Programme research: Pro-German Networks Among Swedish Scientists During the Third Reich


By Sven Widmalm

Department of History of Science and Ideas

Uppsala University


During the Nazi period a fair number of Swedish academics became involved with ”pro-German” networks and activities. Often these were centred around Swedish organizations, like the Swedish-German clubs that existed in several Swedish towns or the Swedish-German National Association (Riksföreningen Sverige Tyskland), also with several local branches. German ”cultural politics”, organized by a variety of institutions including the German legation in Stockholm, promoted scientific and cultural exchange as a vehicle for propaganda and also to encourage concrete collaboration.

Hans von Euler-Chelpin sitting on the left and also hanging on the wall in the middle.

Hans von Euler-Chelpin sitting on the left and also hanging on the wall in the middle.

In this sub project a central figure in the pro-German network, the chemist and Nobel Prize Laureate Hans von Euler-Chelpin, will be investigated. von Euler (for short) was involved in several of the above-mentioned activities and institutions and was a frequent guest in Germany almost to the last days of the regime (and then again after the war). He was also a leading member of the Royal Academy of Sciences. By choosing him as a point of departure, and to some extent also his close friends Herman Nilsson-Ehle (geneticist and plant breeder of world renown) and Sven Hedin (geographer, writer etc.), an academic fifth column will be mapped and characterized as to political and scientific ideals.


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