- 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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commanded by the German Fleet, the Swedes virtually
possessed free traffic with Germany. Consequently
German influence weighed in a natural manner—and
irrespective of all political sympathy—on the
commercial direction of Sweden. And this caused the
Entente countries more particularly to restrict the
importation into Sweden of all produce and all commodities
which might somehow or other take the road to Germany.
Very soon certain commodities of neutral origin, such
as American wheat, rubber, tanning materials and
nitrates from Chile, were not allowed to be imported
into Sweden. Thinking it possible to starve out Germany
and to deprive her of certain goods indispensable to the
prosecution of the war, the other Powers were afraid
that Sweden—whose pro-Boche sentiments were much
exaggerated—would simply serve as an intermediary
for the dispatch of these goods to Central Europe.

These restrictions and impediments were naturally
very prejudicial to the economic life of Sweden, and
they irritated the public opinion of the country. Through
this the Swedish Government was continually faced
with difficulties which it sought to solve as best it could,
while the absolutely contradictory demands of the two
belligerent parties and the agitation of the “activists”
within the country led each day to fresh complications
and new difficulties.

Sweden’s principal need was coal. The Scandinavian
Peninsula does not possess one seam. All the six
million tons of coal that the Swedish kingdom consumes
for her industries, her railways, and her navigation have
to be imported into the country; before the war England
supplied nearly five million tons and Germany the rest.
Then come corn, other vegetable foodstuffs and forage
(the Swedish production does not cover the country’s
consumption), petrol and its by-products, nitrates, hides,
tanning materials, sulphur (absolutely necessary to the
production of paper-pulp—a great feature of Swedish
rural industry), wool, raw cotton, rubber. All these
commodities had to be imported from outside, from

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