Subs and PSYOPs: The 1982 Swedish Submarine Intrusions

Journal article

Tunander, Ola (2013) Subs and PSYOPs: The 1982 Swedish Submarine Intrusions, Intelligence and National Security 28 (2): 252–281.

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In the 1980s, the Soviet Union was believed to have targeted Sweden by sending submarines into Swedish archipelagos and naval bases, which forced Prime Minister Olof Palme to terminate his ambitious foreign policy. The ‘imminent Soviet threat’ changed Swedish public opinion drastically. Twenty years later, statements made by the responsible US and UK leaders, including then US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and then UK Navy Minister Keith Speed, show that these operations were run by US and British submarines testing Swedish coastal defences. Then US Secretary of Navy John Lehman and the Swedish Secretary of the Submarine Inquiry, Mathias Mossberg, indicate that these operations were also deception operations and psychological operations. Swedish former defence ministers have said that ‘it was wrong to point to the Soviet Union’, indicating that the more visible submarines may have been from the West. Ralf Lillbacka's article in Intelligence and National Security in 2010 does not take this information into consideration. The technical evidence we now have is proof of Western submarines operating in Swedish archipelagos. This evidence confirms the statements made by responsible leaders.

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