During the Cold War, Norway was a member of NATO, Sweden was neutral but depended on Western support in the event of a crisis, while Finland's foreign policy priority was to win and retain the Soviet Union's confidence. The purpose of the thesis is to study whether the three small states' different foreign policy choices had consequences for the ways in which the Soviet Union and the USA were depicted in school textbooks for history, geography, and social sciences in the period 1930 to 2004. To this end, a theory derived from small states' strategies to maintain their independence was applied to textbook production.The study demonstrates that there was a link between small state foreign policy and textbooks' accounts of the USA and Soviet Union. Swedish and Norwegian textbooks portray international conflicts from a legalistic perspective, taking the part of small states exposed to superpower aggression such as Vietnam and Afghanistan. In Finnish textbooks, however, an interest in defending small state's rights yielded to the need to demonstrate their goodwill towards the Soviet Union, which was described in far less critical terms than in Swedish and Norwegian textbooks. In time, in the name of neutrality, depictions of the USA also became increasingly uncritical.All three Nordic states had government authorities charged with inspecting and approving school textbooks. Foreign policy's chief influence on textbooks was not effected by direct oversight, however; instead, it was established indirectly by means of the social climate, which determined what was considered politically correct in the three countries, and it was to this that the textbooks' authors adapted their work.Textbooks are often said to be conservative and slow to change, but the thesis shows that in parts they were politically sensitive, rapidly adapting to changes in what society held to be politically correct.
HUMANIORA -- Historia och arkeologi -- Historia (hsv//swe)
HUMANITIES -- History and Archaeology -- History (hsv//eng)
HUMANITIES and RELIGION History and philosophy subjects History subjects History
HUMANIORA och RELIGIONSVETENSKAP Historisk-filosofiska ämnen Historieämnen Historia