Swedish History

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Swedish History

Post by Samsid on Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:17 am

Sweden had a very interesting history. Discuss it here, if you have something you want to talk about.
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Samsid on Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:10 am

I will begin with a small presenation on the Great Northern War, concerning mainly Sweden:

The Great Northern War was a coalition war, Sweden, later the Ottoman Empire, Dutch Republic, and Swedish loyalist Poles, against Denmark, Russia, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and later in the war, Prussia, Great Britain, Hanover.

For most of the war, Sweden was ruled by Charles XII, also known by his latinised name - Carolus Rex. His father Charles XI was not interested in warfare. Instead, unlike most Swedish kings at this time, he had spent most of his efforts towards reforming and centralizing the realm which was more or less heading into economic collapse. In any case, Charles XII ascended into a relatively stable realm, and saw no outstanding needs for reforms. Although he took interest in the French language, Charles had a wild youth - partying was a quite "regular" part of his life. At least, when he had the chance. Despite this, Historians gather that he would have been a skilled administrator, if he would have ever been given the chance.

Following the various Swedish successes in warfare in the past century, Sweden had angered her neighbours. This, added to the fact that Sweden supported Holstein-Gottorp in her various troubles against Denmark. Thus, Frederick IV of Denmark, August II "the Strong" of Poland-Saxony and Peter I "the Great" of Russia assembled a coalition, which main purpose was to crush the Holstein-Swedish allaince, but in reality the coalition members were mainly interested in regaining lost territories, which included Scania for Denmark, Livonia for Poland and Ingria for Russia. Secret diplomacy was conducted between the coalition partners, and on the 11. February 1700, the Great Northern War was started by a Polish assault on the Swedish fortress in Riga.

The Swedes were numerically inferior, strategically speaking. The Swedes and their allies, had at the start of the war approximately 81,00 troops at their command. These numbers increased up to 120,000 in the duration of the war. The Swedes were also supported by Holland and Britain, who provided 25 ships. The total initial strength of the coalition was about 260,000 men.

Despite overwhelming numbers during the siege of Riga, the Poles were driven back, which can be attributed to the Swedish commander Erik Dahlberg. The Danes begun by attacking the relatively helpless Swedish ally of Holstein-Gottorp, and there laid siege to Tönning. The Danes were also blockading the Sound strait. The first Swedish focus was knocking out Denmark so they could focus entirely on the east. This was done by outmanueverig the Danish blockade and landing a force led by Charles XII near Copenhagen. The English-Dutch navy also arrived to bombard Copenhagen - this led to Denmark being pressured out of the war and signing the treaty of Travendal.

Charles XII now could focus on the east, and went east to lift the Russian siege of Narva. He arrived in November, and then fought in the Battle of Narva, where he managed to secure a decisive victory, despite being outnumbered 4-1. This was done, partly thanks to a blizzard, but mainly the offensive spirit of the Swedish Carolean infantry - extremely zealous troops which probably had the best morale in Europe at the time. This, with an offensive tactic managed to crush the Russians in the most decisive Swedish victory in the war, killing 9,000 Russians, and capturing the rest 20,000. The Swedes had about 1,500 casualties. However, Charles made a major strategical mistake after the battle. He believed that the Russians were utterly defeated and would not have to be dealt with any more throughout the war. This was, probably what led to the eventual Swedish defeat in the war.

Charles now marched south, to attack the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The first battle took place at Düna, in July 1701. The Swedes, led by Charles XII, had 9,000 men, facing a Saxon-Russian force which had 20,000 men. The Swedes won another decisive victory. The next battle took place at Kliszów in July 1702, where the Poles operated from a strong, advantageous defensive position. They were, however, defeated by a the Swedish army, which were only half the size of their force. Later, in 1703, the Saxons were defeated in the battle of Pulutsk. A Swedish cavalry force led by Charles XII clashed with Saxon one, led by Adam Heinrich von Steinau. These battles allowed the Swedes to, at least try to dethrone August II and install the loyal Stanisław I Leszczyński. However, August fled the Saxony. The Swedish general Carl Gustaf Rehnskiöld decisively defeated the Saxons at the battle of Fraustadt, outnumbered 2-1 with his force of 9,000, he faced a proffesional Saxon force with 20,000, and artillery, which the Swedes lacked. Rehnskiöld used the double envelopment tactic to defeat the Saxons. The Saxons, with Russian support lost 15,000 men, and the Swedes a tenth of that. This effectively forced August II to accept peace, accepting Stanislaw I's claim to the throne and leaving the war. This left only Russia to be dealt with...

The Swedish campaigns in Poland gave Peter I just what he needed - time to regroup and reinforce his army. He also profesionalized and modernized it. The Russians attacked Swedish Baltic possesion, only partly successful, as the Swedish general Adam Ludwig Lewenhaupt managed to secure several victories against the outnumbering Russian invaders. The next five years proved a costly struggle for both in Ingria - with Sweden trying to recapture it, and Russia defending it. In one occasion, around 5,000 Swedish horses were slaughtered by the Russians, crushing Swedish offensive capabilities in Finland, which Peter I took advantage of, and deployed more men to Ukraine. Charles XII, foolishly declined a generous Russian peace offer and instead started a march on Moscow from Saxony in 1707. The Swedes were greeted by one of the most cold winters in European history, and the Russians usin scorched earth tactics to make it impossible for the Swedes to live off the land they had captured. Charles turned to the warmer and richer (speaking in terms of accessible supplies) lands of Ukraine. However, half of the Swedish supply force was caught and routed by Peter at the Battle of Lesnaya. In his march, Charles was shot in the foot  during a smaller skirmish, temporarily disabling him from commanding his armies. His tired, hungry armies met the Russians at the battle of Poltava - 16,500 Swedes fought 42,000 Russians and were decisively defeated. Charles was not in command and left the army to relatively inexperienced commanders. Charles XII flees to exile in the Ottoman Empire, and stays there for 5 years. The battle had effectively decided the war, as Denmark and Saxony rejoins the war. August II faces little resistance in retaking the Polish throne. The Baltics, including Riga, were captured by Russia and Poland. in 1710, Hanover joined the war with the coalition and attacked Swedish German possesions. In 1714 Great Britain allied with Russia. In 1715, Prussia joined and attacked Swedish Pomerania.

Peter wanted Charles XII evicted from the Ottomans, but the sultan refused, and were invaded by Russia. The war proved everything but decisive and ended quickly. When Charles abandoned hope of further Ottoman intervention, he returned to Sweden in a 14-day ride, this in 1714. He arrived in Stralsund but there was little he could do to defend it. Charles returned to Sweden in 1715. In 1716, Wismar fell, and Sweden had no more German possesions. To force Denmark out of the war, he attacked Norway (controlled by Denmark) but was ultimately driven back, this in 1716. Britain openly declared war on Swedein in 1717 due to Swedish negotiations with British Jacobites. Charles invaded Norway again but was shot and killed during the siege of Frederiksten in November 1718.

Sweden still wouldn't accept peace with Russia, despite Finland having mostly fallen to them. The Swedish navy still patrolled the waters but could not effectively defend the coast from Russian galley raids. The Russians the landed a force of 30,000 who continued raiding Swedish cities. They were howver stopped at the battle of Stäket. Denmark made peace with Sweden 1720, and Sweden had to accept the Treaty of Nystad. Sweden lost all Baltic possesions to Russia, German possesion to Prussia and Hanover, except for a small one in Pomerania.

The war effectively ended Sweden as a great power. Not only had a great part of her population been annexed, but the absolute monarchy ended with the war.

Further reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_War

Subjectively the best video about the war (or at least the frontlines of it):


Last edited by Samsid on Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Ramlam on Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:43 am

Just found the best thread on the forum
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Re: Swedish History

Post by r3volutionr0ck on Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:04 am

I don't know much about the Swedish, besides this "feud" with the Russian empire, and i'm really more into the russian side of the history, if you can recomend me some Wikipedia Articles or videos about Sweden i would gladly read
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Ramlam on Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:42 am

Search "Sweden Wikipedia" then read all about it's history, to get a basic understanding, then you can google your way to details about certain events later on.
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Samsid on Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:29 am

I'm glad you think so! I will start writing about some other war, and anyone else is welcome to do so aswell. I'm not very good at writing Laughing
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Cold War Communist on Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:12 pm

Weren't the Swedes on their way to being a serious power when their leader was struck down in the field of battle? Forgive my ignorance on this topic. It may have taken place during the Great Northern War, or it may have been sometime just after.
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Mr. Self Destruct on Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:39 pm

When I see a thread about the Great Northern War, I have to post the Sabaton song of the great Swedish King Carolus Rex.



With what he was given, and from what I remember, Carolus Rex was extremely capable of organizing such an effective war despite all odds. After their initial successes, their war effort dwindled until their surrender, but the fight they gave was incredible to say the least.

And while we're on the topic of Great Swedish Kings, how do you think he compared to Gustavus Adolphus, my personal second-favorite King of all of European history (sorry, Frederick II The Great of Prussia is my favorite Razz ). Can someone compare their military styles to me, I'm only half-familiar with any of the battles Adolphus or Rex faced as of late (moreso with Adolphus).
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Samsid on Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:15 pm

Cold War Communist wrote:Weren't the Swedes on their way to being a serious power when their leader was struck down in the field of battle? Forgive my ignorance on this topic. It may have taken place during the Great Northern War, or it may have been sometime just after.
You are quite right. I believe you are speaking of Charles X, who died in 1660. In 1658, Sweden was at its peak in power, but his sudden death forced Sweden to return some territory to Denmark. Indeed he could have made Sweden a great European power if he had lived.
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Samsid on Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:23 pm

Mr. Self Destruct wrote:When I see a thread about the Great Northern War, I have to post the Sabaton song of the great Swedish King Carolus Rex.



With what he was given, and from what I remember, Carolus Rex was extremely capable of organizing such an effective war despite all odds. After their initial successes, their war effort dwindled until their surrender, but the fight they gave was incredible to say the least.

And while we're on the topic of Great Swedish Kings, how do you think he compared to Gustavus Adolphus, my personal second-favorite King of all of European history (sorry, Frederick II The Great of Prussia is my favorite Razz ). Can someone compare their military styles to me, I'm only half-familiar with any of the battles Adolphus or Rex faced as of late (moreso with Adolphus).
Well, he wasn't quite as great as Gustavus Adolphus. Gustav reformed not only the army, but many aspects of the nation itself. He won several wars and made Sweden into a European power. He reformed the army, creating lighter artillery, and Gustavian Infantry, he is called by many the father of modern warfare and was even studied by Napoleon himself. You can read more about his reforms, but I'm sure you already know most of them  Smile . Carolus Rex made no outstanding reforms however, and he was considered both diplomatically and strategically incompetent. He probably used more offensive tactics, but likely because that was the only proper way of using the Caroleans offensive spirit. So, Gustavus Adolphus, was a better king in my opinion. He won a few great battles, but not quite as many as Carolus, and not quite as decisive, and he was rarely outnumbered, unlike Carolus. Carolus, never really got the chance to act as a king, more as a general, but his refusal to make peace with Russia, and strategical blunders such as ignoring Russia after the Battle of Narva makes me think Gustavus Adolphus was superior.
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Deathcruiser on Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:07 pm

r3volutionr0ck wrote:I don't know much about the Swedish, besides this "feud" with the Russian empire, and i'm really more into the russian side of the history, if you can recomend me some Wikipedia Articles or videos about Sweden i would gladly read


if you like reading about the second world war maybe you should try to find some articles about how sweden was and was not neutral during ww2.
i could not really find much more in english then an article from the new yourk times and a reddit post but i hope you find it
interesting

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/26/weekinreview/the-not-so-neutrals-of-world-war-ii.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/2ruhw2/was_sweden_really_neutral_during_ww2/
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Re: Swedish History

Post by ceaserkhan22 on Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:12 pm

Who was Sweden's greatest monarch, Gustavus Adolphus or Charles XII? Not sure anyone else comes close to these two, unless someone knows more Swedish history then me?
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Re: Swedish History

Post by Samsid on Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:01 am

ceaserkhan22 wrote:Who was Sweden's greatest monarch, Gustavus Adolphus or Charles XII? Not sure anyone else comes close to these two, unless someone knows more Swedish history then me?
Probably Gustavus Adolphus. I explaind more or less why in a previous post in this thread, but Charles XII didn't accomplish much away from the battlefield. Altough I think Gustav Vasa, a previous Swedish king, is almost comparable to Gustavus Adolphus.
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Re: Swedish History

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