Sweden maintained its policy of neutrality during World War II. When the war began on September 1,1939, the fate of Sweden was unclear, at the outbreak of hostilities, Sweden had held a neutral stance in international relations for more than a century, since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. The Swedish Government made a few concessions, and sometimes breached the nations neutrality in favor of both Germany and the Western Allies, German soldiers traveling on leave between Norway and Germany were allowed passage through Sweden — the so-called permittenttrafik. Iron ore was sold to Germany throughout the war, and for the Allies, Sweden shared military intelligence and helped to train soldiers made up of refugees from Denmark and Norway, to be used in the liberation of their home countries. It also allowed the Allies to use Swedish airbases between 1944 and 1945, Sweden also became a refuge for anti-fascist and Jewish refugees from all over the region. In 1943, following an order to all of Denmarks Jewish population to concentration camps. Sweden also became a refuge for Norwegian Jews who fled from Nazi occupied Norway, between 1523 and Swedens final war with Russia in 1809, a state of war had existed between these two countries for 67 out of those 292 years. Russia was seen as the hereditary enemy of Sweden. In the peace that followed the Finnish War in 1809, all of Finland had been ceded to Russia, as the end of the 19th century approached, and the beginning of the 20th began, Sweden, like many other nations, became beset by strikes and public disorder. Appalling working conditions were no longer tolerated and the class was rising against the state. In 1908 alone, there were about 300 strikes in Sweden, by 1917, Sweden’s need for a new political system was apparent from these riots. In 1917, the rules of democracy were changed in Sweden, but even these reforms were seen as far too radical by some conservatives. Some wanted strong leadership and did not believe in democracy, in the 1920s and 1930s, confrontations between employers and employees in Sweden continued. In 1931, this culminated with the shootings, an incident where the military opened fire on a protest march. In the same year, a secret right-wing militia, the Munckska kåren, was exposed and it had recruited about 2000 men and had access to heavy weaponry. It was disbanded the next year, compromise and a parliamentary system were thought to stand in the way of a more equal and just society. A new cabinet led by the social democrats with Per Albin Hansson as Prime Minister, a policy of cooperation and consensus was pursued, which led to a furthering of the divide between the two socialist factions, the communists and the reformist left. The distance between two, at least at the ideological level, became so great that the communists often referred to the social democrats as the social fascists
Ådalen shootings. This picture of the demonstration was taken before the military opened fire.
Communist election poster, demanding an end to foreign military transports of Nazi troops and military equipment through Sweden