Friday, September 28, 2018
1,500+ Swedish Citizens Became US Soldiers 1941-45
Well over 1,500 Swedish citizens became soldiers of the US Army during World War Two. This fact was unknown in Sweden until a few weeks ago. Nor was it previously known that more than 4,000 US soldiers had been born in Sweden.
Previously, Swedish researchers, such as Lennart Westberg and myself (authors of Swedes at War), have had no clear picture of how many from Sweden joined the US Army in 1941-45. Having met or corresponded with several US Army Swedes, I decided to write a book specifically about them. Well, some weeks ago, thanks to my publisher in Stockholm, Lind & Co, I could present the result: Svenskar i strid mot Hitler i.e. Swedes In Combat vs. Hitler. Here follows the text on the back cover in my translation (the above photo is the image on the back cover):
After the outbreak of World War Two, Anders Kullander from Gothenburg [in Swedish: Göteborg] went to America and became a soldier in the US Army. He landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy and took part in bloody battles on his way to Berlin, where he reached Hitler´s bunker and was photographed by the spot where the dictator´s corpse was burnt.
Kullander was only one of many Swedes who in US service were in combat against Hitler´s forces. Some Swedes were part of elite units and many served with great success – on the ground, in the air and on the oceans – in Europe, Africa and against Hitler's ally in Asia.
The Swedes who fought in the ranks of the Waffen-SS have received a lot of attention. Time to look at the many more Swedes on the other side, in a book with many previously unpublished photographs.
Speaking of the Swedes in the Waffen-SS, they were about 180, and in the Wehrmacht there were an additional 20 Swedes. Thus: 200 Swedes in German uniform. Aside from Swedes in US and German units there were also Swedes in the Finnish, Norwegian and British Armed Forces as well as in the French Foreign Legion and Soviet Red Army (for an overview of all these plus Swedish volunteers in WWI and the Spanish Civil War, see Swedes at War).
My new book does not portray in detail all the 4,000+ men and women born in Sweden who joined various US units. That would have required several more years of work and presenting the results would demand many volumes. But what about their motives, were they not “just” in US uniform because they had emigrated from Sweden? Well, as my book shows, not all were emigrants, many were Swedish sailors. In addition there were those many, many soldiers who had been born in the United States but who nevertheless were called Swedes because of their Swedish parents, grandparents etc. Well, in my new book I portray a dozen of the many thousand more or less Swedish men and women in US uniforms, with all their military details and photographs. It has so far sold really well in Swedish, hopefully it can be translated in the not too distant future.