“The Swedish Principle is the Christian Principle” Christianity and the Concept of the People in Swedish Patriotism during World War II

Main Article Content

Ida Olenius


To strengthen Swedish patriotism during World War II, representatives of the Swedish Parliament and the Church of Sweden gathered at Stockholm’s City Hall and issued the motto “The Swedish principle is the Christian principle.” This study analyzes the role of Christianity in Swedish patriotism as expressed at that meeting. Using Viroli’s theories of nationalism and patriotism, this unifying message is found to contain a variety of understandings regarding the relationships between the Swedish people, Christianity, and the Church of Sweden. Christian faith was presented as part of both nationalism and patriotism and as both an instrument for increasing national loyalty and an objective in itself.

Article Details

Author Biography

Ida Olenius, Uppsala University

Ida Olenius is a PhD candidate in church history at Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research interests include the Church of Sweden’s changing role in society, relationships between church and state, and
Christianity and national identity. Her thesis concerns the Church of Sweden’s attempts, during World War II, to contribute to the strengthening of the “spiritual preparedness” of the Swedish people: their defense will, spirit for self-sacrifice, and sense of duty. For her master’s thesis she studied the establishment of a Swedish parish in Helsinki, Finland, from 1919 to 1922.