© 2016

The Key to Nuclear Restraint

The Swedish Plans to Acquire Nuclear Weapons During the Cold War


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Thomas Jonter
    Pages 1-20
  3. Thomas Jonter
    Pages 125-193
  4. Thomas Jonter
    Pages 195-254
  5. Thomas Jonter
    Pages 255-269
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 271-293

About this book


Why have some nations acquired nuclear weapons while others have refrained from doing so? Most research related to this question has focused on states that have built nuclear weapons, yet little attention has been devoted to countries that have chosen nuclear restraint. This book analyzes Swedish plans to acquire nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Sweden was very close to putting a bomb together in 1960s but, for a number of reasons illuminated in this book, decision makers abandoned those plans and subsequently rose to become one of the most recognized players in the international game of disarmament. Thanks to the recent declassification of essential documentation in Sweden and United States, it is now possible to assemble a comprehensive analysis of the Swedish nuclear weapons program based on primary sources. This book presents that analysis, a unique perspective owing to the fact that nuclear development is a highly secretive activity in most countries – with non-existent or limited access to state archives.


Nuclear weapons Nuclear war Nuclear restraint Disarmament International Sweden Cold War

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of International StudiesStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

About the authors

Thomas Jonter is Director of Stockholm University Graduate School of International Studies, Sweden, and Professor of International Relations at the Department of Economic History. He has been visiting scholar at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Stanford University, and Cornell University. Professor Jonter is also chair of Swedish Pugwash and served as advisor to the Swedish delegation to the 2015 Review Conference to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, at the United Nations in New York.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Key to Nuclear Restraint
  • Book Subtitle The Swedish Plans to Acquire Nuclear Weapons During the Cold War
  • Authors Thomas Jonter
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-58112-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-84532-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-58113-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 293
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Modern History
    History of Modern Europe
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Thomas Jonter has written a wonderful book about Sweden’s interest in, and ultimate renunciation of, nuclear weapons.  He treats the technical, political, and military aspects of the program in depth and with great clarity.  This is a very significant addition not only to the literature on Sweden and its place in the world, but also to our understanding of the history of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament.” (David Holloway, author of Stalin and the Bomb and Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History, Stanford University, USA)

“The author’s analysis of the Swedish military nuclear program and of its abandonment are the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched available […] At a time when nuclear issues and non-proliferation are discussed almost daily by the media, this book is both timely and important. I believe it will remain the standard reference work for the history of the Swedish military nuclear program for quite a long time.” (Leopoldo Nuti, Professor of International History, University of Roma Tre, Italy)