Welcome to 1814: Norwegian Independence. This timeline explores the question: "What if Norway had won the Swedish-Norwegian war of 1814?"
With the Kingdom of Norway avoiding personal union with Sweden, the 1800s is a time of nation building, liberal nationalism and a rise of a parliamentary democracy in the country.
In the peace after the war, Sweden and Denmark was forced to recognise the independence of Norway before the year 1820 had passed. Norway was also able to gain Bohuslän from Sweden as an autonomous territory.
The Century of Nationalism
The 1800s were a century in Norwegian history where nationalism was present. This was mostly represented in Norway by the Separatist Party, a political party that was formed out of those at the 1814 Constitutional Assembly at Eidsvoll that supported an independent Norway with the Danish prince Christian Frederik as king of Norway. The victory over Sweden in the Swedish-Norwegian war of 1814 saw that the rural and non-industrialized Norway was able to defend itself.
But there were also skepticism and concern about Norwegian nationalism. This skepticism came through in the Unionist Party. The Unionists had supported Norwegian independence they too, but was willing to go into a union with Sweden in order to uphold peace. Later, many Unionists would support the prospect of Scandinavian integration.
Over the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s there here many conflicts between the civil servants and nobility that held much power in the Parliament and the Government, and the farmers and workers. These conflicts ended some times with the right to vote being extended, but also in some times with repression.
Republicanism in Norway was nothing big until 1839. That year, Christian Frederick, the king of Norway inherited the crown of Denmark. Since Norway was a constitutional monarchy and Denmark an absolute monarchy, there were concerns that the king would use the power of Denmark and the Danish armed forces to reintroduce absolutism in Norway. There were republican uprisings over the 1840s in Norway, but these was often crushed by the Norwegian forces. In 1848, Denmark became a constitutional monarchy because of uprisings linked to the 1848 revolutions. There where also uprisings in Norway and in Bohuslän, where many wanted the territory to return to Sweden.
In 1848, King Christian Frederick of Norway and Denmark died. While many Norwegians wanted to crown a different king, or declare Norway to be a republic, this was not something the Unionists in parliament would stand behind. Christian Frederick's son Frederick became crowned as Norwegian king as king Frederik VII. The new king was also to promise that he would stay as long in Norway as he did in Denmark, and soon a royal palace was constructed in Oslo. The next kings after him would also be someone that was not likely to inherit any throne or not be a king of a foreign realm at all.
In 1851, the Republican Party was founded by many Norwegian republicans and socialists. One of the party's early leading figures was the socialist and labour movement leader Marcus Thrane. The party had some early successes, but was dissolved in the early 1870s. Many that had been members of the Republicans later joined the Labour Party when that party was founded in 1883. The Republicans golden age was in the time when Frederik VII was king of Norway. After the death of the king in 1863, Norway gained a king that was not king of Denmark.
From the 1840s and the following decades was in Norway known as the era of National Romanticism. The importance of combining an identity among the Norwegian people became bigger. One that was clearly separate from the Swedish or Danish identity. In 1849, the language of Norway, landsmål, was introduced. It was mostly made from collecting the dialects in Norway and trying to bind these into a language. The person that mainly did this work was a man named Ivar Aasen, who traveled all over Norway. Before 1900, landsmål would become the main language in Norway, with the old Dano-Norwegian becoming a language used on the side.
But the nationalism of the 1800s did not only come Norway to the good. It made also a struggle between the Norwegians of Norway and the Swedes of Bohuslän. Swedish nationalists in the territory wanted it to return to Sweden, with Norwegian nationalists seeing the area as a part of the old Norwegian Viken. The Bohuslän Movement was formed in the aftermath of the 1848 revolutions, in which Swedes in the territory had held uprisings against the Norwegian government.
King Magnus VIII was only 5 years old when becoming king of Norway in 1863. Because of this, regents where picked to do the objectives of the king. The regents that where picked was for the most part pro-Norwegian, granting more power to the Parliament and Government. The fact that the king was able to learn landsmål before his regency ended in 1875, gave many Norwegians prof that the king would be a Norwegian king instead of a Danish one. King Magnus VIII's reign would be recognized as, not only Norway's, but also the world's longest reigning monarch.
Under the Second Schleswig War, Norway would get involved on the side of the Danish. Along with Swedish help, the three Scandinavian countries managed to fight back the Germans. The Unionists proposed in the Norwegian Parliament that a federation of the three countries could be tried. They was also willing to give Bohuslän back to Sweden in order to achieve the federation. This idea however was despised by every other party except the Bohuslän Movement, who wanted this in order to make Bohuslän become a part of Sweden again. But the idea of forming a Scandinavian Federation was defeated in all countries' parliaments.
The late 1800s would see the industrialization of Norway take hold. While many was skeptic to this, it did not stop what was happening in the country. Shipping, fishing, farming and industries grew, and the country became modernized. But with the growing of industries in the country, a new party was formed, the Labour Party, to fight for the rights of the growing working and low-middle class. This era would also see voting right given to all men over the age of 25 in 1885. The same would later be given to women in 1913.
The Great War Era
With the turn of the century, tensions between the Scandinavian countries would grew. Norway would become increasingly more connected with Britain, while Sweden had supported the newly formed German Empire. The Swedish had even given supplies to the Germans for the Germans to conquer Schleswig in 1893, while Norway had given supplies to Denmark. Tensions between the Norwegians and Swedish was nearly at the level as it was in 1814.
In 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was shot and murdered in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalists. This would be the main factor for war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. On the side of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was Germany, and on the side of the Serbian Kingdom was Russia and France. The war would grow until it would be known as the Great War.
In 1915, a Norwegian warship was destroyed by German warships, causing the Norwegian government of Gunnar Knudsen to declare war on Germany. Britain was soon with soldiers on Norwegian ground and ships in Norwegian waters. Germany managed to trick the Swedish government to think that the British occupied Norway, and declared war on Britain later same year. Once more, Norway and Sweden was at war.
The war would last until 1918, with battles both on the Western and Eastern fronts, but also on the Northern front. While Norway and Sweden suffered because of the war, it was not as bad as it had been in Germany or France. While Sweden had to pay reparations to Norway and give up its claim on Bohuslän and Åland, this was, in comparison to Germany's demands, mild demands.
The 1920s would be an age in Scandinavian history of rebuilding and regrowth, but also of growing radicalism and uprisings. With the Russian Revolution, the Labour Party became very radicalized. New political movements would appear in Norway. In 1920, the Farmers' Party was formed as a party for the Norwegian farmers. In 1922, the Norwegian Social Democratic Party was formed in protest of the radicalization of the Labour Party. In 1925, the Norwegian National Legion was formed in style to the Italian fascists of Mussolini. In 1930, the Communist Party was formed following an moderation of the Labour Party. The final political movement to bear a significance from the 1920s and 1930s is the Christian Democratic Party, formed in 1932.
The 1930s and 1940s
In 1929, Norway would experience the Great Depression, basically dragging down the Norwegian economy. With economic crisis coming to Europe, there would be changes in Europe. In 1932, Sweden was on the brink of revolution, leading to the Conservative military taking power. This would bring upon the era of military dictatorship in Sweden. With the rise of the Nazis in Germany, many in Norway was afraid of a combined Swedish and German attack on Norway.
While Bohuslän had increasingly become more Norwegian, there where still a good portion of Swedish people there. These would in 1936 form the Second Bohuslän Movement. The differences this movement had from the first was that the second movement was conservative and authoritarian, maybe also fascist, while the first was liberal.
In 1938, the Labour Party managed to establish a government with the support of the Separatist Party. This would mark the beginning of a time with socialist dominance that would last until the 1960s. The policy of the Labour-Separatist cooperation would see welfare to the people and a strengthen defense, after cutbacks was made post-Great War. The threats of Norwegian neutrality was seen to be the Soviet Union in the East, the Swedish Dictatorship and the German Reich. The country would continue to strive for cooperation with the British Empire. To be fair, some saw Britain as a threat as big as the Swedes, Soviets and Germans, but that the British were a democratic country would make them the better option to align with.
In 1939, King Magnus VIII died after over a 75-year reign. His son, Prince Axel, would be crowned as King Kristian Georg. The new king had been an officer in the navy and was interested in both sport and business. This would also be the same year when German expansion would end up in a Second Great War, when German forces invaded Poland.
In 1940, the Swedish joined the war on German side, and with the Germans invaded Denmark. It was then Norway came in to support the Danish. This would lead to Norway being dragged into the war. The battle of Fredrikstad between the Norwegian and Swedish forces would show how much German technology would help the Swedes. The Norwegian troops was forced to retreat to the capital.
While Britain tried to send help, they was not able to save Norway from being invaded by Sweden and Germany. After the capital of Oslo became taken by Swedish troops, the Germans had already taken control in Kristiansand, Stavanger and Bergen. In the end of October 1940, Norway had fallen. This failure to halt the invasion of Norway lead to the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain to step down as prime minister. Some days later, Chamberlain died.
The occupation of Norway was partly lead by Sweden, partly by Germany. Swedish forces controlled the capital of Oslo, all of eastern Norway from Kristiansand in the south to Trondheim in the north. Coastal regions was left to be under German control. Germany also was charged with controlling the northern parts of Norway. There would be resistance from the Norwegian populace. Even the Norwegian National Legion, that supported the Germans, was resistant against the Swedish.
In the years 1940 to 1946, Norway was under occupation. Signs of light would come when Germany, after invading the Soviet Union, and many other nations, began to lose on the eastern front in 1943. With many fights, Europe was soon free by 1945. The Swedish dictatorship chose to fight, but in 1946, with the Swedish population in open revolt, the country had to surrender. The war was finally over.
After the war, many that had supported the Germans or the Swedish, or had been members in the NNL, SL and ABr, was trialed. Some was executed, others where imprisoned. In Sweden, King Gustaf V was forced to abdicate, and the monarchs role and responsibilities where reduced. Many there wanted a Swedish Republic, but this was seen as too radical.
The Cold War Era
After the war, the United States of America begun to send support to the affected countries in Europe. This included Norway and Sweden. In Norway, the Separatist Jacob S. Worm-Müller formed a grand government consisting of the Separatist Party, Labour Party, Christian Democratic Party and Unionist Party. While the Separatists had smaller representation in the Parliament than the Unionists and Labour, they was seen as a middle ground between the left and the right.
After the 1946 election, the Labour Party formed a government after winning nearly 45% of the seats. The Communist Party chose to support them at first, but the two parties' relationship grew sour when the Communists supported Soviet actions. The Labour Party would end up with trying to gain support from the centre when they did not get a clear majority.