Sweden Telling All Its People How to Prepare for War

'If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2018 10:40 AM CDT
Updated May 26, 2018 11:25 AM CDT
Every Home in Sweden to Get Pamphlet on War Preparedness
A screenshot of the pamphlet.   (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB))

What would you do if you couldn't flush your toilet, access an ATM, turn on your heat, easily buy food, or go online? Those living in Sweden should soon be able to answer those questions. The government will next week send a 20-page pamphlet to each of the country's 4.8 million households. Titled "Om Krisen Eller Kriget Kommer" ("If Crisis or War Comes"), it explains what to do in just such an event—though it's been more than 200 years since Sweden has been at war with another country. The Guardian reports the government began issuing these types of documents amid WWII in 1943 (it remained neutral during the war); the Local reports the last release was in the '80s.

  • As for why now, "We live in a time in which the consequences of extreme weather, IT attacks, and terror attacks may cause a breakdown in the function of public services," explains the government.

  • The Local cites "a backdrop of increased tension in the Baltic region"; concerns have mounted following Russia's annexation of Crimea and its entrances into Sweden's airspace and territorial waters.
  • Sweden now has troops permanently stationed on the strategically important island of Gotland. CNN reports the country in 2015 decided to up defense spending by $720 million over a five-year period and reintroduced the military draft.
  • Adds a rep for the government agency that produced the pamphlet: "Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals. There's also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide."
  • The 21st-century version isn't just focused on military attacks. The country lists other possibilities that would require preparedness, including cyberattacks, the sabotage of infrastructure ranging from roads to airports to electricity cables, terror attacks, and "attempts to influence Sweden's decision makers or inhabitants."
Read on for select lines:

  • "In Sweden there is a duty to contribute to total defence. This means that everyone who lives here and is between the ages of 16 and 70 can be called up to assist in various ways in the event of the threat of war and war."
  • "If the toilet is not working, you can take strong plastic bags and place them in the toilet bowl."
  • "It is important to have extra food at home that provides sufficient calories. Use non-perishable food that can be prepared quickly, requires little water or can be eaten without preparation." Examples: "tins of bolognese sauce, makerel, sardines, ravioli, salmon balls, boiled meat ... prepared blueberry and rosehip soup ... precooked lentils, beans, vegetables, hummus in tins."
  • Make sure to have "a list of important telephone numbers on paper."
  • "If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false."
(More Sweden stories.)

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