The end of war and the beginning of peace. Demobilisation in the Northen part of Sweden after the Finnish War of 1808–1809
Demobilisation of armed forces after a war is the first step towards peace. The article discusses what demobilisation entailed in relation to wars and ensuing periods of peace during the period 1600–1820 and provides a case study of the demobilisation of troops in the north of Sweden after the Finish War of 1808–1809 that demonstrates what demobilisation meant in both military and civilian terms. Between September 1809 and March 1810 6 000 soldiers were demobilised. The local civil society was very much involved in the process and local administrators, burghers and peasants made demobilisation possible. Civil society agents took part in the transportation of troops and military equipment and in the dismantling of war hospitals and military supply magazines. Demobilising the troops in the north of Sweden in 1809 went quickly compared to other early modern demobilisations.
The case study allows for two general conclusions. Firstly, it is important to pay attention to the civilian-military relation when studying the process of demobilisation. Demobilisation was a civilian concern just as much as a military process. Secondly, a model for the transition from war to peace should include an initial shorter acute phase of demobilisation followed by a more thorough phase of reconstruction of the society.
military history, demobilisation, Finnish War 1808–09, war and society, peace crisis