During the inter-war period, many Swedes travelled to societies that represented alternative ways to meet modernity. This project looks at how these travellers perceived that the problems of everyday life had been solved in the countries they visited and how this could point to new paths into the future.
The inter-war period was a time when the search for new ways forward was great. In Russia, a revolution had taken place; the old society had definitely come to an end and a new one was beginning to form. In 1929 the American economy crashed, with repercussions throughout the Western world. President Franklin D. Roosevelt succeeded in bringing the USA out of the depression by means of state intervention and the programme usually known as ‘The New Deal’, which he introduced in 1933. In the same year, Hitler came to power in Germany and a reorganisation of German society and an alignment with national socialist ideology began. These countries can be said to represent widely different paths into the future. The USA had long been seen as a country of the future, while Germany and the Soviet Union became new possible alternatives during the inter-war years. At the same time in Sweden, the development of the welfare state began and there was a lively debate about how Sweden should best move into the future. How were people’s lives to be adapted to modern society and vice versa?
This project investigates how Swedish travellers during the inter-war period described their meetings with Germany, the USA and the Soviet Union and how they related what they saw to Swedish society and its future.