Nazismens sensmoral: Svenska erfarenheter i andra världskrigets efterdyning
Sammanfattning: At the core of this study is an enquiry into the experiences of Nazism and the conclusions that were drawn from them. The prime concern is the ideological and intellectual arena in Sweden in the wake of the Second World War, but throughout the study the Swedish case is examined against a more general international background. In recent years, many international scholars have turned their interest to the early postwar era, a formative period in many parts of Europe. One question has been of particular concern: How did the Nazi experience shape the postwar world? By contrast, the overwhelming majority of the Swedish research on these years has been carried out as if the experiences of National Socialism were insignificant to Sweden. The aim of this dissertation, therefore, is to analyze the repercussions of the Nazi experience for postwar society. Inspired by the tradition of conceptual history and Reinhart Koselleck’s hermeneutical approach, I begin by elucidating the content of the Nazi experience in the aftermath of the war. The study shows that an unambiguous, homogenous interpretation of Nazism dominated. National Socialism was regarded as a nationalistic phenomenon, characterized by irrationalism and barbaric manner. According to the Swedish interpreters, Nazism had its roots in distinctively German traditions – militarism, Prussianism, Romanticism. Against the background of the Swedish understanding of Nazism, three major chapters are devoted to the conclusions drawn from the Nazi experience. In a biographical chapter, a process of stigmatization is uncovered, where those associated with National Socialism, including Fredrik Böök, Zarah Leander och Erich Wittenberg, were branded in various ways. In this process, certain traditions were suppressed and other ideas gained ground. Drawing from two fundamental, normative fields of modern societies, the education and the law, I examine this historical dynamics further by relating the Nazi experience to “the ideas of 1945”, a label for the ideological foundations of the early postwar era. Moreover, the experience had a profound impact on Swedish attitudes towards German culture and contained a strong appeal: stay away from the German sphere. In conclusion, this study demonstrates how historical experiences influence human minds and affect the attitudes of society. From the interplay between the dark experiences of the past and the bright dreams of the future, postwar Sweden emerged.
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