Portraits of Six Exceptional Twentieth Century Premiers
Chapter 6 The Internationalist: Olof Palme of Sweden (1969–1976, 1982–1986) 209
CHAPTER SIX The Internationalist: Olof Palme of Sweden (1969–1976, 1982–1986) Olof Palme liked to live as ordinary a life as it was possible for a prime minister to do. So on the morning of 28 February 1986 he played tennis for an hour, and then sat down to write letters – one to a boy who wanted to know the premier’s favourite ice-hockey players. In the afternoon he gave an interview to a newspaper correspondent, making a statement on what had become one of his major concerns – nuclear disarmament: ‘Let us believe’, he said, ‘in a mutual and verifiable ban on nuclear weapons tests. Such a ban would provide the opportunity and time for negotiation and ref lec- tion. Obviously, if all nuclear tests are stopped, we shall live in a safer world’. That evening he planned a quiet stay at home. But his son, Mårten, called to suggest that Palme and Lisbet, his wife, join him and his girlfriend at a movie, The Mozart Brothers. Palme and Lisbet duly went, unaccompanied, taking the local train. This was Palme’s style – no cavalcades, no outriders, not even a bodyguard. Walking home after the movie he was shot dead at close range, by an assassin, who has still not been identified or found to this day. That the prime minister should have been walking a city street unguarded, late at night, was a source of amazement to the rest of the world. 210 CHAPTER SIX This had been Palme’s own...
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