Libmonster ID: U.S.-1284
Author(s) of the publication: A. S. KAHN

Over the past decades, Swedish scientists have made some progress in studying both the past of their country and a number of problems of universal history.

The former division of Swedish historiography into the hypercritical Lund school, with its increased interest in the history of all Scandinavia, and the nationalist Uppsala school has now receded into the background .1 In recent years, the differences between the conservative and liberal historians of the older generation (B. Boetsius, N. Anlund, E. Heckscher, L. Stavenov) and the more radical historians of the middle generation (E. Lenroth, S. U. Palm, B. Hansen) have rather made themselves felt, the radicalism of the latter consists in a certain departure from the nationalist traditions of Swedish historiography, in recognizing the important and sometimes decisive role of socio-economic factors (not so much production, however, as trade), in an emphatically critical attitude to narrative sources. However, the demands to "rewrite Swedish history anew" 2 and the desire for a "new synthesis" do not yet go beyond the framework of bourgeois methodology. Such a scholar as M. Blok 3 enjoys great authority among the" young " Swedish historians . Not fully understanding the essence of Marxism, these historians identify it with "economic determinism" and declare it "obsolete". The growth of progressive forces throughout Swedish historiography is facilitated by the Communist press's statements on historical issues, although (unlike in England, France, Italy, and the United States) there are no Marxist monographs on history in Sweden yet. The speeches of Swedish Marxists are either a critical analysis of the products of bourgeois and social-democratic authors, or short articles on historical materialism, on the history of the Swedish labor movement, Swedish culture, and the Second World War in the central organ of the Communist Party "Ny Dag" and the party's theoretical journal "Var tid". A major contribution to the development of the history of Sweden in the era of imperialism are the books of the oldest Communist Party figure, S. Linderuth4 .

Swedish historiography is particularly strong in the field of philological and palaeographic criticism of sources, is distinguished by careful statistical processing of materials and high research technique. Caution in conclusions, historiographical polemics of the works of Swedish scientists always attract the reader's attention. At the same time, one can see the fascination with state-legal, biographical, narrowly diplomatic, and source-study topics to the detriment of the history of popular movements, as well as the predominant, though declining in recent years, interest in the history of the nobility, officials, and bourgeoisie to the detriment of the history of the working class and peasantry, and a formal approach to a number of important socio-economic problems. A significant part of historians tend to dispense with broad generalizations5, while scientists who are inclined to synthesis, ori-

1 See R. Hatton. Some Notes on Swedish Historiography. "History". Vol. XXXVII. N 130. 1952, p. 104-105. Cf. also E. A. Rydzevskaya. Bibliographic note on modern Swedish historical science. "Historical collection", l. 1934, N 3, pp. 371-386.

2 The title of the collection of articles by E. Lonnroth "Another view" is characteristic. En annan uppfattning. Stockholm. 1949. Compare the polemic of B. Boetsius and E. Lenroth in Historisk tidskrift 1950 and 1952; see also the review of Lenroth's book in Var tid 1950, nl.

3 See "Historisk tidskrift". 1953. H. 1, s. 80.

4 S Linderot. Svensk arbetarrorelse i brytningstid. Stockholm. 1940. His own. Bondefragan i Sverge. Stockholm. 1943.

5 The latter circumstance was also noted by Swedish historians themselves. Cf. The jubilee article by L. A. Kropotkin. Stavenova about the Swedish historical magazine L. Stavenow. Historisk tidskrift och den historiska vetenskapen i vart land under ett halvt sekel. "Historisk tidskrift". 1931. H. 1, s. 35-37 and E. Heckscher's report on G. Hjorn.

page 179

They are guided by methodological ideas and schemes of Western European bourgeois historical thought, while revealing a clear lack of awareness of historical materialism.

Swedish archaeology is very significant and, perhaps, since the time of O. Montelius and G. Anderson, the most famous achievements of Swedish archaeology. Over the past thirty years, Swedes have conducted field research in Mexico and Egypt, Iran, China and Asia Minor, not to mention European countries ranging from England to Greece. Much has been done by A. Füryumark, A.V. Persson, L. Kjellberg, M. P. Nilsson, A. Boetsius, E. Gjerstad and other Swedish scientists to radically transform our ideas about the Aegean civilization in the Peloponnese and especially in Cyprus, about the Dorian past of Italy and about the history of the "eternal city" itself. The constant interest of Swedish historians in classical antiquities is evidenced by the long-term activity of special Swedish institutes in Athens and Rome. Thanks to the efforts of archaeologists (in particular, S. Lindqvist, N. Oberg, H. Arbman and their students), the previously completely unknown history of Sweden itself in the "dark ages" - from the great migration of peoples to the Norman raids-has been recreated to some extent. The Scandinavian Neolithic and Bronze Age, the so-called "Roman Iron Age" on the territory of the country are now known to science incomparably better than back in the 20s (among many experts, we will mention the names of A. Bagge, K. Kjellmark, K. Kjellmark). Altin, G. Hallstrom, N. Geiwall, K. Salstrom, T. Stenberger).

Unlike archaeologists, other historians in Sweden until recently were mainly interested in Russian and Scandinavian topics. Especially noteworthy are the achievements of K.'s Medievalists. Weibull, A. Szukk, S. Thunberg, S. Bolin and their students in the field of the study of the Early Middle Ages, which is extremely poor in written sources in Sweden. In particular, the study of agrarian and fiscal problems, the peculiarities of feudal states and the early feudal state in Sweden has significantly advanced. Thanks to the research of E. Lenroth and others, a number of issues of the Kalmar Union and the Engelbrekt uprising are now being solved in a new way. Important features of late Swedish feudalism of the XVI - early XVII centuries are elucidated (works by S. A. Nilsson). Much has been done in the field of critical analysis of runic inscriptions, legal and economic monuments, and chronicles.

Modern historians have probably developed the economic history of Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries better than in most Western European countries. Here we should mention the monumental work of the late E. Heckscher 6 and the monographs of his numerous students. The thoroughness of Swedish statistics and the rather high level of clerical work in the seventeenth and even eighteenth centuries, as well as the good state of the archives, made it possible to study such special issues of socio-economic history that can only be studied in the nineteenth, if not in the twentieth century, based on materials from other countries (except perhaps England) (see, for example, historical and sociological research about the region of Esterlen by the progressive scientist B. Hansen) 7 . The 17th century-the age of Swedish "great power" - and the so-called" era of freedoms " of the next century are now reflected in a variety of documentary publications, a significant part of which can be successfully used to study the countries bordering Sweden, in particular, to study the past of the Baltic States and the foreign policy history of Russia. It is the XVI-XVIII centuries that a number of major monographs, old and new, are devoted to, and have gained popularity outside of Sweden: the works of E. Heckscher on mercantilism, I. Anderson on Eric XIV, N. Anlund on Gustavus Adolphus, K. Weibull on Queen Christina, A. Still on Charles XII as a commander, L. Stavenov on the " era of freedoms"(1718 - 1772), K. T. Odner on the history of the country in the reign of Gustav III, etc.

A number of monographs published in recent years have successfully resolved important issues of the history of social movements and inter-party struggles in Sweden in the 18th and 19th centuries, provided a clearer picture of the social evolution of the 18th century (works by S. Karlson), and advanced the study of the formation of the first large capitals, the industrial revolution, and the destruction of the old, communal village. Recent issues

E.F. Heckscher. Harald Hjarne och den moderna historievetenskapen i Norden. "Historisk tidskrift". 1940. H. 2, s. 148, 152.

6 E.F. Heckscher. Sveriges ekonomiska historia fran Gustav Vasa. Stockholm. 1935 - 1949.

7 B. Hanssen. Osterlen. En studie over social-antropologiska semmanhang under 1600 och 1700-talen i sydvastra Skane. Ystad. 1952.

page 180

They remain the least developed in the actual historical plan8, but attract the attention of economists, specialists in foreign policy issues, and finally, numerous bourgeois sociologists.

The monographic study of universal history has only relatively recently gone beyond the history of the ancient world and the history of diplomacy. 9 The circle of historians dealing with non-Vedic topics of modern and contemporary times is still small. There is practically no consistent division between specialists in national and world history in Sweden.

It is quite natural that no Swedish historian of any significance could ignore the problem of Russian-Swedish relations, which is one of the main and sometimes central problems of Swedish foreign policy. It is all the more disappointing that many generations of Swedish historians have paid tribute to anti-Russian sentiments and tendencies, in particular such major figures as the ardent Normanist Ture Arne and the Germanophile Harald Hjerne. However, it must be recognized that Swedish researchers (in particular, the late X. Almqvist) has a number of significant works on the history of Russian-Swedish relations from the Deep Middle Ages to the First World War. It should be noted that in recent years, the coverage of these stories by Swedish historians has begun to be somewhat freed from the outlived ideas of Normanism and "activism" .10

The only source of truthful information on the history of Soviet society for a long time remained for the Swedish reader small publications of the Communist Party. The corresponding output of even respectable bourgeois scientists (A. Montgomery) is still very far from being objective. In the spirit of Churchill's interventionist memoirs, A. Fredborg's dissertation "Great Britain and the Russian Question in 1918-20" was defended in Stockholm in 1951. S. Rydenfelt's dissertation "Communism in Sweden" (Lund, 1954)is also biased. 11 The interest in Soviet historiographic production, which was undoubtedly felt by Swedish bourgeois scholars, was one-sided and hostile in the post-war years. This was the case, for example, in the review of Soviet works on the Varangian question published a few years ago in the Copenhagen Acta archeologica by the elderly Ture Arne .12 We have to admit that the achievements of Soviet historical science, our novelties in books are not yet covered by Swedish scientific periodicals, although, in particular, Soviet works on Scandinavian studies are registered in the bibliographic appendix to the journal "Historisk tidskrift".


The number of scientific institutions, societies and educational institutions in modern Sweden is quite significant. The oldest and leading academic institution is the Royal Academy of Literature, History and Antiquities in Stockholm (Vitterhetsakademien). The Academy supports the publication of " Historisk tidskrift "("Historical Journal"), publishes non - periodic" Works "("Handlingar"), and since 1952," Historical Notes " - "Historiska studier". The subjects of the works published by the Academy in 1943-1953 relate mainly to the history of the Middle Ages and the archeology of the North and the Baltic States .13

One of the largest specialized institutes is the Historical and Economic Institute in Stockholm. After the death of the founder of the Institute -

8 This is also recognized by Swedish historians themselves: see Historisk tidskrift, 1953, N. 4, p. 361.

9 For a historian of the USSR, the works of K. Palmsterna, T. Heyer and G. Wittrock on the history of international relations in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries are of great interest (for example, S. F. Palmsterna. Sverige. Russland och England 1833 - 1855. Stockholm. 1932. T.T. Hojer. Bismark, Decazes och den europeiska krisen 1875. Uppsala. 1940).

10 Cf. big review of historical literature about Karl XII. K. G. Hildebrand. Till Karl XII-uppfattningens historia. "Historisk tidskrift", 1954. H. 4; 1955. H. I, as well as published volumes of "History of Swedish Foreign Policy" ("Den Svenska utrikespolitikens historia"), in particular vol. 3. Stockholm. 1952; compare the review of S. Mirny. Voprosy Istorii, 1954, N9.

11 A. Fredborg. Storbritannien och den ryska fragan. 1918 - 1920. Stockholm. 1951. For Rydenfelt's work, see O. Elmer's review in the journal Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift, H. 1, 1955, s. 80-89.

12 Cf. his review of Russian historiography in 1918-1947, which includes an analysis of the writings of white emigrants. "Historisk tidskrift". 1947, H. 2, s. 164 - 205.

13 As for the Academy of Sciences proper (Svenska Vetenskapsakademien), despite the presence of a class of economic and social sciences, it generally has a natural-mathematical direction.

page 181

E. Heckscher - such economic historians as E. Söderlund and A. Montgomery work here. Prominent diplomats and economists E. Unden, G. Myrdal, T. Gil, R. Lundström take part in the work of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. The corresponding institute in Gothenburg (Social institut) deals with sociology, the Institute for Law in Lund (Institute for rattshistorisk forskning), and the Gustavus Adolphus Academy in Stockholm (Kungl. Gustaf Adolfs Akademien for folkslivsforskning) and the Institute at the University of Gothenburg (Institut for folkminnesforskning), toponymy - a special institute in the same city (Institut for ortnamns och dialektforskning), military history - the historical department of the Royal Military Academy. Of particular note is the Russian Institute at Stockholm University. As far as can be judged from his publications, this institute deals not only with the history of the Russian language, but also with the problems of relations between Russia and Western Europe .14 There is a similar French institute. In 1951, the Ibero-American Institute for Latin American Studies was established at the Stockholm Higher School of Commerce.

There are a number of scientific societies in Sweden. The most important of them - the Swedish Historical Association (Svensk historisk foreningen) - publishes the magazine "Historisk tidskrift". In 1953, the association had about 780 members, including a number of collective members (student organizations, foreign universities). Among the individual members, it is not uncommon to meet representatives of the big bourgeoisie - bank directors or landlords. King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden , an amateur archaeologist, is also a member of the society. The association's board consists of leading historians. Such was S. Thunberg, who died last year, a specialist in the late Middle Ages, long-term chairman of the association, as well as the current chairman-the oldest Swedish historian N. Anluad; the secretary of the association, T. Hojer , a specialist in modern history and editor of the magazine; among other prominent members of the society, we should mention the well-known I. Anderson, A. Attman, a specialist in the history of Russian-Swedish relations, and others.

Together with the so-called "people's universities" and "workers ' institutes", the association conducts some scientific and popularizing work. For a wide range of readers, he publishes the "Living Past" series. Issues of this series cover some important issues of Swedish history (for example, "Charles XIV and Alexander I" - about the rapprochement of Sweden with Russia in 1812, "Social Shifts of the Great Power Era", etc.) 15.

Mention should also be made of the Archaeological Society, which publishes the journal "Fornvannen" ("Friend of Antiquity"), the Royal humanities scientific societies in the ancient university towns of Uppsala and Lund, 16 and the "Karolinska Union" of specialists in the study of the "great power era" (especially the reign of Charles XII), which was still a focus of ardent reactionaries. The activities of such emigrant historical and philological associations as the Swedish-Polish and especially the Swedish-Estonian ones are alien to genuine science.

Swedish historians actively cooperate with their colleagues in both the Scandinavian and other capitalist countries. At the congresses of historians of the North in 1948, 1951, and 1954, Swedish historians made a number of reports, in particular S. U. Palm (a historian with an extremely wide range of interests) - on "bureaucracy as an important problem of Northern history" and A. Attman - on the Stolbovsky peace of 161717 . In 1952, on the initiative of Swedish historians, the Northern Association for Socio-Economic History and Historical Geography was established. The Association publishes the journal "Scandinavian Economic History Review"in English.

The historical magazine "Scandia", edited in Lund, is dedicated to all-Scandinavian topics and publishes articles from all Scandinavian countries.-

14 See K. Thornqvist's research on Scandinavian loanwords in Russian: C. Thornqvist. Studien uber die nordischen Lehnworter im Russischen. Uppsala och Stockholm. 1948 and especially the work of A. Attman on the significance of the Russian market for Sweden in the 16th century: A. Attman. Den ryska marknaden i 1500-talets baltiska politik 1558 - 1596. Lund. 1944.

15 A series on the history of culture (Humanistisk kultur), launched in 1950, is also of a popular science nature.

16 In Uppsala there is also the Association of State Sciences (Statsveteskapliga forening) and in Lund-the Historical and Economic Association.

17 Attman's report is published in the journal Scandia. Century XIX. 1948-1949. H. I.

page 182

Russian historians in their languages 18 . The journal "Personhistorisk tidskrift" publishes articles of historical and biographical order, articles on the history of political institutions and on recent history are placed in Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift ("Journal of State Studies"), on modern economics - in the journal "Ekonomlsk tidskrift", on the history of cities - in "Svensk Stadsforbunds tidskrift" ("Journal of the Union cities"), churches - in " Kyrkohistorisk tidskrift "("Church History Magazine"), sciences and ideas-in the yearbook" Lychnos", culture - in the magazine" Rig", as well as in the inter - Scandinavian" Nordisk tidskrift for vetenskap, konst och industri", published in Stockholm. Local historical societies also have their own periodicals. The journal Orientalia suecana is now the organ of Swedish Orientalists who have an old and strong tradition. The journal publishes linguistic, ethnographic, textual, historical and philosophical articles along with historical ones. The history of Eastern religions is especially widely presented in the journal.

Swedish scientists made presentations at the IX International Congress of Historians in Paris (1950): K. Palmsherna - on the topic "Stockholm and Paris in 1848" and the talented medievalist F. Kropotkin. Dovring-about new methods of agricultural and historical research. At the X International Congress in Rome, Swedish historians made several reports: on estate representation in medieval Sweden (E. Lenroth), on the Eastern European market and international politics in the XVI-XVII centuries (A. Attman), on the emergence of the Swedish bourgeoisie (S. Karlson), on the social development of Sweden in the XIX century (T. Lindboom), on runic inscriptions (p. Janson) and on the coverage of American history in Latin American historiography of the colonial period (S. Arnoldson)19 .

Most historians in Sweden combine academic work with teaching. Historical subjects are taught in the humanities and philosophy departments of all four Swedish universities. In the youngest, Stockholm University (the so-called Higher School), history teaching has been established only in recent decades. Uppsala University has the strongest tradition of historical education. In 1951, the following subjects were taught here:: history proper, general and comparative ethnography, egyptology, history of ideas and sciences, ancient archeology and history of the ancient world, art history, political economy, Scandinavian ethnology, primitive history and comparative toponymy of the North, history of religions, sociology, statistics, state studies 20 .

In recent years, specialists from foreign capitalist countries have been invited to give lectures in Sweden: Uppsala University, for example, has hosted professors from universities in the United States, as well as from South Africa, Turkey, Ireland, and others .21 It should be noted that the break in scientific ties with the countries of Eastern Europe that took place over a number of years was repeatedly publicly condemned by prominent Swedish historians, and the importance of Sweden's traditional ties "with the countries on the other side of the Baltic Sea"was noted 22 .

The main type of scientific monographs in Sweden are doctoral dissertations. The subjects of his dissertations, defended in 1953-1954, are as follows: in archeology-topography of the Roman forum; Paleolithic in Western Sweden; in history-church benefices in medieval Sweden; the abdication of Queen Christina; Charles XI and the Livonian nobility; the Turkish policy of Charles XII (from Poltava to Bender); the coup d'etat in Sweden after his death Charles XII; the parties of "caps" and" hats " in the urban class in the 60s of the XVIII century; social democracy and the church in the 80s; the brick industry in Central Sweden in 1815-1950, etc.; according to general history-the activities of the Jesuits in the La Plata area in the XVII century. V.; Erik Menved and the Wend Slavs (from the history of Danish foreign policy of the XIV century); antitrust policy of the US federal government. A total of 28 theses on history were defended in Sweden between 1953 and 1954 .23 Dissertations

18 Accordingly, the Copenhagen journal Acta archeologica publishes widely the works of Swedish archaeologists.

19 См. Decimo Congresso Internationale di Scienze storiche. "Circolare Generale". N 2.

20 Forelasningar och ovningar vid Kungl. universitetet i Uppsala. Uppsala 1948 - 1951.

21 See faculty lists in Forelasningar och ovningar vid Kungl. universitetet i Uppsala.

22 See the annual meeting reports of the Swedish Historical Association for 1952 and 1953 in Historisk tidskrift.

23 См. "Historisk tidskrift". 1953. H. 2, s. 69; H. 4, s. 362. 1954. H. 2, s. 200; 1955, H. 1, s. 80.

page 183

they are published before their defense at the expense of dissertants.

Recently, work has been carried out on collective publications: on the history of Swedish foreign policy, on the history of the Swedish Church, the Swedish Navy, etc. The publication of the multi-volume Swedish Dictionary of Biography continues. The appearance of monographs on the history of many cities, localities and military units is characteristic. Books on the history of individual enterprises and banks, written by order of firms and joint-stock companies, are also published. But, according to the Swedish reviewers themselves, these books sometimes have a frankly apologetic character.

The publication of sources occupies a large place in scientific life. The publication of "Medieval Swedish sources" ("Sveriges medeltidsurkunder"), papers of the Royal Chancellery of the XVI-XVII centuries (Riksregistraturet), treaties of Sweden with other powers (Sveriges traktater med frammande magter), acts of the Riksdag (Svenska riksdagsakter), protocols of individual ranks of the Riksdag of the XVII - XVIII centuries, correspondence and papers of the famous Chancellor A. A. Schulz continues. Oxensherns. Among the sources on recent history, it is necessary to mention the publication of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on relations with Denmark and Norway during the Second World War, as well as memoir literature.

It is to be hoped that the growing cultural ties between Sweden and the USSR will contribute to the mutual enrichment of Soviet and Swedish historical scholarship.


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LUnited States LWorld Y G


Peter NielsenContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

A. S. KAHN, Historical science abroad. ABOUT THE WORK OF MODERN SWEDISH HISTORIANS // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 01.09.2023. URL: (date of access: 19.05.2024).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - A. S. KAHN:

A. S. KAHN → other publications, search: Libmonster USALibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Peter Nielsen
New-York, United States
672 views rating
01.09.2023 (261 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
Catalog: Science 
2 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Sociology 
14 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Pedagogics 
32 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: History 
54 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Political science 
58 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Political science 
60 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Political science 
62 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Pedagogics 
71 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Ecology 
73 days ago · From Peter Nielsen
Catalog: Military science 
75 days ago · From Peter Nielsen

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

LIBMONSTER.COM - U.S. Digital Library

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Library Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: U.S. LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers

U.S. Digital Library ® All rights reserved.
2014-2024, LIBMONSTER.COM is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of the United States of America


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android