En svensk tiger

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The famous propaganda poster warned Swedes to be wary of speaking.

En svensk tiger was a slogan and an image that became part of a propaganda campaign in Sweden during World War II, aiming to prevent espionage by encouraging secrecy.

Explanation[edit]

In Swedish, svensk can mean both the adjective "Swedish" and the noun "Swede" while tiger can mean either the noun for the animal or the present tense of the verb tiga ("to keep silent"), giving the poster the double meaning "a Swedish tiger" or "a Swede keeps silent". The phrase is comparable in use to "loose lips sink ships" in the United States.

Commission and use[edit]

The famous poster for the propaganda campaign was created by Bertil Almqvist in 1941, commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Information (Swedish: Statens informationsstyrelse, SIS). The poster became the main slogan of the Vaksamhetskampanjen (Swedish Vigilance Campaign) that was started in the same year to encourage secrecy about information that may damage Swedish military defence.

Legal battle[edit]

Upon Almqvist's death in 1972, the copyright of the poster/logo was transferred to the Beredskapsmuseet (Military Preparedness Museum). After eleven years of legal battle, the Swedish Armed Forces, who had been using the image without permission, paid SEK 400 000 in damages to the copyright owners in 2008.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TT. "Tvisten om En svensk tiger är över". Aftonbladet 24 september 2008. Läst 24 september 2008.