Sweden, Switzerland, whatever…

When the shaken journalist said it was probably best he didn’t answer — seeing as he’s on the clock and all — Alba tried to make a funny and said:

“Be neutral! Be Sweden about it!”

The journalist was a gentleman and too polite to bother correcting her, but we’re not. It’s Switzerland, Jessica. Switzerland.

UPDATE: You commenters are always so gracious. We want to thank you for alerting us to the error in our ways. Sweden was in fact neutral. Let’s hope we make it to Jessica Alba’s political blog!

TMZ

“Last week, Mr. Bill O’Reilly and some really classy sites (i.e.TMZ) insinuated I was dumb by claiming Sweden was a neutral country. I appreciate the fact that he is a news anchor and that gossip sites are inundated with intelligent reporting, but seriously people…it’s so sad to me that you think the only neutral country during WWII was Switzerland. Check out: Wikipedia if you want to see what I was referring to. I appreciate the name calling and the accurate reporting. Keep it up!!”

Well, we can’t argue with Wikipedia. You win, Jess. You’re totally smarter than TMZ.

You also apparently can’t read Wikipedia so let me do it for you:

“Sweden remained officially neutral during World War I and World War II, although its neutrality during World War II has been vigorously debated. Sweden was under German influence for most of the war, as ties to the rest of the world were cut off through blockades. The Swedish government felt that it was in no position to openly contest Germany, and therefore collaborated with Hitler. Swedish volunteers in Nazi SS units were among the first to invade the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Sweden also supplied steel and machined parts to Germany throughout the war. Toward the end of the war however, when the defeat of Germany seemed imminent, Sweden began to play a role in humanitarian efforts and many refugees, among them many Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe, were saved partly because of the Swedish involvement in rescue missions at the internment camps and partly because Sweden served as a haven for refugees, primarily from the Nordic countries and the Baltic states. Nevertheless, internal and external critics have argued that Sweden could have done more to resist the Nazi war effort, even if risking occupation.”

William Shirer elaborates in his epic history, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:

“By transporting fresh troops and war materials by land through Sweden Hitler avoided the risk of having them sunk at sea by the British. In the first six months of the accord, some 140,000 German troops in Norway were exchanged and the German forces there greatly strengthened by supplies. Later, just before the German onslaught on Russia, Sweden permitted the Nazi High Command to transport an entire army division, fully armed, from Norway across Sweden to Finland to be used to attack the Soviet Union. What it had refused the Allies the year before it accorded to Nazi Germany.”

In other words, both Alba and the gossip hacks at TMZ can reasonably make the argument that they’re right. Sweden was technically neutral but allowing Nazi troops passage through their country at critical points during the war while denying the Allies the same luxury because it seemed less dangerous at the time is dubious at best. Flipping sides after the war looked decided – equally dubious. Neutrality does not mean favoring the side that looks like it’s going to win.

But let’s be serious… we all know Alba meant to say Switzerland since that country has become synonymous with neutrality over the years. And what are the chances she even knew which countries were fighting eachother in WWII before her little spat, never mind Sweden’s role? For that matter, what are the chances that the gossip hacks at TMZ knew?

Little to none on both counts. What we have here are two one-legged participants in an ass kicking contest. To top it off, I’ll bet all parties involved voted this past November. Hooray for America.