Positioning in the Cold War – Swedish and Danish History Textbooks and the Totalitarianism Doctrine. Historical Cultures in Comparison
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The Nordic countries Sweden and Denmark have a long and intertwined history. The Second World War, though, formed different experiences in the two countries that led to diverging paths in the Cold War. Denmark became a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, while Sweden stayed non-aligned. Thus, it can be assumed that Denmark was more likely to adopt Western foreign policies and doctrines than Sweden. Or was it? On a programmatic political level this may have been the case, but what about cultural perceptions developed in Swedish and Danish 'minds of men'? Is there a tension between les evenements and les longues durees? The underlying assumption in this article is that there is a contradiction and a tension between the programmatic political level and historically-inherited enemy images, and that this tension may be studied through the concept of totalitarianism and its position in the historical cultures of Sweden and Denmark in the post-war era. The totalitarianism doctrine was one of the main ideological weapons during the Cold War, serving as a basis for the Truman doctrine. It implies that Nazism and Soviet communism shared common features and may be subsumed under the same label. But would a Dane find it reasonable to view the Red Army, which belonged to the Allies which liberated his or her country, as of 'the same kind' as the German occupants? And would it make sense to a Swede to stay neutral to Soviet Russia, the historical enemy? The one who for a Swede is 'the other' might for a Dane appear as a historical ally. The empirical sources are history textbooks for senior secondary school students, studied as artefacts of national historical cultures.