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The assassination of Olof Palme Prime Minister of Sweden

Updated on January 1, 2013
Olof Palme- Prime Minister of Sweden
Olof Palme- Prime Minister of Sweden | Source


Sven Olof Joachim Palme became head of the youth section of the Swedish Social Democratic Party in 1955 when he was aged 28 years. His political career took off in 1958 when he was elected as a member of parliament and in 1963 he became a member of Sweden's ruling cabinet.

Palme was Prime Minister of Sweden from 1st October 1969 until October 1976 when his party lost power because of plans to raise taxes to pay for increases in welfare benefits.

Palme's career was marked by the adoption of unpopular policies such as against the involvement of the United States in Vietnam, nuclear weapons and the Spanish under Franco, and for his support for sanctions against South Africa and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.


Palme did not affect the trappings of a Prime Minister, having returned to the post in 1982. He would walk the streets with his wife and this is what they did on the night of the 28th February 1986 when he and his wife went to the cinema. As they walked home from the cinema in Stockholm a gunman shot Palme in the back outside a pen shop. The time was 11:21 pm. It was and still is unheard of for any leader to walk the streets like this. Although help was at hand the Prime Minister was dead by 12:06am. Mrs Palme had been injured but not so seriously and she subsequently recovered.

The exact place of the murder is where the three girls, to the right of the Kreatima sign, are standing. The killer ran into Tunnelgatan (between Kreatima and the T-sign)
The exact place of the murder is where the three girls, to the right of the Kreatima sign, are standing. The killer ran into Tunnelgatan (between Kreatima and the T-sign) | Source


After the shooting a reward of $5 million was offered for information leading to the capture and conviction of Palme's killer. No one came forward.

A number of names appeared in the frame but in December 1988 an alcoholic Christer Pettersson was picked up on an ID parade by Mrs Palme. Pettersson was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder but was released in 1989 as the conviction was deemed to be unsafe. Pettersson later made a "confession" to a Swedish writer Gert Fykling in 2001 which he later retracted. There have been over 130 confessions to the murder but none with any evidence attached!

Pettersson died on 29th September 2004 in Stockholm of brain hemorrhaging and organ failure.

Conspiracy theorists argue that Palme was murdered by either the CIA or the Russians because he was so vocal in his opposition to their foreign policies

The murder weapon was never found.


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    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 6 years ago

      Interesting hub.

      I remember very clearly the assassination of Prime Minister Palme, having previously read a great deal about him (I had even drawn his portrait). It seemed to provided for a whole industry of conspiracy theories in a country where the political culture usually revolves around consensus and even silence, rather than overt conspiracy talk and dissent.

      His sudden disappearance from the scene was a seminal moment of Sweden's history and a psychological benchmark in world affairs.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      DAVID99999-thanks for dropping in. dear reader- take the opportunity to read Davids hub it has good information on Palme's life

    • profile image

      David99999 6 years ago

      Well done! Be sure to check out my hub called, "Who Was Olof Palme?"

    • Rob Hanlon profile image

      Rob Hanlon 7 years ago from Epicentre of everywhere

      I never knew about this - very interesting Hub. Well done.