During World War II, Norway was occupied by
Nazi Germany. The difficult experiences of the war
contributed to Norway joining NATO in 1949. The question
of joining the EC (later the EU) became controversial
and in two referendums the Norwegians have refused to
join. Since the 1970s, oil and natural gas extraction
has gradually transformed Norway from a fishing and
smallholder nation to one of the world's richest
Norway declared itself neutral in the outbreak of
World War II in 1939. However, both Germany and the
Western powers had plans to occupy parts of the country
to gain control of the ore transport from Narvik's port.
The Germans first invaded and invaded both Denmark and
Norway on April 9, 1940.
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Norway. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
While the Danes left without a fight, the Norwegian
government, with King Haakon and Prime Minister Johan
Nygaarsvold, decided to defend the country despite an
almost hopeless military starting position. The aid from
the West was insufficient and the Norwegians were soon
forced to surrender. On June 1 of that year, the state
leadership left Norway and settled in London.
An administrative council ruled the country until
September 1940, when the German National Commissioner
Terboven declared the king deposed. He dissolved the
council and appointed 13 "commissary ministers". From
1942, they formed a Nazi sound government under Vidkun
Quisling, the leader of the Norwegian National Socialist
Party National Assembly.
However, the Norwegian people resisted. A resistance
movement, the home front, was formed and carried out,
among other things, industrial sabotage. As a result,
the Germans tightened the occupation policy. About 500
Norwegians were executed by the Germans, about 1,500
died in prisons, while around 40,000 were sent to
concentration camps in various rounds and over 35,000
Norwegians fled to Sweden. The Nazi repression helped to
weld the government of London and the resistance
movement in Norway. The Germans in Norway surrendered on
May 7, 1945, the king and the ministers returned home a
month later and a unifying government was formed.
After the end of the war, about 46,000 people were
convicted of treason and about 18,000 of them received
prison sentences. Thirty death sentences were issued
over German and Norwegian war criminals, of which 25
were executed. One of the executed was Vidkun Quisling.
The EC / EU issue divides the country
In the fall of 1945, the Labor Party for the first
time gained its own majority in the parliament and
formed a government under Einar Gerharden's leadership.
In 1949, Norway joined the Atlantic Pact (NATO) and
became a member of the Nordic Council in 1952. Seven
years later, Norway joined and founded the free trade
In the post-war years, domestic policy was dominated
by the question of how the country's economic growth
would be distributed. The issue of membership of the EC
(the European Community, now the EU) was also
conflicted. After the UK had decided to apply for EC
membership, Norway also began to prepare for EC
accession. However, there was considerable disagreement
about the form of connection. Center Party Per Borten's
coalition government, which took office in 1965, split
on the issue and was forced to resign in 1971.
The Labor Party took over under Prime Minister
Tryggve Bratteli but did not gain the people's
confidence in their EC-friendly policy. In the 1972
referendum, 54 percent said no to Norwegian EC
membership. The debate was exhausting and the divide
deep. The EC resistance was strongest in the north and
was supported by farmers, fishermen and large trade
union groups, while supporters dominated in the Oslo
The crack went straight through several lots. Left's
EC supporters broke out and formed the Liberal People's
Party, while the Labor Party government resigned after
the vote and was succeeded by a bourgeois coalition
Oil boom - and oil crisis
The Labor Party returned after the parliamentary
elections in 1973 and ruled the decade out. In 1981,
Prime Minister Odvar Nordli was succeeded by Gro Harlem
Brundtland, who became Norway and the Nordic region's
first female head of government. However, in the
election that year, Høyre won great success and was able
to form a coalition government with Kåre Willoch as
When Norway began extracting oil from the North Sea
in the 1970s, politicians intended to use the proceeds
for investment. But the new wealth aroused people's
expectations and the government increased state spending
through social reforms, sparsely populated and
agricultural support, and employment measures.
After a number of good years with high domestic
consumption, oil prices dropped significantly in the
mid-1980s. When income fell rapidly, the government was
forced to implement a number of measures: the krona was
devalued and a austerity policy was introduced.
Unemployment soared at the same time as a major banking
crisis ensued. In 1986, the government's austerity
package was rejected by the parliament and Kåre
Willoch's coalition was allowed to resign. A minority
government under the Labor Party leader Brundtland took
over the helm.
After the 1989 elections, a bourgeois government
coalition was again formed. However, it fell apart the
following year due to disagreement over Norway's line in
the negotiations with the EC on an EEA agreement (which
would give the EFTA countries access to the EC internal
market). Brundtland took over the prime minister's post
at the head of a social democratic minority government.
Criticism against Stoltenberg's government
In 1992, the Storting approved Norway's accession to
the EEA Agreement and the same year decided that the
country should apply for membership of the EC / EU. As a
result, the Center Party achieved great success in the
1993 parliamentary elections through its EU opposition.
In the 1994 referendum, 53 percent of Norwegians said no
to EU membership. Despite the defeat of the Yes side,
Brundtland ruled on but she resigned for personal
reasons in 1996. New Prime Minister became Thorbjørn
Jagland, who has been the leader of the Labor Party for
a few years.
Despite an economic upturn from 1993 with strong
growth for several years, the 1997 parliamentary
election was a disappointment for the Labor Party.
Before the election, Jagland promised to surrender the
government power if the party got worse results than
1993. So it was, despite the fact that the Labor Party
was still the largest with about 35 percent of the vote.
The Christian People's Party, on the other hand, was
strong in the elections and could form a minority
government together with the other two central parties
Venstre and the Center Party.
The Prime Minister became the Christian Democratic
Party leader Kjell Magne Bondevik. He and the government
resigned in 2000 after the government coalition was
voted down in the parliament by the Labor Party, the
Progress Party and the Right. These, contrary to the
government's plans, wanted to build gas power plants
without waiting for new environmentally friendly
With the popular Jens Stoltenberg as prime minister
and the party leader Jagland as foreign minister, the
Labor Party formed its own minority government. The
problems soon settled. LO strikes and wage increases
were followed by unpopular budget cuts. The Nationalist
and Immigration Critical Progress Party took advantage
of the general dissatisfaction and demanded more oil
money for health care, schooling and care. In the
opinion, the party occasionally spoke about the Labor
Party, whose leaders received internal criticism for
their EU-friendly attitude, for the plans for partial
privatization of both the oil industry and health care
and for its tax policy.
Norway receives a red-green government
In the 2001 parliamentary election, the Labor Party
made its worst result in nearly eight decades. The
election's big winner became the Høyre and the Socialist
Left Party, a result that made it difficult to form
government. Kjell Magne Bondevik negotiated a minority
government with his own Christian People's Party as well
as Høyre and Venstre. It became dependent on the
Progress Party's support and forced a number of
The Labor Party, in turn, suffered from internal
contradictions. In 2002, Thorbjørn Jagland resigned as
party leader in favor of Stoltenberg, which gave the
party success in public opinion. The Socialist Left
Party also strengthened its stance with harsh criticism
of the US-led Iraq war in 2003. On the other extreme,
the Progress Party emerged.
In the 2005 parliamentary election, the Labor Party
won a convincing victory with 33 percent of the vote
compared to 24 percent in the previous election. It laid
the groundwork for a red-green majority, despite the
Socialist Left Party backing some, while the Center
Party increased slightly. The Progress Party became
Norway's second largest party with 22 percent of the
vote, while Høyre and Prime Minister Bondevik's
Christian People's Party declined sharply.
Thus, Stoltenberg was able to form Norway's first
red-green coalition with the Labor Party, the Socialist
Left Party and the Center Party. There was relative
consensus on welfare policy, but on several issues there
were contradictions that weakened the coalition. At the
same time, the opposition was successful in public
opinion, especially the Progress Party. Some analysts
felt that the party's critical attitude towards
immigration influenced the other parties to get a
tighter stance in asylum policy.
In the parliamentary elections in September 2009, the
government coalition between the Labor Party, the
Socialist Left Party and the Center Party Party got
overweight and could rule further. The government was
praised for its solid way of managing the country
through the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 (see
The worst massacre of modern times
On July 22, 2011, the Norwegian nation was shaken by
the worst acts of violence in modern times. Right-wing
extremist Anders Behring Breivik murdered eight people
in a blast attack in the Oslo government district and
shot almost two hours later to the death of 77 people,
the majority of teenagers, on the island of Utøya where
the Labor Party's youth union had gathered for
traditional summer camps. Breivik, a former member of
the Progress Party, wished to hurt the Labor Party,
which he believed had failed Norway through "mass
imports of Muslims".
Stoltenberg immediately explained that Norway's
response to the violence would be more openness, more
democracy and more humanity. The political youth unions
received a stream of new members. Stoltenberg was
acclaimed for showing both solidity and compassion in
Shortly after the massacre, the Labor Party received
its highest opinion support in twelve years, while the
Progress Party backed down. In local elections in
September 2011, the Progress Party lost more than a
third of its voters, while Høyre went ahead strongly.
The Labor Party remained the largest party.
The shock and grief after the terrorist attacks
reinforced the sense of community in Norwegian society.
The prosecutor's detailed description of the massacre at
Utøya in combination with Breivik's chilly behavior made
the trial in spring 2012 painful for those affected.
Breivik was sentenced in August of that year to the most
severe sentence of the law - 21 years in prison with the
possibility of extension five years at a time as long as
the convicted person is considered a danger to society.
A government-appointed investigation into the
police's handling of the violence in Oslo and Utøya was
published in August 2012. It pointed to a number of
shortcomings. The police could have arrested the
perpetrator earlier, and the attack in the government
district could have been prevented if already existing
security regulations had been followed. As a result of
the sharp criticism, the country's highest police chief