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Erlander, Tage (1901–85) Prime Minister of Sweden (1946–69).

Subject History

Place Scandinavia » Sweden

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


The son of a schoolteacher, he was active in the Social Democratic Party while a student at the University of Lund. He entered the Riksdag (parliament) in 1933, was a junior minister from 1938–44 and in the cabinet from 1944–6 as Education Minister, extending compulsory education to nine years and expanding higher education. In 1946 he was chosen as party leader and Prime Minister. Industrious and pragmatic, he gained the respect of nearly all Swedes and was largely responsible for Sweden's welfare state . Its benefits (old age pensions, medical care, child allowances, rent subsidies) were available to all, not simply the poor and were widely supported. His belief in consensus led to his style of government being called ‘Harpsund democracy’, after his country estate, where he consulted leaders of all sections of society. Reforms such as a unicameral legislature and generous foreign aid were carried out with the co-operation of other parties. Erlander greatly valued Sweden's neutrality and therefore joined EFTA in 1959 rather than the EEC, because of the latter's close ties with nato . He tolerated the attacks of his protégé, Olof palme , on American policy in the vietnam war , but in retirement sought to restore good relations with the US. Politics and Markets: The Social Democratic Road to Power , ( 1985 ). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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