Skip to comments.Young Swedes lack knowledge about communism
Posted on 05/09/2007 1:25:37 PM PDT by WesternCulture
Less than fifteen years after the last Soviet troops pulled out of the Baltic States, a new survey has shown that young Swedes are still in the dark about the fate of its neighbours behind the Iron Curtain.
A poll carried out by Demoskop on behalf of the Organization for Information on Communism (Föreningen för upplysning om kommunismen - UOK) found that 90 percent of Swedes between the ages of 15 and 20 had never heard of the Gulag. This can be contrasted with the 95 percent who knew of Auschwitz.
"Unfortunately we were not at all surprised by the findings," Ander Hjemdahl, the founder of UOK, told The Local.
"We had a strong hunch that this would be the case having spent a few years travelling around to various schools," he added.
Of the 1004 young Swedes involved in the nationwide poll, 43 percent believed that communist regimes had claimed less than one million lives. A fifth of those surveyed put the death toll at under ten thousand. The actual figure is estimated at around 100 million.
The poll also found that 40 percent of young Swedes believed that communism contributed to increased prosperity in the world; 22 percent considered communism a democratic form of government; 82 percent did not regard Belarus as a dictatorship.
This information gap has roots that date back many years, according to Anders Hjemdahl.
"There were strategic reasons. For example, I think the Social Democrats only won one absolute majority in the post-war years. Therefore they had to rely on the support of smaller parties, one of which was the communist party.
"Another reason is that a large majority of Swedish journalists are left-wingers, many of them quite far left," he said.
Hjemdahl speculates that some historical ignorance may also be explained by the fact that Sweden accepted Stalin's takeover of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
"Sweden expressed its de jure recognition of the Soviet Union's World War II annexation of the Baltic States. Nazi Germany and Franco's Spain were the other countries to grant such strong recognition," he said.
The organization has provoked a strong reaction in the few short hours it published its findings in Dagens Nyheter.
"We have had lots of responses over the course of the morning. Some aggressive communists have called us to voice their opinions.
"But we also had two victims of communism crying on the phone, explaining that they had waited fifty years for this," said Hjemdahl.
He also added that the organization has plans to make its effort international and is currently working on translating its material into English.
Honorary members and contributors to UOK include former Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar, Latvia's EU Commissioner Sandra Kalniete and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.
God I hope they don’t poll our public schools (gulp) - they would probably find results similar to Sweden.
And the Europeans call us isolated and ignorant of the world around us.... The swedes take the cake.
But once it does...look out!!!
I recall O'Reilly had a poll of college freshmen......somewhere in the neighborhooh of 68% could NOT name who America fought in World War II.
But, but, but... I thought Swedes were among the most educated in the world. ...well, says the Euro Peon Union anyway.
- In the whole of the Western World (except the newly liberated parts of Eastern Europe) the result would probably be about the same.
Outside the Western World (including Russia) a lot of people are even LESS aware of what crimes the enemies of democracy and freedom have committed throughout history. In India, for instance, even people with university education don’t know much about Hitler, WWII or the Holocaust - and this nation, India, alone houses one sixth of the world’s population...
Numbers like these sound like the result of a deliberate effort to whitewash history.
3000+ years of Indian history is too lengthy to accomodate world history to a satisfactory level. Of a 400-page history text-book, perhaps about 20 would have been devoted to 20th Century world history(compared to the unending volumes regarding Indian independence and the politics of the time). And since the bulk of it comes towards the end, most students tend to skip it, so as to rely on the bulk of the rest to score in exams. The availability of question choices in the final examinations also encourage this.
I am afraid you are right, Phoenix. Here in Europe most if not all MSM are clearly leaned towards the left. Such ignorance is well prepared by them and then inoculated into the public.
A Spanish Defence Forces report this week affirmed that Europe is rapidly loosing importance in the world and not even being able to tackle the most urgent problems, such as terrorism.
BTW, the only leaders that seem able to change this situation were both right wing: German Chancellor Merkel and Elected French President Sarkozy.
I don’t know which word you use in English to describe Europe’s evolution in the last 50 years: dive or plunge?
- As a Swede, I’d like say we are well educated in areas like international politics, languages, mathematics, economics and most scientific and technological domains of knowledge.
The subject of History, however, has had a weak position in Swedish education compared to several other European countries for large parts of the 20th century (especially in the period of 1960-1990 (when Socialism was at its height in Sweden).
During the last 20 years or so, public interest for History has increased substantially and in many ways, History education has improved. In this particular case (Communist crimes against Humanity) however, there’s obviously still lots of work to be done.
- Most people on Earth have a history that goes back thousands of years.
Countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden are much older nations than, for instance, India and our civilizations are also thousands of years old (although the Vikings didn’t develop a literature of their own until the era called THE ‘Viking age’, roughly 750-1000 AD), but how could this allow us to forget about neither Nazism or Pol Pot.
According to the logic of your post, it’s okay if people in Greece, Italy and India forget about Stalin and Hitler while Americans, on the other hand, ought to become experts in this field.
You can bet they all know about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But not the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, etc.
Do you think it is any different in this country?
Who hasn’t heard of McCarthyism? Who has heard of Alger Hiss?
McCarthy was a U.S. Senator who was mostly right even if he did push things a bit far. The communist threat he was concerned with was real.
Alger Hiss was an ultra-liberal and a Soviet Spy. The Left denied that for over 40 years but the Soviet archives that were opened in 1992 proved his guilt. You are not going to learn that in a U.S. classroom these days.
I don’t think so. I believe they’d be much worse.
Not surprising, and if things continue as they are, this will be true in the US soon enough...
I want to clarify that it was not my opinion earlier, but a reason for the negligence of Nazi/Communist history.
Another reason would be the easier load on teachers to be able to teach old history, things too far out into the past, than to teach the complex dynamics that lead to WWI and WW2 and the Cold War, etc. I would think this isn’t just unique to India, but the rest of the world, on the whole... Teachers Unions, perhaps?
Oh, please. Spare me. Most Americans have very little knowledge about the USSR.
I agree with those who post that a similar survey in the U.S. would yield similar results.
Please see Post 14
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