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.
- Donald Sutherland Reveals The Real Meaning Of The Hunger Games
- Glenn Greenwald Accuses CNN of "Leading The Way" in Propaganda Push For More War
- Glenn Greenwald On Paris: Despite Intel Agencies Getting Billions to Prevent Attacks 'They Failed Miserably'
- 8 States That Should Legalize Marijuana Next Year
- Americans Rush to Buy Guns in Wake of Paris Attacks
- Missouri Judge Upholds Public Right to Oust Red Light Cameras
- Brazil Politicians Admit State Has Failed at Protecting Citizens, Seek to 'Copy U.S. Gun Culture'
- Alabama: Veteran Takes Camera Ticket to Federal Court
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.