"The defence forces of Sweden in 1940 weren’t stellar, but still stronger than Norway and in particular than Denmark," Carl Bildt said. "Had [Adolf] Hitler decided to invade Sweden it would have been a fight."
Sweden's former prime minister Carl Bildt has angered neighbours Norway and Denmark by questioning how much resistance they put up to Adolf Hitler.
Carl Bildt, who led Sweden from 1991 to 1994, caused the controversy with a tweet, marking the 81st anniversary of the invasion of Denmark and Norway.
"The defence forces of Sweden in 1940 weren’t stellar, but still stronger than Norway and in particular than Denmark," Bildt stated.
"Had [Adolf] Hitler decided to invade Sweden it would have been a fight," he added.
The remarks drew strong criticism from both countries, who questioned Sweden's neutrality during World War II.
Former Norwegian footballer Jan Aage Fjortoft retorted that Sweden had allowed Nazi Germany to transport troops and arms through the country to Norway, and had also exported iron ore to Berlin.
"The former Prime Minister of Sweden with this week’s most stupid tweet," Fjortoft said, describing the comments as "embarrassing".
The criticism was echoed on Twitter by Mímir Kristjánsson from Norway's socialist Rødt party.
"Had everyone done as Sweden did during the war, Hitler would have won," added Sylvi Listhaug, deputy leader of Norway’s Progress Party.
"Carl Bildt also demonstrates with a simple message on Twitter why it is completely wrong of Erna Solberg and the Norwegian government to want to downgrade the history subject in upper secondary school."
Bildt served as Sweden's foreign minister between 2006 and 2014 and was the leader of the liberal Moderate party during his time as prime minister.