962

by Nilsson, Mikael

Abstract (Summary)
This doctoral thesis analyze the process whereby Sweden gained access to American guided missiles during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It also tracks the Swedish efforts to develop guided missiles domestically. The concept of hegemony is used to interpret these processes, the dynamic in the Swedish-American relationship, and its consequences for the Swedish policy of neutrality.Sweden’s domestic guided missile development program, begun in the end of World War Two, met with great difficulties already by the end of the 1940s, and had entered a cul de sac by the early 1950s. The reason for this was a contunuous lack of funding and personnel, as well as a lack of foreign hardware and know-how. By 1947 the United States had largely established its hegemony in Western Europe, and the U.S. government then sought to gain the consent of the Swedish government as well. The U.S. government used its preponderant position, and pressured Sweden to adapt its policies by withholding vital technology from the Swedes. The U.S. refusal to deliver arms to a neutral Scandinavian Defense Union was significant in this respect. Sweden gradually gave its concurrence through a series of steps, most importantly the participation in the Marshall Plan in 1948, and COCOM in the summer of 1951. The confirmation of the U.S. government’s acceptance of Sweden came in the summer of 1952 when was made eligible to buy armaments in the United States under the Mutual Defense Assistance Act (MDAA).However, Sweden was not granted access to American guided missiles. This was an experience shared with most of the NATO countries (with the limited exception of Britain and Canada). During the course of the 1950s the United States was forced to change its position, due to prodding from the nato allies. The annual nato meetings were used as a platform by the nato countries in this endevour. The U.S. government reversed its non-disclosure policy in 1957 because of worries that its hegemonic position was threatened if it did not provide these weapons to its allies. Guided missile deliveries to Europe was used as a means to keep the alliance together, and to preserve U.S. hegemony in Western Europe.Because of its consent to U.S. hegemony Sweden gained access to U.S. missiles at the same time, and many times even before the NATO countries. Sweden was the first Western European country to purchase Sidewinder (1959) and Hawk (1962), and license manufactured two versions of the Falcon missile. Because of these deliveries the development of Swedish surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles was halted. Sweden was dependent upon the U.S. for deliveries of additional missiles in wartime, and this could have become a problem for Sweden’s ability to defend its territory against Western intrusions, since Sweden’s defense was based on help arriving from the West if Sweden was attacked by the USSR. The Swedish government, using the Royal Air Force Board as a proxy, signed a memorandum of Understanding in 1961 which gave the U.S. government the rigth to any improvements to the Falcon missiles, as well as the right to use them anywhere in the world. Sweden had thus de facto become a part of the U.S. military’s supply line.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; History and philosophy subjects; History subjects; History of technology; Säkerhetspolitik Sverige; Diplomatisk historia; Militärhistoria; Modern historia Sverige; Utrikespolitik USA


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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