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Who knew WWII neutral Sweden had so much going on?!

Pat DiGeorge did an extensive amount of research to pull together the true story of her parent’s experience in neutral Sweden during WWII in Liberty Lady: A True Story of Love and Espionage in WWII Sweden

Excerpt from 1st Lt. Herman Allen, bombardier of Liberty Lady, writing about mission 5 on 31 December 1943:

There are really no words to describe what one goes through each time he hits the air. It leaves its mark, its sear, and only God Himself knows the price eventually to be paid. All that matters is to have faith in Him, and in the end it will prove itself. I still remember what we once said, to the effect that as long as we do our best to the utmost of our ability that is the most that can be expected. Is is our own mind, our own conscience we have to live with, and there lies the story.

Her father began his involvement as a bombardier executing raids over Germany, later to be interned in neutral Sweden after an emergency landing. He went on to meet Hedy, his future wife, while they both worked at the OSS (later to evolve into the CIA).

Sweden during WWII was a fascinating hotbed of activity on all sides.

Because of its neutrality, wartime Sweden had quickly become a natural spot for clandestine activities. Many countries maintained legations there including the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Norway, Italy, China and Japan. In additional to these diplomatic centers, most countries set up covert intelligence operations, all trying to learn each other’s secrets.

Representatives from the belligerent nations traveled back and forth, stayed in the same hotels and ate side by side in the restaurants. Wartime Stockholm has been described as the “Casablanca of the North,” with a social scene right out of Rick’s Cafe in the legendary 1943 movie. Discreet conversations, off-the-cuff questions, eavesdropping – all had the same purpose, to gather useful information and pass it along.

In preparation for the Allied invasion on the beaches of France, did you know:

One false notion transmitted to the Germans was that the Allies would first send forces to Norway, and then the main attack would come later at Pas-de-Calais, the shortest route across the English Channel. This location was where most of the German high command thought the invasion would take place.

The OSS was disbanded effective October 1, 1945. William Donovan gave his staff a very complimentary sendoff:

We have come to the end of an unusual experiment. This experiment was to determine whether a group of Americans constituting a cross section of racial origins, of abilities, temperaments and talents could meet and risk an encounter with the long-established and well-trained enemy organizations… You can go with the assurance that you have made a beginning in showing the people of America that only by decisions of national policy based upon accurate information can we have the chance of a peace that will endure.

This was a page-turner for me. I love learning about history, and had no idea of the critical role Sweden played in their neutrality.