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The Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country in Northern Europe occupying the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as Jan Mayen and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Norway is a constitutional, hereditary monarchy and a parliamentary representative democracy; it is currently ruled by King Harald V. It is a founding member of the Nordic Union.
After the Third World War, Norway struggled to rebuild their countries following several nuclear attacks, nuclear fallout, and a subsequent short conflict with the Soviet Union in Finnmark. However, the nation survived mainly due to their morale boost created by the popular Norwegian king Olav V and his successor Harald V. On September 26 1990, Norway, along with the surviving Icelandic, Danish, Swedish and Finnish governments, founded the “Nordic Union” comprising of government-controlled territories of Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Svalbard. Since the 1990s, Norway has again experienced rapid economic growth due to rich resources of oil, natural gas, hydroelectric power, forests, minerals, and seafood.
Before the War
After World War II, Norway experienced rapid economic growth, with the first two decades due to the Norwegian shipping and merchant marine and domestic industrialization, and from the early 1970s, a result of exploiting large oil and natural gas deposits that had been discovered in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea.
From 1945 to 1961, the Labour Party held an absolute majority in the parliament. The government, led by prime minister Einar Gerhardsen, embarked on a program inspired by Keynesian economics, emphasizing state financed industrialization, cooperation between trade unions and employers' organizations. Many measures of state control of the economy imposed during the war were continued, although the rationing of dairy products was lifted in 1949, while price control and rationing of housing and cars continued as long as until 1960.
The wartime alliance with Great Britain and the United States was continued in the post-war years. Although pursuing the goal of a socialist economy, the Labour Party distanced itself from the communists (especially after Soviet seizure of power in Czechoslovakia in 1948), and strengthened its foreign policy and defense policy ties with the U.S. Norway received Marshall Plan aid from the United States starting in 1947, joined the OEEC one year later and became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949.
In 1969, the Phillips Petroleum Company discovered petroleum resources at the Ekofisk field west of Norway. In 1973, the Norwegian government founded the State oil company, Statoil. Oil production did not provide net income until the early 1980s because of the large capital investment that was required to establish the country's petroleum industry.
Norway was a founding member of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Two referenda on joining the European Union failed by narrow margins in 1972 and 1994. In 1981, a Conservative government led by Kåre Willoch replaced the Labour Party with a policy of stimulating the stagflated economy with tax cuts, economic liberalization, deregulation of markets, and measures to curb the record-high inflation (13.6% in 1981).
At 01:49 A.M. the Norwegian early warning radars in Bodø detected a large number of Soviet ICBMs approaching the United States flying over the North Pole. This was later confirmed at 02:01 P.M. when the headquarters of NATO's Allied Forces Northern Europe (AFNORTH) at Kolsås camp in Bærum also reported of Soviet ICBMs approaching the United States and the rest of Western Europe.
At 02:15 A.M., Prime Minister Kåre Willoch is summoned to an emergency meeting with King Olav V at the Royal Castle with the rest of the cabinet, including Minister of Defence Anders C. Sjaastad and Army Chief of Staff, General Sven Hauge. The cabinet came to the conclusion that Oslo would most likely be hit shortly, and thus agreed that the Cabinet, the Parliament (Storting) and the Royal Family had to evacuate to Eidsvoll. King Olav, who had suffered a great trauma and collapsed just before the meeting upon learning about the inevitable outbreak of the Third World War, looked according to cabinet members "clearly weakened", and his son claimed that Olav had and would for the rest of his life relive the events of the Second World War, which he himself had experienced.
At 00:58 A.M., the Royal family, the Willoch cabinet and all members of the Norwegian parliament, escorted by troops of His Majesty The King's Guard (Hans Majestet Kongens Garde) were evacuated from Oslo, heading for Eidsvoll, . The quick evacuation had alarmed some inhabitants of Oslo, who also tried to flee the city before. Shortly thereafter, sirens were heard across the city, urging all inhabitants to go for the nearest shelter.
At 1:47 A.M., Oslo was hit by a R-36 (NATO reporting name: SS-9 Scarp) nuclear ICBM, killing around 269,000 inhabitants instantly. Ten minute later, the Norwegian Army was ordered by
Electromagnetic Pulses (or EMP) from airburst weapons destroyed some 70% of the electronics across the Northern Hemisphere. Most radios, televisions, telephones systems, and computers were rendered useless. The initial death toll following the first hours of conflict was estimated at 600,000 people killed in nuclear attacks on Oslo, Bergen as well as Bodø, where the Bodø Main Air Station used by the Norwegian Royal Air Force and the NATO installation CAOC3 was located. However, the air station had remained mostly intact, however all electronics had been damaged, and only 20% of the Norwegian F-16 fighter jets were serviceable.
However, due to the low population density, with the majority of the people living in the rural areas of central, southern and western Norway, the Norwegian people was mostly unaffected by radiation fallout. However, with most communications equipment destroyed, they would for many years live isolated, with the exception of mail deliveries and newspapers.
The government, Royal family and parliament had gathered at the Eidsvoll Building (Norwegian: Eidsvollsbygningen) in Eidsvoll, where the Norwegian constitution had been signed on May 17, 1814. At 05:05 A.M. on September 26, the Eidsvoll Authorization (Norwegian: Eidsvollsfullmakten) was approved unanimously by the Parliament of Norway.
The authorization reads, in translated form:
|“||The Storting authorizes the Government, until the time comes when the Government and the presidency of the Storting is able to confer and assemble the Storting to its next ordinary session, to maintain the interests of the realm and make those decisions and determinations on behalf of the Storting and Government, that are considered needed to maintain the country's security and future.||”|
The Parliament also approved moving the capital to Trondheim, which had not been targeted by Soviet ICBMs. The Parliament would take over the City Hall, while the Royal Family would move to Stiftsgården, the royal residence in Trondheim. King Olav would emphasize the importance of solidarity and cooperation, and urged all political parties to unite in serving their country rather than increase the political tensions. Contact with the Swedish government under Prime Minister Olof Palme was also restored at this time.
As the Willoch government tried to consolidate their power, they were faced with a larger problem.
1983-1984: Soviet-Norwegian War
On October 20, in the confusion caused by the aftermath of Doomsday, the Soviet Army invaded the Northern Norway. It is still not known why the Soviet forces launched the invasion of Northern Norway, but military historians and the Norwegian Army speculates that it is likely that the local Soviet military commanders carried out their orders given in case war broke out between the Warsaw Pact and NATO. 20,000 troops, supported by the Soviet air force, crossed the Soviet-Norwegian border without facing any real resistance until October 24, when they encountered Norwegian soldiers outside of Tana. In the only aerial bombardment of the war, Tupolev Tu-95s bombed Bodø and Tromsø on October 22, but after six of the bombers were shot down by Norwegian F-16s, aerial operations were cancelled for the duration of the war.
The Willoch government, who had ordered full mobilisation in the wake of the nuclear attacks on Doomsday, ordered all Norwegian forces in Northern Norway to Finnmark. All forces in Eastern Finnmark was to withdraw behind the designated defensive line running through Lakselv-Porsangmoen-Kárášjohka.
On November 15, the Soviet forces launched a massive attack on the defensive line, but despite their attempts, they were unable to break through the Norwegian defences. On November 28, elements of the Soviet managed to break through the defences at Lakselv, and were advancing quickly towards Alta, where the entire 6th division, including Army Chief of Staff Gen. had set up their headquarters. However, 36 km east of Lakselv the Soviet T-72 tanks were ambushed by Leopard 1A1N tanks and NM-142 tank hunters, while the motorized infantry were killed or taken prisoners.
With Norwegian ammunition and supplies running dangerously low, they prepared for a final Soviet attack on December 3. However, with the help of nightly raids by Norwegian ski troopers, the Home Guard and local Sami inhabitants, they managed to hamper the Soviet logistic forces behind the Russian front line. This proved vital to fight off the Soviet attack later that day.
On December 10, the Norwegians launched a massive counter offensive against the Soviet forces, and surprisingly managed to push the Soviet forces back over 50 km eastwards from the Alta-Porsangmoen-Kárášjohka line. With limited firepower and the majority of their heavy equipment destroyed, the Norwegian forces' use of winter combat tactics took the Russians by surprise. After ten days, the offensive was halted, and the front lines remained relatively calm for the rest of the war, except from artillery barrages and machine gun fire towards each other's positions.
On January 18, 1984, Norwegian Foreign Minister and the Soviet ambassador in Sweden signed a peace treaty, according to which the Soviet military would retreat back to the Soviet side of the border in Finnmark. The ground war had resulted in 3,520 Soviet soldiers killed, while the Norwegian losses were estimated to be around 1,960 soldiers. The Norwegians had lost 89 tanks and 180 armoured personnel carriers, which amounted to around 70% of all military combat vehicles that had remained in their possession.
However, the devastation of the conventional warfare in the region resulted in a mass emigration from Finnmark and parts of Troms counties to Nordland, Mo i Rana and Trøndelag, leaving only a few remaining populated areas (Narvik, Tromsø and Alta) as well as the Sami minority, who resided in the towns of Karasjok (Kárášjohka), Kautokeino (Guovdageaidnu) and living as nomads with their reindeer herds on Finnmarksvidda.
On May 1, 1984, contact was restored with a Danish government under Prime Minister Poul Schlüter, operating out of the city of Århus.
The period between 1985 and 1990 was marked with extensive hardships for the Norwegian people and the Norwegian economy. The Parliament had gathered around Conservative Prime Minister Kåre Willoch, who continued stimulating the stagflated economy with tax cuts, economic liberalization and other measures to curb the record-high inflation (13.6% in 1981). On some areas, industry was nationalized in order to improve the economic situation in the country.
On March 12, 1985, contact was re-established with the Finnish government under Prime Minister Taisto Kalevi Sorsa, through Swedish channels. Soviet forces had attacked that nation in the aftermath of the strikes as well.
Following the 1986 parliamentary elections, Willoch formed a grand coalition with the Christian People's Party, the Progress Party, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party. The Norwegian Labour Party, although in opposition, was mostly supportive of the actions of the Willoch government, despite being against the tax cuts.
From 1985 to 1988, the economy was mainly based on farming, fisheries and lumber, and the Willoch cabinet struggled with avoiding the budget to slip into a deficit. However, Willoch's economic policies were eventually successful, and the economy was marked with a low but steady economic growth. Willoch's government also increased the production of oil and natural gas, and by 1989 the large capital investment that was required to establish the country's petroleum industry has been paid. From 1989, the oil and gas production would provide a net income to the economy, resulting in high economic growth.
Essential for the political and social survivor of Norway was the royal family. King Olav and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess would travel all over Norway to establish contact with isolate population centres cut off following the breakdown of communications following the Third World War. Because of this, the monarchy enjoys massive support by the Norwegian people (around 95%), which is mainly related to the Royal family's unifying role in the aftermath of the Third World War and in the difficult years of reconstruction from 1984 to 1995. King Olav reigned as a "People's King," and became extremely popular. He liked to drive his own cars, and would drive in the public lanes, though as a monarch he was allowed to drive in public transport lanes. King Olav never wanted to miss an opportunity to go skiing, and while he could have driven legally, he often wanted to lead by example, so he dressed up in his skiing outfit, and boarded the Trondheim bus carrying his skis on his shoulder. He also refused to use lifeguards, claiming he had three million lifeguards — the entire population of Norway. Since the Norwegian state following the Third World War was still quite poor and funds were needed elsewhere than in the upkeep of a large court, King Olav insisted that he, like his father King Haakon VII, would not be forced to keep a large court. Olav also stressed the importance of sports as a unifying element in Norwegian culture, and would personally host several winter sports competitions with neighbouring Sweden and Finland.
On April 17, 1985 the Willoch government made contact with the government on Iceland under Prime Minister Steingrimur Hermannsson. Later that year, on September 8 and 10, the Norwegian Navy reached the ports of Tórshavn on the Faroe Islands and Nuuk on Greenland, establishing contact with Prime Ministers Pauli Ellefsen and Jonathan Motzfeldt, respectively.
The Willoch government initiated talks with their fellow Nordic countries Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland over establishing a Nordic Union, in which they could have a collective defense, foreign and security policy, as well as establishing a trade union similar to the former European Community. On November 10, 1989, Prime Minister Willoch announced that he would step down after the elections the following year.
In the 1990 parliamentary election, The Norwegian Labour Party under Gro Harlem Brundtland came to power. In a minority government with support from the Conservative Party and the Progress Party, Brundtland continued many of the reforms of her right-wing predecessor, while backing traditional Labour concerns such as social security, high taxes and the industrialization of nature.
On September 26, 1990, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland signed the Treaty of Trondheim, which extended the earlier cooperation and created the Nordic Union (NU), establishing a customs union, a common market, as well as the Nordic Law Thing and the Nordic Council.
On November 3, 1992, King Olav died in his sleep. For several days up until the state funeral, Norway saw a great demonstration of mourning as Norwegians lit hundreds of thousands of candles in the courtyard outside the Royal Palace at Stiftsgården in Trondheim, with letters and cards placed amongst them. His son, Crown Prince Harald, was coronated at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on November 30, 1992, taking the title Harald V.
By the early 1990s, Norway was showing signs of recovery. A money economy was re-emerging, and by the late 1990s, Norway had paid off its debt and had started accumulating a sovereign wealth fund. Since the 1990s, a divisive question in politics has been how much of the income from petroleum production the government should spend, and how much it should save.
Following the hardships of between 1984 and 1995, the Norwegian economy has again experienced rapid economic growth due to rich resources of oil, natural gas, hydroelectric power, forests, minerals, and seafood.
The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed economy, a prosperous capitalist welfare state featuring a combination of free market activity and large state ownership in certain key sectors. The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector (Statoil), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft), aluminum production (Norsk Hydro), the largest Norwegian bank (DnB NOR), and telecommunication provider (Telenor). Norway is a major shipping nation and has the world's 3rd largest merchant fleet, with 812 Norwegian-owned merchant vessels. Major corporations that have survived or been re-founded in the country include NRK, Statoil. The Nordic Crown (Nordisk Krone, NUK) is used as the national currency in all member states of the Nordic Union, which is subdivided into 100 øre.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. Large reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered in the 1960s, which led to a boom in the economy. Norway has obtained one of the highest standards of living in the post-Doomsday world in part by having a large amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population.
As a founding member of the Nordic Union, it works closely with fellow Nordic countries Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland with sharing their resources with each other. Norway is thus the union's largest energy provider, being the largest exporter of hydropower and of oil and natural gas, making the Nordic countries entirely self-sufficient on fossil fuels. Along with Sweden they are the major exporters of lumber, and along with Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland they also provide the largest supplies of fish and seafood to the union.
Their major imports includes agricultural goods (poultry, pork, dairy products and grain) from Denmark, mechanical and heavy industrial goods from Sweden as well as electronics and chemical industry from Finland.
Norway's main airport, Trondheim Airport, Værnes, is one of the current main centers of SAS, the Scandinavian Airlines System, which has weekly flights and cargo transports with the Alpine Confederation and Luxembourg.
According to the Constitution of Norway, which was adopted on 17 May 1814 and inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence and French Revolution of 1776 and 1798, respectively, Norway is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King of Norway is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. Power is separated between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as defined by the Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document.
The Monarch officially retains executive power. However, following the introduction of a parliamentary system of government, the duties of the Monarch have since become strictly representative and ceremonial, such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other ministers in the executive government. Accordingly, the Monarch is commander-in-chief of the Norwegian armed forces, supreme authority in the Church of Norway, and serves as chief diplomatic representative abroad and a symbol of unity. The monarchy enjoys massive support by the Norwegian people (around 95%), which is mainly related to the Royal family's unifying role in the aftermath of the Third World War and in the difficult years of reconstruction from 1984 to 1995.
In practice, it is the Prime Minister who is responsible for the exercise of executive powers. Since his accession in 1991, Harald V of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg has been King of Norway, the first in many years who has actually been born in the country. Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway is the legal and rightful heir to the throne and the Kingdom.
Constitutionally, legislative power is vested with both the government and the Parliament of Norway, but the latter is the supreme legislature and a unicameral body. A proposition can become a law or an act by simple majority amongst the 150 representatives, whom are elected on the basis of proportional representation from 19 constituencies for four-year terms. An additional 19 seats ("levelling seats") are allocated on a nationwide basis to make the representation in parliament correspond better with the popular vote.
As a result, there are currently 157 Members of Parliament altogether. There is also a 6% election threshold to gain levelling seats in Parliament. As such, Norway is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy. Effectively called the Storting, meaning Grand Assembly, members of Parliament ratify treaties and can impeach members of the government if their acts are declared unconstitutional, and as such have the power to remove them from office in case of an impeachment trial.
The position of Prime Minister, Norway's head of government, is allocated to the Member of Parliament who can obtain the confidence of a majority in Parliament, usually the current leader of the largest political party or more effectively through a coalition of parties, as a single party normally doesn't have the support to form a government on its own. However, Norway has often been ruled by minority governments. The Prime Minister nominates the Cabinet, traditionally drawn from members of the same political party in the Storting, to which they are responsible, and as such forms the executive government and exercises power vested to them by the Constitution.
The focus of the main political parties in Norway in the first years after the war (1984-1995) was to focus on national consolidation and unity instead of emphasizing political differences. However, shortly following the war the far-left political parties Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti - SV), Communist Party of Norway (Norges Kommunistiske Parti - NKP) and Red Electoral Alliance (Rød Valgallianse - RV) were banned, and a few members from SV, who were willing to moderate their political views, were allowed to join the Social Democrats. However, in 1999 the Socialist Left Party was once again legalized under Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Following the Third World War, the main political parties from both the left and right put their political differences aside to focus on national reconsiliation and rebuilding. The main parties in Norway since 1984 are the right-wing parties, Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet - FrP) and the Conservative Party (Høyre - H); the centrist parties, Christian Democratic Party (Kristelig Folkeparti - KrF), Liberal Party (Venstre - V); and the Centre Party (Senterpartiet - Sp), and the Social Democratic Norwegian Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet - Ap).
Since 1995, the political situation in Norway returned to normal, and since then the Norwegian Labour Party on one side and the two main right-wing parties, the Conservative Party and the Progress Party, has contested for the control of government. All of the elections since 1984 has been minority cabinets, relying on the three centrist parties, the Christian Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the agrarian Centre Party for parliamentary support. The current Prime Minister is Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party, who was elected Prime Minister in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.
The next parliamentary elections are due September 13, 2010.
The Norwegian Defence Forces (Forsvaret) has retained much of the structure of its pre-Doomsday form. Men and women are subject to military draft at the age of 18, and the term of service is 12 months. The draft can be postponed due to education.
After the end of military service, personnel are enrolled in the Norwegian national guard (Heimevernet) and are subject to training exercises for 20 days a year (ten in the spring/summer and ten in the winter).