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Military History/Wanting to know more about Scandinavia countries and their role in World War 2.


What countries make up the Scandinavian region? What was their role in during WW2? What side were they on?

Well, normally with the Scandinavian countries you mean the countries in or around the Scandinavian peninsula. This is normally often interpreted as the countries of Sweden, Norway (these 2 constitute the peninsula) & Denmark (just south and west of the peninsula). But in my opinion a wider interpretation (often called Nordic) is a better one and also includes Finland and Iceland. That is the interpretation I will use. At the beginning of WW2 all of them were neutral. In spite of that the Soviet Union attacked Finland in order to gain territories and probably also aiming to occupy the whole country - at that time with a population of around 3.5 million people. The majority of it had Finnish as its native language but a substantial minority had Swedish as its native language. The country was and still is like Canada bilingual with 2 official and equal languages, Finnish and Swedish. This attack was backed by the deal between the Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany where they had divided up Eastern Europe between them. After a quite heroic struggle the Finns had to give up and sue for peace. Yes they lost but had defended and kept their independence. But they lost around 10% of their territory, mainly in Karelia and half a million Karelians had to flee into the rest of Finland. This part of WW2 is called the Finnish Winter War. In 1940 Hitler's Germany attacked and occupied Denmark and Norway. As a result of that Great Britain and later USA occupied Iceland. Sweden was neutral except during the Finnish Winter War when it was a non combatant ally of Finland loaning Finland a large part of the artillery of the Swedish Army and of the coastal artillery of the marines of the Swedish Navy and a large part of the trucks of the Swedish Army and 1/3rd of the Swedish Air Force, not only the planes but also the pilots and ground crews who volunteered and were hired by the Finnish Air Force. A large number of Swedes also volunteered to serve in the Finnish Army. Why? Well Sweden and Finland were one single country for 700 years from the early 12th century to 1809 when Russia conquered Finland from Sweden. Finland became independent from Russia in 1917. So for most Swedes the attack on Finland was seen as an attack also on Sweden. The volunteers had the parole in Swedish: Finlands sak är vår! = Finland's sake (cause) is ours! The Soviet/Russian threat was real,also for Sweden!  But also Germany was a threat so it was hard to navigate in this situation. In 1941 Germany attacked the Soviet Union and managed to convince the Finns to join them in this struggle. The Finns wished to regain the lost territory. For them this was only a war with the Soviet Union.  It went on to 1944 when the Finns had to give up again but succeeded to stay independent. Norway & Denmark were liberated in 1945 at the end of the war. I do hope this explains it!

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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.


I`m a retired Swedish military physician-surgeon with a big interest in military history - mainly European and especially of the Nordic-Scandinavian area. This also includes the history of military medicine.


A very long and intense personal interest.

Doctor of Medicine. You can also find me here on under these categories: I also answer questions in other categories: Oncology (General Cancer), General History, Brain Tumors, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer

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