During the 1920s, “Sweden’s second heyday”, there was a strong industrial expansion. Large companies such as Bofors, Separator, AGA, SKF, LM Ericsson, ASEA and Electrolux developed rapidly. Shipyards grew into a large industry, while Ivar Kreuger acquired close enough monopoly on the manufacture of safety toothpicks. The number of industrial workers increased, and the urban area’s share of the population increased. The countryside was electrified and agriculture was mechanized, especially in the plains. The industrial progress was partly made possible by keeping down wages. The class differences were large, and the class contradictions were expressed in a troubled labor market with numerous labor conflicts.
In the political field, the fierce class struggle was reflected in a polarization between socialists and citizens. Liberals and social democrats, after the victory of democracy, no longer had any common interests in the social economy. In the social democracy demands were raised for socialization, the liberals guarded private ownership and free enterprise. The dividing line was no longer between right and left, but between a bourgeois and a socialist bloc. However, the contradictions within the bourgeois camp were too great for a joint bourgeois government to be formed. The right and liberals disagreed with the school and the defense. The issue of alcohol prohibition split in the context of a referendum in 1922 through the Liberal unification party into two parties, liberal and liberal, which, however, reunited in the People’s Party in 1934. A new political force had been created through the Peasant League, which emerged from the peasant movement just before the war and established itself as a parliamentary party in 1921. The Social Democrats lacked their own majority, and as the only opportunity to govern the country, therefore, changing minority governments, often with narrow parliamentary support, remained. The center of gravity was postponed to the Riksdag, in particular the State Committee. In 1920 Hjalmar Branting formed the first purely social democratic government. He returned as head of government in 1921–23 and from 1924 until his death in 1925. The free-spirited leader CG Ekman ruled in 1926–28 and 1930–32 with the help of leaping majorities (“wave master policy”). and as the only option to govern the country, therefore, were changing minority governments, often with narrow parliamentary support. The center of gravity was postponed to the Riksdag, in particular the State Committee.
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In 1930, Sweden was hit by the economic crisis with falling agricultural prices and rapidly rising unemployment. It took dramatic expression in the Ådal events in 1931 and the Kreugerk crash in 1932 and made the opinion ripe for a system change. The 1932 election led to great successes for the Social Democrats and the Peasant League, which represented the most severely affected groups, workers and peasants during the crisis. Per Albin Hansson formed a purely social democratic government with the fight against unemployment through active economic policy in the spirit of JM Keynes on the program. In May 1933, a crisis settlement was concluded between the Social Democrats and the Peasant League, which created a stable majority in the second chamber (the “cow trade”). The Social Democrats were able to carry out their crisis program against certain concessions to farmers on tariffs and agricultural subsidies. After a brief interplay with a pure peasant government in the summer of 1936 under Axel Pehrsson-Bramstorp (the “holiday government”), in the autumn of 1936, a coalition government was formed between the two parties on a comprehensive social policy program, “the folk-home policy”. However, most of them stopped at attacks because of the outbreak of World War II. But business cycles improved, largely thanks to the armaments, and unemployment declined. The social partners approached each other. The Saltsjöbads agreement in 1938 between the Swedish Employers’ Association (SAF) and the National Organization (LO) regulated the forms of agreements and conflicts, and a consensus emerged which became the basis for the later so-called “Swedish model”.
Sweden’s security policy had clearly improved, as both Germany and Russia were greatly weakened by the First World War. Against this background, the 1925 defense decision was taken, which involved a major disarmament. Security was sought in the collective security promised by the League of Nations (NF), to which Sweden joined in 1920. Loyally, Sweden bowed to the NF’s ruling in the Åland issue in 1921, which went in Finnish favor. During the 1920s, Sweden under Branting’s leadership is a lively part of NF’s work. When the NF showed its inability to meet the aggression policy of the Axis powers during the 1930s, a security policy review was inevitable. In 1936, Sweden, along with a number of other states, were declared unbound by the NF’s sanctions obligations, and a new defense decision that year gave the armed forces some reinforcements, which especially benefited the Air Force. As compensation for NF, Sweden tried to organize a Nordic defense cooperation, but without success. The so-called Stockholm Plan on joint Swedish-Finnish defense of Åland in 1939 was stranded on Soviet resistance.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Sweden in 2019 was 10,036,268, ranking number 91 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.650% yearly, and the population density was 24.4587 people per km2.