The World Wars and 20th Century Norwegian Politics
When World War I broke out, Norway joined
Sweden and Denmark in a decision to remain neutral and to cooperate in the
joint interest of the three countries. In World War II, Norway was invaded
by the Germans on April 9, 1940. It resisted for two months before the
Nazis took complete control. King Haakon and his government fled to
London, where they established a government-in-exile. Maj. Vidkun
Quisling, who served as Norway's prime minister during the war, was the
most notorious of the Nazi collaborators. The word for traitor,
bears his name. He was executed by the Norwegians on Oct.
24, 1945. Despite severe losses in the war, Norway recovered quickly as
its economy expanded. It joined NATO in 1949.
In the late 20th century, the Labor Party and
the Conservative Party seesawed for control, each sometimes having to lead
minority governments. An important debate was over Norway's membership in
the European Union. In an advisory referendum held in Nov. 1994, voters
rejected seeking membership for their nation in the EU. The country became
the second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia in 1995. Norway
continued to experience rapid economic growth into the new millennium.