Sweden has not gone to war with another country for over two centuries, but that hasn’t stopped the government from reissuing an emergency manual from World War II that advises citizens on how best to cope with hypothetical hostilities.
The newly updated 20-page pamphlet, entitled Om krisen eller kriget kommer (‘If crisis or war comes”), offers strategies for handling everything from cyber attacks and terrorism to climate change, food shortages and fake news.
“What would you do if your everyday life was turned upside down?” the English language version of the manual begins.
Since supplies could run low during a crisis, the leaflet provides checklists of what to stock up on, including mineral water, wet wipes and tinned hummus. It also offers tips on where to find bomb shelters, what to do without access to ATMs, cellphones or the internet, and how to spot propaganda.
“Although Sweden is safer than many other countries, there are still threats to our security and independence,” the brochure says. “If you are prepared, you are contributing to improving the ability of the country as a whole to cope with a major strain.”
The illustrated instructions went online Monday and are being sent to all 4.8 million households in the country in the first such public awareness campaign since 1961. The handbook was last updated for government officials’ use during the Cold War, according to the Guardian.
The newly minted pamphlets do not specify an attacker, but their release comes amid escalating security concerns following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Sweden has accused Moscow of repeatedly infringing on its airspace and territorial waters — claims the Kremlin dismisses as “Russiaphobia.”
Sweden began increasing its military spending in 2016, reversing years of cuts. It also reinstated the military draft last year, citing Russian assertiveness as one of the justifications, and is considering joining NATO.
In the event of a “heightened state of alert,” the pamphlet emphasizes the expectation that everyone can be marshaled for Sweden’s “total defense.”
“If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up,” the publication reads. “All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false.”
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