Sweden is traditionally portrayed as an active bridge builder in international politics during the 1960s and 1970s. The activation of Swedish foreign policy, often ascribed to Prime Minister Olof Palme, has been lauded as a transformation from armed isolationism to internationalist solidarity. This dissertation analyzes Sweden’s role in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe and the country’s contribution to the political and diplomatic process leading to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. It demonstrates that in the European realm, at the heart of the Cold War division, realpolitik thinking prevented Sweden from solidarity with the citizens of Eastern Europe. With this, Advocates of Realpolitik adds important nuances to the existing account of Sweden and Swedish neutrality policy during the Cold War.

Aryo Makko has been a PhD candidate at the Department of History, Stockholm University since 2008. He has been a visiting research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and at the University of Oxford. His articles have been published in the Scandinavian Journal of History, Diplomacy & Statecraft and the Journal of Cold War Studies.

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