It’s hard to predict when war will break out, but Sweden wants to make sure that it’s populace is always prepared for the worst.
The Swedish government is reissuing an instructional war pamphlet to all 4.8 million households in the country, informing them for the first time in more than 30 years on the perils of war.
The brochure, titled “Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes),” was compiled by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and instructs civilians on what to do if “their everyday life was turned upside down.”
The brochure provides information on everything from how to identify fake news and prepare against extreme weather conditions to what to do in the event of terror attacks and military conflicts.
The 20-page pamphlet, featuring illustrations of soldiers in the field, people fleeing disaster zones and cybersecurity teams at their computers, is an update on a version first produced during the Second World War and last released in the 1980s.
“We all have a responsibility for our country’s safety and preparedness, so it’s important for everyone to also have knowledge on how we can contribute if something serious occurs,” MSB General Director Dan Eliasson said in a statement, according to the Swedish website The Local.
“Sweden is safer than many other countries but threats exist.”
Sweden remained a neutral country during the World War II and has not been at war for 200 years. But the pamphlet warns the populace not to become complacent.
“If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false,” the pamphlet says in a statement highlighted by a red background.
The pamphlet is prompted partly by the “security situation in our neighborhood,” meaning the Baltic area, a Civil Contingencies Agency spokesman told CNN in January 2018.
The pamphlet’s republication comes as the security debate on whether Sweden will join NATO has intensified following alleged Russian violations of Swedish airspace and territorial waters. Sweden is not a member of NATO, but it has contributed to NATO-led operations and enjoys bilateral ties with the alliance through the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.
Sweden has been investing heavily in its defense strategy across the country, reintroducing conscription and also positioning troops on the strategically important island of Gotland.
The country suspended conscription in 2010 and instead adopted a recruitment system which relied on volunteers.
But it changed tack in March 2017, announcing conscription would return in 2018.
The decision to boost defense spending by $720 million over five years was taken in February 2015 – but Sweden is lacking suitable numbers for its defense forces.
According to government figures provided in March, the armed forces were 1,000 troops short in terms of full-time squad leaders, solders and sailors.
The plan aims to ensure there are 6,000 full-time members serving with 10,000 available on a part-time basis.
In May 2017 Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told CNN: “The Russian regime has showed they are ready to use military powers to fulfill political goals.”
The pamphlets will be distributed in 13 different languages between May 28 and June 2 during Sweden’s Emergency Preparedness Week.