What weas Sweden like in 1927?

I’m researching my family, and after talking to my aunt last weekend, I discovered that my uncle (b. 1918) and his family had come over from Sweden in 1927. My aunt said that they were lookng for a better life. That could cover a lot of reasons, though.

I’m wondering, what was life like in Sweden and Denmark then? Did Sweden participate in the Great War? Were they experiencing the late-Twenties boom that the US got, or were they more affected by the instability in Germany? Were people starving, comfortable, adventurous?

From the Encyclopedia Britannica: Sweden in World War I.

Except for the early 1920s and early 1930s, Sweden was an economically prosperous country in the 20th century.

• C. J. Hallendorf and Adolf Schüch, History of Sweden (1929, repr. 1970)
• Wilfrid Fleisher, Sweden, The Welfare State (1956, repr. 1973)
• Ingvar Andersson, A History of Sweden (tr. 1968, repr. 1975)
• Vilhelm Moberg, A History of the Swedish People (2 vol., tr. 1972 and 1974).

Thanks! I hadn’t realised that that much of the Britannica was available for free on the web–I thought it was all pay-only.

Sweden did well in the 20th century, mostly due to 1) the quite famous social democrats society building project leading to the so called welfare state, and 2) being neutral in both world wars, and hence had it’s civilian industry untouched.

In the twenties, without being able to provide any detail, Sweden were rather well off, no inflation, starvation and desperation as it was in Germany at the time.

I would guess that your relatives for some reason or another had hard times, but it wasn’t a especially hard time for Sweden as a nation.

Most Swedish imigrants went to America at the end of the 19th century, because at that time, things were much harder on common people.

I suspect personal reasons, but I have absolutely no way of proving that.

The Swedish economic experience in the 1920s was not so very different from the rest of Europe.

The fact that Sweden had remained neutral during WWI did not insulate it from the post-war slump and high unemployment. Indeed, the Swedish deflation crisis in the early years of the 1920s remains one of the classic examples of such a phenomenon. There then followed a period of recovery, only for that to be interrupted at the very end of the decade by the Great Depression. What did make Sweden rather different was what then happened, as it managed to recover in the 1930s much quicker than other countries.

There were worse places in Europe to live in the 1920s, but Sweden had had its difficulties and even in 1927 your uncle might well have thought, rightly or wrongly, that America was the better bet.

…while the rest of Europe got put through the grinder, meaning the Swedish export industry blossomed like never before. The rest of Europe badly needed all that iron and lumber.

For what it’s worth, my wife’s family’s main progenitor was a young (maybe still in her teens?) Swedish woman who came to the States. I’m not sure if was in the late 19th century or early 20th century. Her reason was religious freedom - apparently there was a state church in Sweden, and she disagreed with it over baptism, and if I’m not mistaken became a Baptist over here. This issue was serious enough to her to move to a country where she had no relatives and didn’t know the language. I don’t know if the church was particularly oppressive or she was particularly stubborn, but I’m sure she viewed it as an opportunity for a better life.

Strange. While we did (and, in a sense, still do) have a state church, in 1927 it was quite possible to leave it (although you had to specify what you were leaving to; being officially religionless didn’t become possible until the fifties, if memory serves).

Out of curiosity, where in Sweden did your wife’s ancestress come from?

Didn’t Sweden have a massive eugenics programme complete with compulsory sterilisations, all the way up until the 1970s?

Sorry, Gary T, got you mixed up with Sunspace. Anyway, leaving the church had become possible in the late 19th century, as far as I know.

“Massive” is an exaggeration, though what happened was heinous enough. The compulsory sterilisations were officially stopped in 1941 when the laws were made more stringent, but they continued on a “voluntary” basis. The law was stricken from the books in 1976.

My wife’s parents emigrated to Australia because they got sick of the snow. A bad thing for Swedes not to like.

Was the weather bad in Sweden in 1917?

No worse than any other year, I believe. There was a lot of famine and rationing and stuff like that, though.

Well in 1927 there was a new company in Sweden building a car nicknamed the Jacob