Sweden ends compulsory military service after 109 years
Sweden on Thursday ended 109 years of obligatory military service, setting the nation on the way to becoming a fully professional army."
Introduced in Sweden in 1901, military service had been winding down for several years, with only those expressing a wish to serve picked during for conscription.
Sweden remained neutral during the two world wars, but with the Soviet Union nearby, wanted to have the capacity to call in 500,000 soldiers at short notice during the Cold War, out of a population of about eight million at the time.
At the height of the East-West tensions, nearly 85 percent of Swedish men carried out military service, with some 50,000 conscripted out of an age group counting 60,000 men.
The numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, with only an average of about 5,000 conscripted soldiers, including several hundred women since 1980, serving each year.
"The military service ends in Sweden as of today, It was really about time," Sweden's daily of reference Dagens Nyheter wrote in an editorial, insisting that with Cold War finished, obligatory military service was no longer needed.
"The obligatory military service had become both old-fashioned and ineffective," it said.
The Aftonbladet tabloid however lamented the end of an era of social responsibility.
"There is good reason to fear that with the end of military service yet another level of collective conscience will disappear," wrote editorialist Kennet Andreasson.
"The connection between obligations and rights has become less and less clear," he added.
Some of the country's last conscripts received medals during an official ceremony at the royal palace on Wednesday.
The centre-right government decided last year to end military service, which on average had lasted about 11 months.
At the same time, it decided to loosen the country's traditionally strict neutrality to allow participation in more international military operations, like the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.
The Swedish military, which last year employed 34,000 people as well as 38,000 National Guard reserves, has in recent weeks been running a large recruitment campaign with television ads and large street billboards.
- Citizen Pulls Over Cop, Demands ID, Gets It. Lets Cop Off with Verbal Warning
- D.C. Council Member Recommends Disarming the Police
- Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules of Engagement for Resisting the Police State
- The Death Of James Traficant
- Presence of Armed Citizen Prevented More Death Says Oklahoma County Sheriff
- Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads for Police, Even With Search Warrants
- Call the Anti-Police: Ending the State's "Security" Monopoly
- This Citizen Gives a Cop a Taste of What Police Harassment Feels Like
FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.