A trip to the Old Mill Museum revealed a lot about the conditions on Sweden during World War 1 and the position of many Swedes at the time. The letter was found in the Old Mill Museum’s archives and was written by a member of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland named Axel Palmgren. He mentions that the Swedes in both Sweden and the United States were neutral and did not want any association with the war.

Sweden received bribes several times by Germany and England but refused to take either side. Sweden had their own problems to worry about. At the time of the war, Palmgren informs his pen pal about the food and resource shortage that is currently taking place. Food was distributed based on ration cards, allowing each individual two rolls of bread per day and a pound of sugar per month. Other products like coffee, rice, oats and tea were nearly exhausted. The shortage became so terrible that in order to receive whole wheat bread you needed a doctor’s prescription.

As far as resources, Sweden also suffered a coal shortage cause prices to jump. This stopped fifty percent of their railway traffic  as well as gas and electricity use in Sweden. Palmgren adds that the  government eventually took control of manufacturers and made adjustments like using “acetylene lamps to take place of the oil lamps for the winter” as a way to conserve the resources they that were becoming few. Sweden was more concerned about issues that were taking place in their country, rather than the war.

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Sophomore Honors Student at Bethany College in Lindsborg KS.