Norway remains neutral. Half its merchant fleet, which carries cargo for the Allies, is sunk by German submarines. Popular feeling is hostile to Germany.

1920 Norway joins the League of Nations. It is granted sovereignty over SPITZBERGEN (Svalbard), which is finally incorporated in Norway in 1925.

1920-7 Prohibition (ban on alcohol).

1929 Occupation of the island of JAN M EYEN.

1939-45 Second World War.

In 1940 German troops invade and occupy Norway, anticipating an imminent British landing. There is fierce fighting for the possession of Narvik. The king and government flee to London. Norway is ruled by a German commissioner, who is supported by a former Norwegian minister, Vidkun Quisling. After the German surrender in May 1945 the Norwegian government in exile returns from Britain.

1945 The Workers’ Party wins a general election. Norway takes part in the foundation of the United Nations.

1949 Treaty with the Soviet Union regulating the northern frontier between the two countries. Norway joins NATO.

1951 Norway becomes a founding member of the Nordic Council (see above under Denmark).

1957 Olav V (b. 1903).

Crown Prince Olav, Hikon Vll’s only son, succeeds his father.

1958 Nordic Passport and Customs Union.

1960 Norway is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

1965 The right-wing parties win a majority in a general election.

1973 Free trade agreement with the EEC, after a national referendum decides against full membership of the Community.

1974 Drilling for oil and natural gas begins in the North Sea.

1977 An oil pipeline 450 km (280 miles) long from the Ekofisk oilfield, northwest of Stavanger, to Emden in Germany is brought into operation. The Workers’ Party wins 76 seats in the Storting in a general election.

1979 A huge field of natural gas is discovered 130 km (80 miles) northwest of Bergen.

The Social Democrats fare badly in local government elections.

1980 Supply platform, the Alexander Kielland, of the Ekofisk oilfield in the North Sea capsizes on 23 July in a storm with 123 dead and missing. Agreement on the stationing of US troops on Norwegian soil for defence purposes, if necessary.

1981 Prime Minister Odvar Nordli (Norwegian Workers’ Party, DNA) resigns on 30 January on health grounds. The deputy DNA chairman Gro Harlem Brundtland becomes the first woman to be Prime Minister of Norway. Total price freeze until the end of 1 981, reduction of income tax.

Fresh elections to the Storting (parliament) on 13 and 14 September bring victory to the Conservative H0vre Party under Kaare Willoch who becomes the new Prime Minister and forms a minority government (October).

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