- Project Runeberg -  Diplomatic Reminiscences before and during the World War, 1911-1917 /

(1920) [MARC] Author: Anatolij Nekljudov - Tema: War, Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XIX. Sweden in 1915

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The world war, of which the economic consequences in
the long run were disastrous for the whole of Europe,
began with a sudden increase of prosperity for certain
neutral countries. Just like Holland, Denmark and
Norway, Sweden suddenly saw the prices of her exports
rising in a dazzling way. Never had the splendid
Swedish iron ore been in such enormous demand; never
had pit-props attained such formidable prices. It was
because iron was needed for the construction of
instruments—alas! so valuable—of destruction and death,
and the planks were indispensable for the making of
thousands of kilometres of trenches in which millions
of armed men—like modern troglodytes—were to bury
themselves for years. But other possibilities of
advantageous exportation were developing for Swedish
industry. Her steel and iron goods, her agricultural
machines, her turbines, her pit-props, her lathes were
more and more in demand abroad as the workshops
of the belligerent countries specialised in the making of
big guns, shells, rifles, submarines, aeroplane engines.
Thanks to German methods, the ancient prophecies
were being fulfilled in a reverse sense: ploughshares
were being turned into swords, and the bronze of bells
which had been cast to peal forth to heaven prayers of
love and peace was to be found in awful machines
destined to spread death and suffering broadcast.

But Swedish exportation was not confined to metal,
wood, and the products of her foundries and workshops.
Seduced by the enormous prices that all agricultural

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