Sweden

Sweden in 1970

It is a time of opposites in Sweden. The country is prospering, with industrial and social developments moving quickly ahead into a new decade, while young leftists are fighting with the establishment over an education reform and the Vietnam war. 

The myth of the safe and good Sweden is established with obligatory seat belts in the popular Volvo cars and two wholesome public TV-channels for everyone. Abortion is about to be legalised, and foreigners from southern Europe are invited into the country to deal with the lack of skilled workers in many fields. The new Swedes can live in new mass-produced flats and furnish them with cheap no-nonsense furniture from IKEA. It is a prosperous and forward-looking country.

With masters like Ingemar Bergman and Vilgot Sjöman, Swedish movies achieve international success. With dark and realistic perspectives on life, lust and loneliness, they spread the picture of liberated Swedes. The pop song that dominates the radio waves in Sweden with 26 weeks at the top is “En enkel sång om frihet” – an anti-war song with a strong pacifistic message.

In September a new parliament is elected. The Social Democratic party remains in power under its newly elected leader, Prime Minister Olof Palme. Ties with the west are strained under his leadership, and many secret plans for deeper integration fall apart. Being a neutral country squeezed between two superpowers while trying to remain as the world’s conscience is not an easy task. But Sweden prides itself on pulling it off.

Characters

  • Ambassador: (50s, F) Social democrat with great political ambition, recently outmaneuvered by Olof Palme. Disillusioned and in a midlife crisis. Has an illegitimate child.
  • First secretary: (60s, N) diplomat with background in the secret police (SÄPO). Practically running the embassy. Has romantic entanglements that could be a liability.
  • Defence attaché: (50s, N) Old-school air force officer with a hidden history of Nazi sympaties. Working closely with the FRA. Well connected and ambitious.
  • Consular Officer: (Any age, N) Undercover agent for the political military intelligence, B-office. Ideological social democrat who sees enemies (communists) in every corner. Indebted and overzealous.
  • Technical attaché: (30s, N) Diligent undercover officer within the military intelligence, T-office. Trained by the CIA. Recruiter of agents. Hidden sexual orientation and left-wing views.
  • Cultural attaché: (Any age, N) An adventurer attracted to the glamor of diplomat life. Recruited as a spy for GDR, for money and excitement.
  • Counsellor Economy: (30s, N) Officially working for SIDA, but in reality a Soviet illegal agent, pretending to be a Swede. Lonely and in big trouble.
  • Diplomatic Fellow: (30s, N) On a special mission from the Foreign Department. In reality an undercover journalist investigating the secret military intelligence, IB; and a communist.