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Volume 20

Contemporary European History

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Ambassadors of Realpolitik

Sweden, the CSCE, and the Cold War

Aryo Makko

300 pages, 4 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-284-5 $130.00/£92.00 Hb Published (November 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-285-2 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Buy the ebook from these vendors


“Succinctly and vigorously written and extensively annotated, this book represents a substantial contribution to the new international history. – Highly Recommended.” · Choice

Ambassadors of Realpolitik is an equally ambitious and insightful work that adds a hitherto neglected component to the well researched history of the Cold War.” · H-Soz-Kult

“This book is the first to go behind the scenes for a full and detailed account of Sweden’s paradoxical foreign policy in the era of the CSCE. A brilliant and original analysis drawing on valuable new archival material.” · Richard Davy, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford


During the Cold War, Sweden actively cultivated a reputation as the “conscience of the world,” working to build bridges between East and West and embracing a nominal commitment to international solidarity. This groundbreaking study explores the tension between realism and idealism in Swedish diplomacy during a key episode in Cold War history: the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, culminating in the 1975 Helsinki Accords. Through careful analysis of new evidence, it offers a compelling counternarrative of this period, showing that Sweden strategically ignored human rights violations in Eastern Europe and the nonaligned states in its pursuit of national interests.

Aryo Makko is Associate Professor of History at Stockholm University and has been a visiting fellow at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, the University of Oxford and Harvard University. He was selected as a Pro Futura Scientia fellow by the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) in 2016. His work has appeared in the Journal of Cold War Studies and Diplomacy & Statecraft, among others.

Subject: Postwar History
Area: Northern Europe




Chapter 1. 1945-1969: Sweden and Europe in a Changing World
Chapter 2. 1969–1971: Doubting Détente
Chapter 3. 1971–1972: Assuming the Role of the Realist
Chapter 4. 1972–1973: Engaging in the Dipoli Tea Party
Chapter 5. 1973-1975: Making the Helsinki Final Act


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