For much of the twentieth century, Sweden has adhered to a policy of neutrality. It declined to participate in either of the world wars and avoided being a target of any of the belligerent powers. Its intelligence and security services played a major role supporting Sweden’s foreign policy in both the First and particularly the Second World War. However, since details of these successes remained highly classified throughout the subsequent Cold War, this fact was little appreciated by later governments, which may have concluded that righteousness, not effective use of intelligence, had kept Sweden safe. It was not by pure chance that Sweden’s intelligence system functioned well during the world wars. Although Sweden opted out of foreign adventures after the Napoleonic wars, its armed forces possessed an intelligence tradition no less rich than those of the great European powers of long standing. Sweden’s intelligence services operate today in an environment largely formed during the Second World War, but which originated far earlier.
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