In This Review
Scandinavia and the Great Powers, 1890-1940
Cambridge University Press, 1997, 421 pp.
A British historian specializing in the study of Scandinavia and the Baltic states, Salmon has produced a comprehensive and superbly researched study of the relations between Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland on the one hand, and the great powers, mainly Britain, Germany, and Russia, on the other, between 1890 and 1940. He is particularly successful in showing the ways in which each of the small Scandinavian states succeeded in asserting its own interests and in resisting the economic and strategic pressures of the major powers. He is sensitive to the differences in outlook and capacities among the Scandinavian states, whose cooperation was quite limited. Salmon is also skillful in describing the connections between domestic politics and foreign policy, even though policymaking "remained in the hands of an elite." Much of the book is devoted to the "blurring of neutrality" during the interwar period, to the Nazi interest in Scandinavian raw materials, and to mistaken British assumptions in trying to contain German influence. It is to be hoped that Salmon will now turn to an equally masterful study of the period after 1940.
Source URL: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/capsule-review/1998-07-01/scandinavia-and-great-powers-1890-1940