Resistance and the Modern State

Exploring a society-based resistance capability pathway for Sweden in the shadow of the War in Ukraine


  • Alastair Finlan Swedish Defence University


The changed security environment in Europe with the outbreak of the War in Ukraine has radically affected defence postures and spending in neighbouring countries, not least in Sweden, which has abandoned its neutrality stance for the first time in 200 years. This research explores whether the development of a society-based resistance capability would augment Sweden’s total defence posture and increase its ability to defend itself in the short term as it rebuilds its conventional forces. It draws upon historical examples of successful resistance organisations such as the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the Second World War to inform the discussion and concludes that creating a society-based resistance capability would greatly enhance Sweden’s defence posture as well as complement the long-term development of its conventional forces as they prepare to join the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO).