Per Engdahl

From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Per Engdahl, circa 1950

Per Claes Sven Edvard Engdahl (25 February 1909 – 4 May 1994) was a leading Swedish nationalist and the founder of the nysvenskhet ("new Swedishness") ideology, based on Swedish nationalism and corporatism.



Engdahl began his political career while still a student in Uppsala, advocating a fascist-influenced policy of his own creation which he called nysvenskhet ('new Swedishness'). An attempt was made in 1932 to incorporate his group into the newly formed Nationalsocialistiska folkpartiet of Sven Olov Lindholm (a pro-National Socialist party) although Engdahl resisted their overtures.

As an ideology, nysvenskhet supported a strong Swedish nationalism, corporatism, anti-Semitism and anti-communism. It placed an emphasis on racial nationalism, advocated the Madagascar Plan, and called for the replacement of the existing Swedish parliament with a corporatist body elected on an occupational franchise. The policy overtly rejected National Socialism, instead looking more towards Benito Mussolini for inspiration while also seeking to unify all groups against democracy, whether they were fascist or not. He wrote the first published Swedish biography on Mussolini.

However, he is also known to have praised Hitler. Nonetheless Engdahl also frequently claimed that he followed neither man, arguing that his ideology was purely Swedish in nature, and as such he claimed his inspirations to be Sven Hedin, Adrian Molin and Rudolf Kjellén.

Engdahl founded his own group, Riksförbundet Det nya Sverige, in 1937. Before long he merged this group into the pro-National Socialist National League of Sweden, becoming deputy leader of this organisation. Adopting a policy which he described as nysvenskhet ('new Swedishness') he split from this group in 1941 to lead his own Nysvenska rörelsen (New Swedish Movement).

Before the end of the war his supporters had united in the Svensk Opposition (Swedish Opposition) which also included the supporters of Birger Furugård. The group advocated Swedish entry into World War II on the Axis side and went public with this aim in 1942, but in fact the country stayed neutral.

Post-war activity

After World War II, Engdahl revived Nysvenska rörelsen, publishing a paper, Vägen Framåt ('The Way Forward'), that concerned itself with attacks on communism and capitalism. Changes in the defamation laws in Sweden however meant that he largely had to eliminate the earlier anti-Semitic rhetoric from his writing. Nonetheless his reputation for attacks on the Jews saw him barred from entry into both West Germany and Switzerland. He was one of the contributors of a pro-National Socialist publication, Der Weg, which was published from 1947 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Engdahl also became a leading figure in the European nationalist scene, and was instrumental in setting up the European Social Movement (ESM) in 1951, hosting the meeting in his home base of Malmö. His book Västerlandets Förnyelse, published the same year, was widely read in such circles and was adopted as the chief ideological document of the ESM in 1954. Although this group proved unsuccessful, Engdahl continued to be active in such circles for many years. He presented himself as an electoral candidate in Gothenburg in 1958 and, although unsuccessful, he captured enough votes to deny the Swedish Social Democratic Party the seat.

Engdahl continued to be politically active until well into his old age and was a frequent contributor to the journal Nation Europa. He also served as part of the journal's five man editorial board alongside Hans Oehler, Paul van Tienen, Erik Laerum and Erich Kern.


He died in Malmö aged 85. After his death, some of his personal correspondence was released, revealing that Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, had been a member of Engdahl's groups during the war.

See also

External links