Stockholm university

Aryo Makko

About me

Appointed Professor of History and Director of the Hans Blix Centre for the History of International Relations at Stockholm University, 2020.

Elected to the Young Academy of Sweden, 2017.

Elected as Pro Futura Scientia XI Fellow, 2016, Swedish Collegium of Advanced Study (SCAS).

Associate Professor of History, 2016, Stockholm University.

PhD in History, 2012, Stockholm University.


Research Areas

  • History of International Relations (New Imperialism, Interwar period and Cold War)
  • Political History
  • Contemporary History
  • Migration History and Diaspora 

Current Research

My current main research focus is on the relations between the neutral states of Europe and the Soviet Union between 1960 and the end of the Cold War. This five-year research project is entitled Neutrality and the Kremlin: A Transnational History and conducted within Pro Futura Scientia, a post-doctoral programme for leading research funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences and hosted by the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala. My first book Ambassadors of Realpolitik: Sweden, the CSCE, and the Cold War was published by Berghahn Books (New York/Oxford) in 2016. My second monograph European Small States and the Role of Consuls in the Age of Empire was published by Brill in December 2019. I am currently in the process of completing an edited volume on Soviet-Neutral relations during the Cold War for the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series (together with Mark Kramer and Peter Ruggenthaler). In my other area of interest, migration history and diaspora studies, my latest publication is a chapter on the Assyrian diaspora in Sweden in Bahar Baser & Paul Levin (eds.), Migration from Turkey to Sweden: Integration, Belonging and Transnational Community (London: I.B. Tauris, 2017).


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Connected Oceans: A Festschrift to Leos Müller

    2022. .

    Book (ed)

    This book is a celebration of the illustrious career and the scholarly impact of Professor Leos Müller. Inspired by his work, a truly international group of scholars here present nineteen chapters of original research. This collection represents the tip of an academic iceberg of those inspired by Leos's passion for the global connections which the seas and oceans provide.

    In bringing together archeologists, ethnologists, and historians of various kinds, this book reflects his influence as a colleague, teacher and friend. It also reflects the international nature of Leos's research: these chapters geographically span from Bohemia to Scandinavia, and the Americas to Asia. They include studies on merchant houses and the iron trade; consuls and diplomacy; Sweden's trade links with China, the Mediterranean and the Transoceanic worlds; the emergence of international legal systems and neutrality. The more distasteful issues of slavery and piracy are not overlooked and form components of several chapters. As such, these chapters collectively form key components to the development of global history, a subject which our esteemed colleague holds very dear to his heart. 

    Thereby, in the spirit of Leos Müller's own research, this book illustrates that political history is also economic history, and that maritime history is also global history. Indeed, the collection incontrovertibly demonstrates the links between the disciplines represnted and thus, beyond contention, allow us insights into the Connected Oceans which are at the heart of this volume.

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  • Har neutraliteten nått vägs ände?

    2022. Aryo Makko. Kvartal


    Nu skrivs historien om de senaste tre decenniernas säkerhetspolitik om, samtidigt som teoribildningen om internationella relationer förändras, skriver historieprofessorn Aryo Makko. Frågan är hur länge det kommer att finnas neutrala länder i Europa.

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  • Introduction

    2021. Aryo Makko, Peter Ruggenthaler. The Soviet Union and Cold War Neutrality and Nonalignment in Europe

    Read more about Introduction
  • Old Fears, New Realities: Sweden and the Soviet Union during the Cold War

    2021. Aryo Makko. The Soviet Union and Cold War Neutrality and Nonalignment in Europe

    Read more about Old Fears, New Realities
  • Michael Cotey Morgan, The Final ActThe Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018)

    2020. Aryo Makko. American Historical Review 125 (4), 1458-1459


    Michael Cotey Morgan’s long-anticipated study about the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, The Final Act: The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War, is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand the history of the Cold War. Though not the first in-depth account on the subject, as declared on the book’s cover, it is the most comprehensive one. Morgan’s book is a major accomplishment. It is based on a massive body of original research, including documents from fourteen archives in nine countries—seven on the western and two on the eastern side of the former iron curtain—as well as published documents from even more countries.

    Read more about Michael Cotey Morgan, The Final ActThe Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018)
  • S’éloigner ou rester ensemble: La Scandinavie dans la guerre froide

    2020. Aryo Makko. Guerres Mondiales et Conflits Contemporains (279), 81-95


    Les pays scandinaves, le Danemark, la Norvège et la Suède partagent une histoire commune. Ils sont liés entre eux par la géographie et partagent un patrimoine culturel et linguistique commun. Avant de devenir un État indépendant en 1905, la Norvège a ainsi été unie à ses deux pays voisins pendant plus de cinq siècles - d'abord au Danemark et au XIXe siècle à la Suède. Ayant choisi la neutralité avant la guerre, les décideurs de Copenhague, d'Oslo et de Stockholm voyaient pourtant l'avenir différemment. Après l'échec des négociations sur une union de défense scandinave à la fin des années 1940, les pays prirent donc des chemins différents : Le Danemark et la Norvège - qui tous deux avaient été envahis par les nazis - rejoignirent l'OTAN tandis que la Suède revenait à la politique de neutralité. Cet article examine comment les pays nordiques affrontèrent cette division et réussirent souvent à relever ensemble les défis posés par la division Est-Ouest, la décolonisation ou l'émergence d'une gouvernance mondiale.

    Read more about S’éloigner ou rester ensemble
  • European Small States and the Role of Consuls in the Age of Empire

    2019. Aryo Makko.


    In European Small States and the Role of Consuls in the Age of Empire Aryo Makko argues that Sweden and Norway participated in the New Imperialism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries through consular services. Usually portrayed as nations without an imperial past, Makko demonstrates that their role in the processes of imperialism and colonialism during that period can be understood by including consular afairs and practices of informal imperialism into the analysis. With this, he contributes to our understanding of the role of smaller states in the so-called Age of Empire.

    Read more about European Small States and the Role of Consuls in the Age of Empire
  • Small States, Alliances and the Margins for Manoeuvre in the Cold War: Sweden, Norway and the CSCE

    2019. Aryo Makko. Margins for Manoeuvre in Cold War Europe


    In this chapter, I will be studying the similarities and differences in how Sweden and Norway explored the comparatively far-ranging opportunities that the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) offered to smaller states during the 1970s. The CSCE was unique in that it brought together all European states (except Albania), the United States and Canada in a several-year multilateral conference setting where daily negotiations, limited attention from the broader public and the absence of official minutes of meetings created a particular environment that allowed smaller states to play more significant roles. Cold War historians have developed a growing interest in the CSCE over the last decade. As a result, there has been a flow of publications on individual countries, groups of countries and subjects treated at the conference that have all stressed the significance of the CSCE and its Final Act to the international development in the 1970s and 1980s and to the end of the Cold War. But the approach taken here is innovative in at least two ways. Interestingly, there virtually has not been any historical research on Norway in the CSCE. More importantly, small states in the CSCE have usually been studied as part of either alliance or as part of a group of states outside of the blocs, like the group of neutral and non-aligned countries. Comparing the strategies and policies of two countries as similar as Sweden and Norway, which viewed each other as sister countries (brödrafolk) but belonged to different camps in this context, will generate fresh conclusions and hopefully allow for a valuable contribution to the discussion on the opportunities of smaller states within and outside of the Cold War alliances.

    Read more about Small States, Alliances and the Margins for Manoeuvre in the Cold War
  • Ambassadors of Realpolitik: Sweden, the CSCE, and the Cold War

    2016. Aryo Makko.


    During the Cold War, Sweden actively cultivated a reputation as the “conscience of the world,” working to build bridges between East and West and embracing a nominal commitment to international solidarity. This groundbreaking study explores the tension between realism and idealism in Swedish diplomacy during a key episode in Cold War history—the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, culminating in the 1975 Helsinki Accords. Through careful analysis of new evidence, it offers a compelling counternarrative of this period, showing that Sweden strategically ignored human rights violations in Eastern Europe and the nonaligned states in its pursuit of national interests.

    Read more about Ambassadors of Realpolitik
  • Introduction: Neutrality and Nonalignment in World Politics during the Cold War

    2016. Thomas Fischer, Juhana Aunesluoma, Aryo Makko. Journal of Cold War Studies 18 (4), 4-11


    Over the past two decades, research on Cold War neutrality has advanced rapidly. With the declassification of important archival collections, the image of the four European “classic” neutrals—Austria, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland—has changed considerably. New facets have emerged in the understanding of how neutrality functioned as a part of the Cold War international system. In particular, the importance and connections of neutrality's domestic political and ideational dimensions in foreign policymaking has been stressed in the latest research on Cold War neutrality.

    Read more about Introduction
  • Die Assyrer kommen nach Deutschland

    2015. Aryo Makko. Die Assyrer, 113-116


    Das Buch berichtet von der langen und dramatischen Geschichte der Assyrer: Vom antiken assyrischen Imperium, der Christianisierung, von Verfolgungen und Völkermord, von der Emigration in die westliche Diaspora v. a. nach Deutschland und Schweden. Es erzählt von der Sprache und der Selbstbezeichnung der Assyrer, von den assyrischen Kirchen und weltlichen Organisationen. Es versucht zu erklären, warum sich die Assyrer in verschiedene Gruppen mit verschiedenen Ansichten von Geschichte und Identität differenzieren. 

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  • I främmande hamn: den svenska och svensk-norska konsulstjänsten, 1700–1985

    2015. .

    Book (ed)

    Det svenska konsulatväsendet har en nästan 350 år gammal historia. Sedan mitten av 1600-talet har svenska konsuler placerats i viktiga hamnstäder där de bistod sjömän och köpmän. Konsulerna utgjorde en viktig del av Sveriges utrikesrepresentation. Den stora utrikespolitiken hamnade inte på deras arbetsbord. Istället tog de hand om strandsatta eller sjuka sjömän, sökte lämpliga returlaster och rapporterade hem till Stockholm om det politiska läget, potentiella marknader för svenska varor eller hälsotillståndet i hamnen där de var stationerade. Kopplingen mellan konsulatväsendet och den maritima sektorn under tiden 1700–1985 är uppenbar. Boken I främmande hamn belyser de svenska konsulernas långa historia utifrån tre perspektiv. Det första visar konsulernas ekonomiska betydelse: under 1700- och 1800-talen spelade konsuler en viktig roll för att främja svensk sjöfart och utrikeshandel, inte minst i Sydeuropa och i den atlantiska världen. Det andra lyfter fram konsulernas diplomatiska roll i områden där Sverige saknade egentlig utrikesrepresentation: i Nordafrika under 1700-talet samt i europeiska kolonier och Kina under 1800-talet. Det tredje belyses främst genom bidrag från 1800- och 1900-talen och visar hur konsuler i samarbete med Sjömanskyrkan och andra institutioner verkade för de svenska sjömännens välfärd.

    Read more about I främmande hamn
  • Anden, själen, kroppen: Ett historiskt perspektiv på healing bland Sveriges assyrier

    2014. Aryo Makko. Helig hälsa, 39-50


    Södertälje, år 1992. En nyhet når hela Europa. Bland annat italienska, tyska och engelska massmedier rapporter om den 16 åriga tjejen Samira Hannoch som hade fått syn på ett maronitiskt helgon och även den högsta herre, Jesus Kristus. Tonåringen fick efter sin vision förmågan att hela svårt sjuka med hjälp av olja som rann ur hennes händer. Uppemot 45 000 människor ska ha begett sig på välfärd till en lägenhet i Blombacka samt Mor Afrem kyrkan.

    Texten inleds men en koncis historisk tillbakablick över den orientaliska kristendomens och den syrisk-ortodoxa kyrkans historia. Inledningen är både historik och en kartläggning av specifika traditioner och trosbekännelser som är specifika för denna religiösa grupp och som utgjorde grunden för den enorma effekten denna episod fick. Frågorna som besvaras i texten är hur och varför Samira lyckades vinna människornas förtroende och även åstadkomma en placebo effekt hos ett antal sjuka personer. Den vill också kontrastera mellan gamla traditioners relation till ett modernt och sekulärt samhälle som det svenska genom att avhandla olika teman som Samiras påstådda hälsofrämjande teknik, den offentliga diskussionen kring hennes frånvaro från skolan och den interna kritiken mot henne som speglade en pågående konflikt mellan traditionella och progressiva fraktioner inom den assyriska folkgruppen.

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  • I Imperialismens kölvatten? Ett maritimt perspektiv på stormaktsspelet, kolonialism utan kolonier och den svensk-norska konsulsstaten, 1875–1905: [A maritime perspective on great power politics, imperialism without colonies and Swedish-Norwegian consulship, 1875-1905]

    2014. Aryo Makko. Historisk Tidskrift 134 (3), 499-523


    A maritime perspective on great power politics, imperialism without colonies and Swedish-Norwegian consulship, 1875–1905

    This article investigates the Swedish-Norwegian consular establishment during the age of empires in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It presents preliminary results from an on-going research project, which explores consular archives previously overlooked. The article’s main purpose is to offer a fresh perspective on the relevance of shipping and the role of consuls in the foreign policy of the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway. It departs chronologically and thematically from the so-called Concert of Europe in 1815 and the subsequent expansion of European imperialism in the mid-19th century, and theoretically from theories of informal empire and free trade imperialism. Sweden-Norway could not keep up with the military build-up of the great powers, such as Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia. At the same time, the Nordic union had one of the world’s largest merchant fleets at its command. A growing number of consulates all over the world allowed Swedish and Norwegian manufacturers and merchants a presence that enabled them to participate in and profit from the globalizing economy. At its peak, the small Nordic state commanded over 100 consulates with more than 800 increasingly professional and legally trained consular staff. With growing significance came greater prestige and an increasingly intimate relationship between the diplomatic corps and the consular service. This article suggests that the military superiority of the great powers forced small states such as Sweden-Norway to respond by developing and employing global trade strategies and making them an integral part of their foreign policy.

    Read more about I Imperialismens kölvatten? Ett maritimt perspektiv på stormaktsspelet, kolonialism utan kolonier och den svensk-norska konsulsstaten, 1875–1905
  • Advocates of Realpolitik: Sweden, Europe and the Helsinki Final Act

    2012. Aryo Makko.

    Thesis (Doc)

    Sweden is traditionally portrayed as an active critic and mediator or bridge builder in international politics during the 1960s and 1970s. The activation of Swedish foreign policy, often ascribed to Prime Minister Olof Palme, has been lauded as a transformation from armed isolationism to internationalist solidarity. In this regard, the traditional literature has focused almost exclusively on global affairs whereas the role of European security has been widely ignored.

    This thesis analyzes Sweden’s role in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) and the country’s contribution to the political and diplomatic process leading to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. It argues that Sweden’s foreign policy in the European realm must be integrated in the narrative about Cold War Sweden and its role in international politics during the era of détente.

    It demonstrates that in the European realm, at the heart of the Cold War division, realpolitik thinking prevented Sweden from solidarity with the citizens of Eastern Europe. Sweden reacted reluctantly on the idea of a conference, remained passive during the preparatory phase and never prioritized human rights in Eastern Europe at the conference proper. The reason for this attitude was a general Berührungsangst  (fear of contact) towards Europe among Swedish decision-makers. In the thesis, the paradox between Sweden’s approach to European and global affairs is linked to a specific foreign policy identity and explained within an analytical framework based on role theory. With this, the thesis adds important nuances to the existing account of Sweden and Swedish neutrality policy during the Cold War. 

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  • Discourse, Identity and Politics: A Transnational Approach to Assyrian Identity in the Twentieth Century

    2012. Aryo Makko. The Assyrian Heritage, 297-317


    Since the late nineteenth century, secular thoughts have repeatedly resulted in the formation of an Assyrian national identity among oriental Christian groups referred to as "Chaldeans", "Jacobites" and "Nestorians" in the Ottoman and Persian Empires. Despite the fact that some groups or individuals referred to themselves as descendants of the ancient Assyrians prior to the aforementioned arrival of European-styled Nationalist thinking, the majority identified themselves with the emic term suryoye/suryaye (generally translated as "Syrians") only and held no memory of ancient descent.This article seeks to explore how Assyrian identity construction with its central discourse on ethnic continuity has interplayed with socio-cultural processes and political events and changed over time. It address key factors such as World War I and the Assyrian Genocide, the restructuring of the Middle East during the interwar period, migration and life in Diaspora, secularization and state-supported policies of majority identities. The early period (1895-1960) and first Diaspora in the United States is contrasted with latter developments and the second Diaspora including Sweden and the German-speaking countries in addition to the United States from the 1960s until the present day. Focus is laid on the formation and spread of alternative "national" identities under different historical labels. Ideas of ancient heritage and particularly the belief in ethnic continuity were imitated by internal and external agents of new identities which shared one common feature: denying Assyrian heritage of any kind.The study argues that agents of Assyrian identity have been force to uphold the discourse on cultural, lingual and ethnic continuity as a central feature of their identity doctrine until the present day mainly due to being contested by rivalling concepts and their use of the well-established myth about the complete destruction of the Assyrians in 612 BC.

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  • Introduction

    2012. Aryo Makko. The Assyrian heritage, ix-x


    The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence is a collection of essays discussing Assyrian culture and identity from language, ritual, symbol, and identity perspectives from the ancient world to the modern day. The theoretical interpretations and methodological approaches covered in the book aim to narrate the past, presence and future of the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Assyrian people.

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  • Realistisk idealism: ESK-processen, Olof Palme och kalla kriget

    2012. Aryo Makko. Kalla kriget, 227-235


    Den etablerade forskningen kring svensk utrikespolitik använder sig av beteckningen ”Palmes världssamvete” för att kontrastera övergången från Östen Undéns passiva linje till 1960 och 1970-talens aktiva utrikespolitik. Under ESK-processen agerade Sverige varken aktivt eller solidariskt utan bedrev klassisk realpolitik med stark fokus på nedrustning. De östeuropeiska folkens rättigheter och öde spelade en underordnad roll vilket väcker nya frågor kring den aktiva utrikespolitikens natur och motivering. 

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  • Security First: The Swedish Interest in Confidence and Security Building Measures and Questions of Disarmament

    2012. Aryo Makko. Swedish Disarmament Policy during the Cold War, 13-22


    Sweden has a long-standing record of active involvement in international efforts towards disarmament. In 1932, the Nordic country participated in the World Disarmament Conference. During the Cold War, the Swedish government continued to be keen to contribute to related UN efforts. This article explores Sweden's interest in Confidence (and Security) Building Measures in the context of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and its follow-up process between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s. It argues that Sweden prioritized disarmament, stability, and peace over human rights, change, and individual freedom despite the rise and dominance of a rhetoric of morality in Swedish politics in the 1970s. 

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  • Sweden, Europe, and the Cold War: A Reappraisal

    2012. Aryo Makko. Journal of Cold War Studies 14 (2), 68-97


    Traditionally, Sweden has been portrayed as an active bridge-builder in international politics in the 1960s and 1970s. The country advocated a “third way” toward democratic socialism and greater “justice” in international affairs, but these foreign policy prescriptions were never applied to European affairs. This article examines Sweden's relations with Europe by contrasting European integration with the Cold War. Negotiations on Swedish membership in the European Communities and Swedish policy at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe were influenced by a general Berührungsangst toward Europe, which persisted during the years of détente. Because Swedish decision-makers believed that heavy involvement in European affairs would constrict Sweden's freedom of action, Swedish leaders' moral proclamations were applied exclusively to distant Third World countries rather than the egregious abuses of human rights in the Soviet bloc.

    Read more about Sweden, Europe, and the Cold War
  • The Assyrian heritage: threads of continuity and influence

    2012. .

    Book (ed)

    The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence is a collection of essays discussing Assyrian culture and identity from language, ritual, symbol, and identity perspectives from the ancient world to the modern day. The theoretical interpretations and methodological approaches covered in the book aim to narrate the past, presence and future of the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Assyrian people.

    Read more about The Assyrian heritage
  • Arbitrator in a World of Wars: The League of Nations and the Mosul Dispute, 1924-1925

    2010. Aryo Makko. Diplomacy & Statecraft 21 (4), 631-649


    The League of Nations is primarily remembered for its failures in the 1930s. Indeed, the established perception of its history usually emphasizes weaknesses. Failing to settle the question of which Power should possess the former Ottoman province of Mosul after the First World War, Turkey saw the dispute addressed to the League in summer 1924. Within a short time, a multi-leveled negotiation process that involved a large number of politicians, diplomats, and lawyers was put in motion. Sixteen months and many crises later, the League Council awarded the entire Mosul province to Iraq. The arbitration had been based upon data collected by two enquiry commissions comprising representatives from eight different Powers, the work of both numerous mediators, and a Council sub-committee. Though certainly not perfect, the League's role averted war and renewed disaster.

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  • Multilateralism and the Shaping of an 'Active Foreign Policy': Sweden during the preparatory phase of the CSCE

    2010. Aryo Makko. Scandinavian Journal of History 35 (3), 310-329


    This article deals with the early reactions of Swedish decision-makers and diplomats on the idea and preparations for the convocation of the Conference on Security and Cooperation inEurope (CSCE), mainly during the years 1969–1971. On the basis of recently declassifieddiplomatic sources from the archive of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the study outlines therole of Swedish diplomacy in the preparatory phase of the security conference as part of thewider context of European Neutrality during détente. It is the very first contribution to the historiography of the Helsinki process based on Swedish archival material, and suggeststhat the picture of Sweden’s widely mentioned active foreign policy at that time should befurther scrutinized. It also sheds new light on the paradox between Swedish involvement inEuropean and global politics.

    Read more about Multilateralism and the Shaping of an 'Active Foreign Policy'
  • The Historical Roots of Contemporary Controversies: National Revival and the Assyrian ‘Concept of Unity’

    2010. Aryo Makko. Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies 24 (1), 58-86


    In addition to more traditional labels such as "Assyrian", "Chaldean" and "Syrian" ("Syriac"); emic terms such as Suroye, Suryoye , Süryânî, Suryaye as well as a number of combined designations such as "ChaldoAssyrian" or "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" are currently in use in academic, social and political contexts when reference is made to the Assyrians in the English language. Over the last few decades, debates on differing perceptions of ethnic origin and national identity have dominated the community’s internal discourse. This article suggests that we look for alternative ways to reflect upon the current Assyrian "identity crisis" and argues that it should be understood as the consequence of an uncompleted social process, namely the failure of Assyrian nationalism to evolve into a mass national movement.

    Read more about The Historical Roots of Contemporary Controversies

Show all publications by Aryo Makko at Stockholm University