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Swedish Counterintelligence Operations against British Economic Warfare in Scandinavia, 1939-1940

Julkaisun tekijät: Suonpää Mika

Kustantaja: Cambridge University Press

Julkaisuvuosi: 2020

Journal: Historical Journal

Tietokannassa oleva lehden nimi: Historical Journal

ISSN: 0018-246X

eISSN: 1469-5103



This article examines the Swedish security establishment's counterintelligence measures directed against British preparations for economic warfare in Scandinavia in 1939–40. Although Stockholm was an intense spying location, there exists a gap in the historiography concerning the topic. At the beginning of the war, the British government regarded economic warfare as an efficient tool for shaking the foundations of the German war economy. Economic warfare included blockades, sabotage, psychological warfare, and diplomatic threats. The present study explores Swedish operations against George Binney, who worked for the British government in war-trade-related issues. The article shows that the Swedish security service had difficulties in obtaining intelligence on Binney because of the reliance on casual informants, whose information was imprecise and sometimes misleading. The British succeeded in uncovering some of the Swedish counterintelligence tactics and this led to problems in capturing significant information, for example, via communication monitoring. The Swedish archival sources have added considerable new empirical details regarding British preparations for blockade running in July 1940. The study also shows that British officials operated on very dangerous ground, as some of the individuals they worked with were enemy agents or in a position to forward information in several different directions.

Last updated on 2022-13-06 at 16:16