You would, wouldn't you? Just to troll me 😛

As for features... if you think there are any interesting butterflies to Canadian politics or military doctrine not yet covered, that could be cool. IIRC Canada was only covered post-war and during the 20's, nothing on Canada during the 30's yet
Well, I then usually follow that one up with the story of my other ancestor who fought for both the Swedes and the Danes, so when they were preparing to sign the Peace of Roskilde, one of the things both sides could agree upon to bring them closer to an agreement that they would behead him. A sign of peace and conciliation you might say.
Was it Corfitz Ulfeldt???
You would, wouldn't you? Just to troll me 😛

As for features... if you think there are any interesting butterflies to Canadian politics or military doctrine not yet covered, that could be cool. IIRC Canada was only covered post-war and during the 20's, nothing on Canada during the 30's yet

Don't tempt me too much. :p

Canada in the 1930s, or maybe the legacy of the CEF - got it.

Was it Corfitz Ulfeldt???

Not anywhere near so prominent. Ulfeldt was far from the only man jumping between the two nations. No, IIRC he was an Oberst or something like that. High enough to piss people in power off when he jumped ship repeatedly, but not "definition of treachery in Denmark" famous.
Feature: Scandinavia - Norway
Feature: Scandinavia - Norway


King Haakon VII is sworn in as King of Norway at the Norwegian Storting

The Neutral Ally​

Norway had been subordinated to its neighbors for more than half a millennium. First under the rule of the Danish Kings and then, following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Norway had found itself under the Swedish yoke. Thus, the declaration of Unionsoppløsning - Dissolution of the Union with Sweden - was to prove one of the most defining moments in the country's history. Following months of tensions and the near-breakout of war between Norway and its erstwhile master, the Swedes eventually gave way, recognizing Norway's independence once it became clear the vast majority of the population was pro-independence. It thereby came to follow that Prince Carl of Denmark ascended to the throne as King Haakon VII, marking not just the country's independence but also the beginnings of Norway's Constitutional Monarchy (1).

With independence came control over Norway's own natural resources, its economy and its trade, all of which had been under significant Swedish influence up until then. One major consequence of this had been that Norway's industrial development had been exceptionally slow and unimpactful in the period prior to independence, as mercantile Swedish economic and trade policies severely hampered economic progress. However, with its fetters loosened, Norway was soon to embark upon one of the most explosive courses of industrial development of the period. The already substantial Norwegian fishing and trade flotilla motorized at an exceptional pace as industrial development exploded in cities such as Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and Kongsberg, but perhaps the most significant development of this period was the massive rise of hydropower in Norway (1).

It would be this matter, control of the so-called "White Coal" of Norway, which was to prove the dominant political struggle of the pre-Great War years. Major new technological breakthroughs within the development of hydro-electric technology had made many aware of the potential financial gains that could be made from the establishment of hydro-electric power plants and entrepreneurial Norwegians had increasingly sought to exploit that resource for personal profit. This led to the rapid rise of what came to be known as "Fossespekulanter" - hydropower speculators who sought to buy up water rights for sale to foreign investors. More than three-quarters of all Norwegian waterfalls were already foreign-owned by 1906, with particularly Swedish financiers playing a major role, to considerable public outrage. As the industry was both capital-intensive and research driven, the potential for Norway developing the industry without foreign backing seemed unlikely, but the prospect of all these Norwegian resources in foreign hands provoked considerable political debate and disagreement (2).

With Independence, the Norwegian government sought to deal with the challenge by implementing a series of provisional laws starting in 1906 which aimed to establish a system of concessions which would allow foreigners and corporations to purchase the development rights for a period of time, whereafter it would revert to the state free of charge, with no other form of compensation to the owners. In 1907 efforts were made to enshrine the Concession Laws into permanent legislation, which unleashed a series of bitterly contentious political debates which would ultimately last until 1917. During this period questions of whether or not to give preferential treatment to Norwegian companies, whether the law was an unconstitutional encroachment on private ownership, whether the municipality or national government should be the party the ownership reverted to and what role the state should play in ownership of natural resources all created fierce debate. Ultimately a limit of 60 years was imposed on concessions before they reverted to the state, with obligatory control falling to the municipalities, and the direct economic benefits to be split between the municipalities and the state through licensing fees. Additionally, undertakings which were at least two-thirds publicly-owned were permitted concessions in perpetuity. This was to prove a popular model which would in time spread to other Norwegian natural resource deposits (2).

When Norway secured its independence, there were questions regarding whether the young nation should involve itself in the European alliance systems or seek to maintain a neutral position in the tense geopolitical climate of the early 20th century. While Norway was able to secure Great Power acceptance of neutrality, the position held by most leading Norwegian politicians, they still remained fearful of Russian ambitions in the far north and sought to ward against it by developing economic and diplomatic ties to Great Britain. At the time Norway possessed one of the largest merchant fleets in the world and the country consumed immense amounts of imported oil, coal and steel to not just build and operate the merchant marine, but their booming industrial development as well. With the outbreak of the Great War, Norwegian neutrality found itself under pressure almost immediately (3).

At the start of the Great War, Norway traded immense amounts of fish, cooper ore, nickel and pyrite to the Germans and British alike, much to the displeasure of the British government which wished to starve the German war machine of these critical resources. To that end, the Entente began to place intense diplomatic pressure on the Norwegian government, refusing any compromise agreement proposed by the Norwegians. Finally, on Christmas Eve of 1916, the British government issued an ultimatum that all coal exports would cease unless Norwegian trade with Germany was halted. Finally pinned down and forced to make a decision, the Norwegians threw their lot in with the British and abandoned trade with Germany - which would subsequently make them a major target of the German U-Boat campaign. Economic circumstances in Norway worsened significantly late in the war and anti-German sentiment rose to a fever pitch as the number of dead merchant sailors soared under the campaign. While Norway would remain outside the war till its end, they nevertheless turned firmly in favor of the Entente - coming to be known in Britain as their "Neutral Ally" (3).

In contrast to its neighbors, whose industrial development was a long and slow process, in Norway the process of industrialization it was a far, far more explosive process. From a near stand-still, Norway grew into a firmly industrializing economy in barely 15 years. This speed pace of industrialization, while bringing immense economic muscle to the young nation, also had the effect of sending massive shocks through Norwegian society. One major consequence of this was the significantly more radical nature of the Norwegian labor movement when compared to Sweden or Denmark. Under the pressures of the Great War and news of the Russian Revolution this radicalization only increased its pace, culminating in the coordinated takeover of the Labor Party (Arbeiderpartiet) under the leadership of Kyrre Greppe and the incredibly charismatic Martin Tranmæl. Coming out of the youth unions, these radicals played a key role in raising the revolutionary spirit across Norway even as King Haakon departed for the Copenhagen Conference. With the cost of living higher than ever, the predominantly left-wing press in support, and the emergence of Worker's Councils in the model of the Russian soviets in many industrial cities, the framework for what would prove to be one of the most bellicose labor movements in Europe had been set (4).

Without the example set by the Muscovites in Russia of a united and unified left-wing, this incipient labor reformation might well have splintered into a thousand pieces, but instead this was to mark the start of the Norwegian Arbeiderparti's rise on a truly massive scale. Uniting Syndicalists, Marxists, Socialists, Anarchists and even a good part of the moderate left in the party, Arbeiderpartiet took an iron grip on the political left and set to making their political influence felt on the Norwegian landscape. Labor unrest and strikes, which had already been common, exploded across all of Norway in 1919. From the mine and timber mills in the countryside to the factories of the cities regularly declared strikes, repeatedly hammering the business elite. Under pressure and frustrated, Prime Minister Gunnar Knudsen of the Liberal Party (Venstre) made a series of concessions to labor in 1919 and 1920 which served to temporarily alleviate the pressure from the left, but this was to prove to have dire consequences for his leadership and his party, who lost more than half their seats in Stortinget in the 1921 elections (4).


Leadership of Arbeiderpartiet on excursion in the early 1920s​

While Arbeiderpartiet exploded into the center of Norwegian politics, a secondary movement was rising to prominence in its shadow. In 1896 the first Norwegian Farmers' Association was founded with the aim of representing the interests of the small-holding farmers who made up the majority of the rural population, influencing politics and creating alliances between representatives of both of the two ruling parties - Høyre (Right) and Venstre (Left). By the late 1910s the farmer's association had grown into one of the best organized and most powerful interest representation organizations in Norway. However, the failure of the farmers' association to make its issues central to either of the ruling parties, and the spate of political concessions given to the industrial classes provoked intense dissatisfactions among the association's membership. At a meeting of the association in 1920 the decision was made to unite agrarian political interests in a political party under the leadership of Johan E. Mellbye, a former Høyre minister. The new Peasants' Party (Bondepartiet) made an immediate impact, securing 15% of the vote and 21 seats in Stortinget in the 1921 elections. Championing agrarian rights, decentralization, lower taxes and greater economic protectionism, Bondepartiet clashed both with the traditional Høyre and Venstre over the current course of economic liberalism, and with Arbeiderpartiet over the scale of benefits given to industrial workers (5).

1921 very nearly brought Arbeiderpartiet to power in Norway to the shock and horror of the Liberals and Conservatives who had dominated politics till this point. In a sudden and sharp break with their past antagonism, Høyre and Venstre established a coalition government. Leadership of the coalition would pass to Otto B. Halvorsen, the leader of Høyre, but his sudden death in 1923 was to prove a crucial turning point as it threw leadership of the coalition into the air. While the relationship between Høyre and Venstre had been contentious during his time in leadership, Halvorsen's death created an additional crisis within Høyre between their more left-wing members who rallied around Abraham Berge and the mainstream of the party who wished to draft Ivar Lykke, the reluctant party leader of Høyre who had hoped to let Berge take the top seat in his stead. While Berge was a man liked by many in the party, and Lykke made it clear he had little wish for the seat as prime minister, the tensions with Venstre and rising threat of both Arbeiderpartiet and Bondepartiet eventually led the coalition members to pressure Ivar Lykke to take leadership - viewing him as the only one capable of challenging the charismatic leaders of Arbeiderpartiet. Thus it was that Ivar Lykke became Prime Minister of Norway in 1923 (6).

The following three years, until 1926, were to prove critical in Norway's political fortunes. The starting shot of the tumultuous period that followed would prove to be the sudden death of Kyrre Grepp and his replacement as leader by the more energetic, charismatic and radical Martin Tranmæl. With Tranmæl's blessing the Norwegian labor movement began a concerted campaign of labor agitation dominated foremost by the mining and timber industries. The instigating event behind the first major strike was the Norwegian Employer's Association's decision to reduce wage levels for ironworkers by 5% on the basis of a statistical analysis which workers believed had been manipulated. In Oslo and Frederikstad ironworkers began spontaneous work stoppages which were eventually deemed illegal strikes by the courts in November of 1923. While the national union and labor organization initially seemed inclined to take note of the verdict, local action committees and workers' councils refused to comply and the wildcat strike rapidly grew in scale, spreading and leading to sympathy strikes in the transport industry and paper workers union. Strikebreakers were put to work and the police were deployed against leaders of the strike, but this only served to heighten tensions and by February the employers had turned to a lockout in retaliation, with almost 60,000 workers impacted. Questions of whether to support the wildcat strikers gripped Arbeiderpartiet, but convinced by the early victories, Tranmæl gave his full support and the party was soon deeply enmeshed in the conflict (7).

Sympathy strikes spread through southern Norway, with the dockworkers in Bergen joining by May of 1924, which brought one of the largest ports in Europe to a near stand-still. This proved a step too far for the Employers' Association and they were finally forced back to the table, where a series of negotiations eventually saw wages increased by 10% alongside a host of new benefits granted to the ironworkers. It was one of the largest and most successful strikes in Europe at the time and served to further galvanize the left, who were eager to replicate their success (7).

For the Norwegian Employers and their allies it proved a grueling and frightening development which greatly increased antipathy towards the left. It was at this time efforts began to draw the still surging Bondeparti into what was increasingly becoming an anti-Arbeiderparti governmental coalition. Jumping at the opportunity to influence policy, Johan Mellbye accepted the offer in return for a series of major agrarian reforms, including significant governmental subsidies to troubled farms and greater local autonomy for rural municipalities. However, with the spate of concessions to both the left-wing and agrarian association, the Norwegian budget deficit had ballooned considerably. However, despite general agreement that a comprehensive austerity policy was becoming necessary in Stortinget, even small savings proposals were repeatedly voted down and Lykke's government was faced with several defeats in their budget policies. Eventually Ivar Lykke turned to the one area where he might be able to generate tax revenues. It was time to bring Norway's prohibition to an end (8).

A relatively recent development, the Norwegian alcohol prohibition had started as a temporary measure in 1916, before expanding massively to cover almost all alcohol sorts at all times of the year by 1918. Even at the time of its implementation the ban had been controversial, and Lykke now turned to its abolition as a source of revenue. Before the prohibition, sales of alcohol had been done through municipally-sanctioned vendors, but Lykke now sought to make this lucrative market a state-owned monopoly - a process imitating a similar approach taken in Sweden which soon helped alleviate some of the strain on the state budget. However, the sudden and drastic shift from prohibition to state monopoly provoked intense acrimony and opposition, not just from the prohibitionists, but also from the municipal level which felt they had been robbed of a key tax income. Lykke's government would seek to stave off the critique, but ultimately fell when Bondepartiet withdrew their support for the government, setting the stage for the elections of 1926 (8).


Martin Tranmæl​

If the years under Lykke were marked by conflict and failed efforts at restraining the rise of the left-wing, then the 1926 elections could be considered the ultimate victory of the Left. In a landslide election, Arbeiderpartiet swept to victory with a full 68 seats in Stortinget in one of the greatest electoral victory in Norwegian history. Not since independence had a party enjoyed such a margin of victory, but even so it proved insufficient to secure a complete majority - lacking 8 mandates (9).

While the opposition parties scrambled to unite every other political party in a united anti-Arbeiderparti coalition to keep them from power, this united front would crumble under Tranmæl's political maneuvering, culminating in his wooing of Radikale Folkeparti - a party whose support had rested primarily on small-scale farmers and landless agricultural laborers who were marginalized within Bondepartiet. While the party had been in steady decline since the mid-1910s, its fortunes had begun to shift with the rise of Bondepartiet, as a competitor and counterpart willing to challenge the super dominance of Bondepartiet in the rural regions. Norway would have its first Leftist government (9).

While Arbeiderpartiet's victory was the most significant development of the 1926 elections, it proved a key turning point for other parties as well. Venstre, which had been in steady decline, experienced a final bitter collapse and was reduced to little more than a subordinate party of Høyre, with the two parties merging in 1928, while Bondepartiet experienced massive gains, rising to become the third largest political party in Norway after Arbeiderpartiet and Høyre (9).

The ascension of Arbeiderpartiet to government very nearly came to an end before it had even begun with the Central Bank governor Nicolai Rygg's statement of skepticism regarding the government's ability to deal with the pressures of government. A vote of no-confidence was raised against Tranmæl already on the fourth day of government and intense pressure was placed upon Radikale Folkeparti to end their support of the government. An effort was made to secure King Haakon's support for refusing Tranmæl his seat as Prime Minister, but ultimately both efforts failed. Radikale Folkeparti was able to secure support for the establishment of a union for landless agricultural workers and King Haakon responded to the demands of the right by stating "Jeg er også kommunisternes konge" - I am also the King of the Communists. With all challenges to his rule thus defeated, Tranmæl was finally able to take leadership of Norway as the country's first left-wing Prime Minister (10).

The new government was swift to begin their reforms. While Norway possessed an active trade economy, the country itself was struggling with significant levels of unemployment and the state was mired in considerable debts and loans taken out to build up the state in recent decades. Highly dependent upon foreign trade, the economic troubles internationally in the first half of the decade had caused considerable havoc, with nearly a quarter of all Norwegian banks bankrupted and near-constant labor conflicts provoking repeated crisis. However, with Arbeiderpartiet in power, efforts were soon made to manage the labor market. In a bid to end the conflicts between workers and employers, the government set out an ambitious new agenda which aimed to secure part-ownership of any enterprise by its workers, with some more radical members even considering wholesale nationalization. However, well aware of the tenuous political balance and the widespread fear on the left, Tranmæl was able to calm his compatriots. More efforts followed - workers' compensation, unemployment compensation and a pension scheme were but some of the initiatives brought under way in the latter half of the decade (11).

Despite the budgetary deficit which just kept growing, Arbeiderpartiet were able to significantly improve the quality of life for the working class. Norway would prove among the earliest states to recognize the Soviet Republic and built strong diplomatic ties with their government, initiating trade through the arctic in an effort to build on these ties. At the same time Norwegian sailors became a regular presence in Red Italy, able to travel and trade in places and with products it was otherwise difficult for the Italians to secure given the antipathy of their neighbors. However, while these ties were welcome, it would be the ascension of the Labor Party in Great Britain which really changed things for Arbeiderpartiet. With British relations improving significantly in this period, the Norwegian government was able to secure significant debt relief and debt restructuring, alongside further loans, which provided financial relief exactly when it was most welcome (11).

Tranmæl would secure re-election in 1929 and 1931, on the back of these successes, greatly expanding the state bureaucracy and working towards increased control over the hydroelectrical industry. Efforts were even made to reformulate the concession laws following the last of these elections, but the matter proved deeply controversial and threatened to reignite the bitter political struggle of the early 1910s. With the matter still in limbo, the Two Rivers Crisis and resultant political turmoil in Britain broke up any consideration of the matter. Arbeiderpartiet suddenly found its ready source of funding cut off and the state deficit rapidly began to balloon out of control. Under increasingly harsh scrutiny and fierce denunciations in Stortinget, Arbeiderpartiet's leadership of the country was questioned and finally, in early 1934, Radikale Folkeparti broke with their coalition partners and brought down the government (11).

During these years, Bondepartiet had found itself increasingly gravitating towards a more nationalistic and socially conservative ideological position, as a reaction to the social liberalism of Arbeiderpartiet and the peasantry's belief that they had been on the losing end for far too long. Inspired in part by the Danish compromise between pro-agrarian policies and social welfare, and on the other by the state interventionism of the Integralist movement, Bondepartiet began to campaign on a much more moralistic base - believing that Arbeiderpartiet had been sacrificing the moral, physical and mental welfare of the Norwegian people as a whole to pander to their base and engage in ideologically motivated foreign policies which failed to protect Norwegian interests. Høyre, while somewhat uncomfortable with the interventionism and overt nationalism of Bondepartiet under its new leader, the young and charismatic Jon Leirfall - who had emerged from a morass of infighting and partisanship over the leadership and direction of the party, still continued to view them as a better alternative than Arbeiderpartiet. Although, as the years passed and Bondepartiet distanced itself ever further from Høyre ideologically, this preference came ever further into question (12).

Tranmæl's government falling in 1934 led to the calling of new elections which were to once again provide something of a sea change in Norwegian politics. Following a decade-long stranglehold on Norwegian politics, Arbeiderpartiet fell to some 50 mandates, still the largest party in Stortinget but far from sufficient to form a government alone or with a minor partner. By contrast Høyre and Bondepartiet won major gains, with Bondepartiet in particular securing 48 mandates and passing Høyre to become the second largest party in Norway. However, when the question of forming a government arose, trouble immediately followed. Høyre, as the oldest and most established party in Norway, wished to lead any potential governmental coalition with Bondepartiet, and blankly refused to accept Leirfall as Prime Minister over one of their own. Additionally, they proved highly resistant to any notion of state interventionism of the sort advocated by Bondepartiet. Angered by their erstwhile partners' intransigence, Bondepartiet in turn refused to subordinate themselves to Høyre and tried to establish themselves as a minority government. For much of 1934, Norway stood without an actual government, as negotiations for some sort of coalition between any of the three major parties were attempted, before frustration at the situation saw a new round of elections in November of 1934 (12).

The November elections would fail to provide any real answers, with the only major shift being the collapse of Radikale Folkeparti from 14 mandates to 6, with the seats split predominantly between Arbeiderpartiet and Bondepartiet, thus furthering the distance to Høyre. However, seeing the writing on the wall, Høyre's leadership finally gave way following another two months of negotiations and announced their support for Bondepartiet and Leirfall. However, this was done under a number of immensely important concessions - most significantly an agreement on a series of major spending cuts and austerity measures which would hopefully help resolve the massive financial deficit produced under Tranmæl's government - with the ministries of finance, industry and governorship of the National Bank all passed to Høyre-aligned fiscal conservatives eager to begin slashing away at the bloated state bureaucracy. Norway's government had changed, but the years of Arbeiderparti government had left an indelible influence on the Norwegian state and pushed the political spectrum as a whole further left-ward than almost any other North-or-West European nation outside Red Italy (12).

(1) All of this is OTL. Norway is honestly a pretty fascinating country compared to its two other Scandinavian neighbors, in that it only got independence in the early 20th century. Until then it had been under either Danish or Swedish rule since the Kalmar Union. The Norwegians have done all sorts of things to distance themselves from Denmark in particular since then - including renaming their capital from Christiania to Oslo (well, Oslo was once the heart of the capital, but by the time of renaming it was a suburb to Christiania - which was named after King Christian IV of Denmark).

(2) I found the White Coal struggle and development of concessions a rather fascinating development which I had never really considered all that carefully. While the 60 year concessions seem long, they would have come to an end in the 1960s-1980s. It helps to explain why Norway is one of the most economically robust countries in Europe.

(3) Still all just OTL running up through to the end of the Great War. It is only after this we will get the actual butterflies. What is worth noting here is that with the war dragging on that bit longer, the losses of the merchant marine is that bit worse and the economic hardships that bit harsher. It is not a particularly happy period in Norwegian history.

(4) So this is where the first big butterflies strike Norway. IOTL the radical wing of Arbeiderpartiet were also able to take over the party in 1918, but without the far more unifying and welcoming Muscovite line, the result was that the incredibly powerful Norwegian labor movement split into rival political factions and became engulfed in an absolutely brutal party civil war which only really came to an end with the reunification of the party in 1927 after a series of massive disappointments for the radicals in the party. In contrast to almost every other Labor/Social Democratic party in Europe, in Norway it was not the moderates or right-wing of the party who were able to expel their radical partners from power, but rather the moderates who ended up getting booted from the largest left-wing party in the country. Everything was present for the Norwegian Labor Movement to really take off in a revolutionary direction - except for their lack of internal unity. That is what changes here. Instead of fracturing, the Norwegian left unites behind the radicals, who welcome in all the disparate groups of leftists who IOTL ended up fighting with them, growing into a true monster of a party. The labor unrest that follows happened IOTL as well, but at a significantly smaller scale and far less unified or coordinated. Venstre (and yes, it is pronounced and written the exact same way in Denmark and Norway) experience an even greater electoral route ITTL as they find themselves outmatched on the left while disliked by the right for their concessions. Despite having been the ruling party for the past decade, Venstre now enters a period of significant decline.

(5) Bondepartiet is an OTL development, but whereas IOTL Bondepartiet ended up affiliated and allied with Arbeiderpartiet, here they end up in conflict. The main reason behind this change is that with its greater size, unity and influence, Arbeiderpartiet has been able to get more of what it wants early without having to make concessions to potential allies and as such are far less willing to give up parts of their own program to draw the farmers into alignment behind them. On Bondepartiet's side, they see the many concessions secured by Arbeiderpartiet and on one hand are inspired by the power of class unity for benefits and on the other hand are jealous and angry that so many benefits are going their way just as Norwegian agriculture enters a period of economic troubles.

(6) IOTL the balance of power favored Høyre more and the left-wing of the party was represented as a separate party (known as Free-Spirited Left) with Berge as leader. Lykke was as reluctant there as he is ITTL, and was able to talk his way out of leadership until 1926. He was apparently extremely critical of his own political capabilities and basically had to be forced into leadership positions, but once in position he did really good work for the most part. Here the changes (most importantly Venstre's weakened nature and the fact that Free-Spirited Left hasn't been formed) mean that there is more of an impetus for the coalition members to push Lykke to take leadership.

(7) I have used Jernstrejken of OTL as inspiration for this strike, with the strike growing significantly larger and with the entire left-wing uniting behind it. IOTL the left was already split between Arbeiderpartiet and the Communists, who feuded and fought over how to deal with the strike, with the end point being a 5% wage increase, which was seen as a major failure. Here it is nearly doubled and there are numerous additional benefits which the left-wing wins for their supporters.

(8) I am mixing and matching events and attempted measures from OTL here. Lykke tried to build an alliance with Bondepartiet unsuccessfully (his party was unwilling to make the requisite concessions) but here they make the necessary sacrifices under the threat of the united and radical left wing. It was Berge's efforts at abolishing prohibition which brought him down IOTL, which here ends up being more successful under Lykke - though in the end he has to go as well. It is the same for the budget deficit, that happened IOTL as well, but here the added concessions make it an even greater crisis. Same with Stortinget's agreement that austerity was needed, but no one being willing to actually deal with the problem.

(9) I am probably overestimating the degree of support Arbeiderpartiet could generate, but with everything that has happened up to this point, combined with the party's unity, series of labor victories and a highly charismatic leader I do think this isn't too far out of the range of the plausible. I have significantly strengthened Radikale Folkeparti in contrast to OTL which I will put down to butterflies in the development of the agrarian political sphere. Instead of going into terminal decline, the party is able to revive some of its fortunes by turning into a more left-wing alternative to Bondepartiet. I bring Venstre to an end here in Norway, which is a major departure, but with the way the politics have been playing out I don't see how Venstre avoids being outcompeted from the left by Arbeiderpartiet and the right by Høyre.

(10) King Haakon's statement that "I am also king of the communists" is entirely OTL and was stated in response to the first Arbeiderparti government under Christopher Hornsrud. The other efforts mentioned are also similar to what happened IOTL. However, where ITTL the left is able to hold on to power, IOTL the effort proved successful and Arbeiderpartiet fell from power within a month. It remains the shortest government in Norwegian history.

(11) Sorry that this is so vague, but I have had a hell of a time finding out what the principle political matters of this period were. I have Arbeiderpartiet continue to work within the system (ITTL the Communists don't have the same pressure to adopt revolutionary rhetoric as IOTL given the changes to the Soviets) and implement a series of reforms which, while radical, are still reasonable and are insufficient to send everything into a tizzy. The economic troubles in Norway are based on similar developments IOTL (by 1932 40% of Norwegian state revenues were going to interest payments and installments on debts and loans) but are exacerbated by Arbeiderpartiet's reckless spending in this period. It does prove popular at the time, but the coming governments are going to have a hell of headache to deal with.

(12) And so we bring the era of Arbeiderparti dominance to a close at least for the time being. Bondepartiet is this peculiar mix of National Socialist economic policies, Socially Conservative cultural policies, Nordic Welfare and overtly Nationalist foreign policy, with a ton of agrarian special interests as the foundation. However, rather than give them free reign, I thought the dynamic of them forced into an unhappy partnership with Høyre, who are far more classically conservative, non-interventionist and hide-bound, would make for a fun if not necessarily super effective government to close out on. As I mention at the close, it is important to note that all of Norwegian politics has been pushed much further to the left than any of their counterparts, so even though Høyre are the Norwegian Conservative Party their actual policies are probably more left-wing than even Radikale Venstre from Denmark, with the rest of the political spectrum shifted accordingly.

End Note:

With that we get done with Norway. It has honestly been pretty fun to dig into the differences and similarities between the Nordic countries in this period - all of them eventually got to very similar-looking welfare state models IOTL, but they did so from very different directions. Here I had a lot of fun playing around with Arbeiderpartiet and the greater left-wing radicalism of Norway compared to its neighbors. I really hope you guys enjoyed the developments!

The relationship between written Danish and Norwegian (Bokmål) is honestly a bit funny. As a Dane I can read it without any trouble, basically understanding almost every word written. Essentially Norwegian is written exactly as it is spoken, which leaves it looking a bit weird to danish eyes but imminently understandable. By contrast Danish is filled with silent letters, vowels which can be pronounced in a total of 20 different ways, all of which change the meaning of the word. Frankly, Danish is a ridiculously difficult language to grasp as a foreigner for those two reasons, whereas I would expect Norwegian to be that much easier to understand. Of course, that is without getting into Nynorsk, which was the Norwegian attempt at creating a language more distinct from Danish. They succeeded in that (feel like I am looking at fucking Icelandic at times with Nynorsk) but it never really caught on (10-15% of the population speak it as their official language) which has at least been immensely helpful in researching this update.

I would also like to ask all of you if you have any topics you would be interested in me covering in a feature. I won't be covering stuff past 1939 for now - I would need to take time and energy to figure out how I am going to have everything play out moving forward, but most other subjects should be game. I am limited in what I can research myself to knowledge about and niches I can get a proper understanding of though, so while you can be esoteric, bear that in mind.

This feature ended up coming about a lot quicker than I had anticipated, but as mentioned I don't want to make any promises on any real regularity with this. I am writing these when I want to clear my head a bit, but I do have a ton of other stuff I want to be writing on as well.
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The relationship between written Danish and Norwegian (Bokmål) is honestly a bit funny. As a Dane I can read it without any trouble, basically understanding almost every word written. Essentially Norwegian is written exactly as it is spoken, which leaves it looking a bit weird to danish eyes but imminently understandable. By contrast Danish is filled with silent letters, vowels which can be pronounced in a total of 20 different ways, all of which change the meaning of the word. Frankly, Danish is a ridiculously difficult language to grasp as a foreigner for those two reasons, whereas I would expect Norwegian to be that much easier to understand.
No, Danish is simple, all you do as a Swede, is have a couple of Shots of Absolut and then you are golden:)
No, Danish is simple, all you do as a Swede, is have a couple of Shots of Absolut and then you are golden:)
Lmao, Norwegians say we speak like we have a potato in the mouth and Swedes that we sound like drunkards - to me it sounds like both are trying to sing in some half-incomprehensible accent most of the time. Norwegian is fine once you start picking out the words, most exist in some form in Danish as well and most of the time it just sounds like a difficult dialect, but with Swedish it is a fucking crapshoot. You have the same or very similar words, but where the meaning is different, and just straight up words which don't exist in Danish - it makes it a lot more difficult to read and listen to at least compared to Norwegian.

One thing I have found rather interesting about getting a better understanding of East Asia and East Asian languages, is that Chinese has that same sort of lyrical quality where the tone of voice shifts immensely during their speech, while Korean is a lot more staccato and monotone in sound - as Danish is for the most part. It has gotten me wondering about other languages and whether you can see similar patterns. French is famously lyrical, but I would say there is a similar quality in all of the Latin-based languages. Slavic languages, to my ears at least, fit more in the sharp staccato category.
What is the relations status between Norway and Germany ?

Neutral, although the Great War period's dislike of the Germans has persisted. Norway is far, far more oriented towards Great Britain - also have pretty decent ties to America and are among the most friendly non-International countries in the world when it comes to the Soviets.
Hi everyone, sorry I don't have a feature for you this time around. Just wanted to shamelessly canvas for votes on the turtledoves.

I got a temp position this week (thank god, I have been puttering about at home with nothing to do but write for far too long) which runs till the end of March, so I have no clue how much time I will have to write on another feature. I would like to get one out sometime in around two weeks or so, no promises though.
Hi everyone, sorry I don't have a feature for you this time around. Just wanted to shamelessly canvas for votes on the turtledoves.

I got a temp position this week (thank god, I have been puttering about at home with nothing to do but write for far too long) which runs till the end of March, so I have no clue how much time I will have to write on another feature. I would like to get one out sometime in around two weeks or so, no promises though.
don't worry, I voted for you;)
What's the status of pan-Scandinavianism ITTL? For whatever reason I can't get the image out of my mind of the Scandinavian Left coming together in Workers' Solidarity...

Of course with the interesting "close-but-yet-so-far" language barriers you've mentioned...
What's the status of pan-Scandinavianism ITTL? For whatever reason I can't get the image out of my mind of the Scandinavian Left coming together in Workers' Solidarity...

Of course with the interesting "close-but-yet-so-far" language barriers you've mentioned...

I mean, Scandinavianism had no real advocates or support since the mid-1800s, so it is not like there is any significant impetus for it here. If anything whereas IOTL, the Nordic countries seemed to converge towards a common mean, ITTL I see it as far, far more likely that they diverge and move in their respective directions instead.

Danish Socialdemokraterne are significantly further to the right than either Arbeiderpartiet or Bondepartiet in Norway - hell, in attitude towards the far-left they are probably more forcefully opposed than even the Norwegian right-wing.
I mean, Scandinavianism had no real advocates or support since the mid-1800s, so it is not like there is any significant impetus for it here. If anything whereas IOTL, the Nordic countries seemed to converge towards a common mean, ITTL I see it as far, far more likely that they diverge and move in their respective directions instead.

Danish Socialdemokraterne are significantly further to the right than either Arbeiderpartiet or Bondepartiet in Norway - hell, in attitude towards the far-left they are probably more forcefully opposed than even the Norwegian right-wing.
Pardon my shameless self-promotion, but on the topic of Scandinavia, my next TL will be a Kalmar Union wank.
Pardon my shameless self-promotion, but on the topic of Scandinavia, my next TL will be a Kalmar Union wank.

Lmao, I will grant it, so long as I am able to point out I have a timeline where I do exactly that (hell, IIRC I do it in both of my other timelines, but The Dead Live is so long ago that I have a hard time remembering).

Anyway, I think it would be hard to outdo the success of the Oldenburg's rule of the region in Their Cross To Bear.
Feature: Scandinavia - Sweden
Feature: Scandinavia - Sweden


King Gustaf V of Sweden

Paranoia in the North​

In contrast to Norway, and to an extent Denmark, Sweden had been undergoing significant industrial development since the 1870s, initially oriented towards international markets but increasingly with an additional eye towards the growing demands of the increasingly prosperous home market. Sweden saw the development of railroads already in the 1860s, and was an eager adopter of the railroad, such that by the 1900s the country had by and large been tied together, with only the Inland Line connecting the central parts of northern Sweden still under development. Swedish industrial development centered predominantly on large and highly international corporations, tied inextricably to the global markets and prominent feature players in European economic landscape. The early 20th century would see the further rise of a string of broad export-oriented engineering corporations such as the telecommunications company Stockholms Allmänna Telefonaktiebolag, later to be known by its founder's name of Ericsson, the electrical company ASEA, the engineering company AB Separator, the ball bearing corporation SKF or the automobile company Volvo (1).

The pre-Great War period more generally was marked by remarkable economic, political and social progress, with an extension of the franchise to universal manhood suffrage and proportional representation in both houses of government achieved by 1907 alongside an extensive series of social reforms, a massive improvement in health, fueled in part by the introduction of compulsory gymnastics in Swedish schools in 1880, and a remarkable degree of political stability and coalition rule. This period would also see a significant strengthening of the Swedish Army in response to growing international tensions and the adoption of increasingly protectionist trade policies in an effort to protect the powerful small-holder population of Sweden. During the early 20th century, the sympathies of the Swedish monarchy and military were widely believed to rest with the Germans, partly for cultural reasons and partially out of fear of the Russian Empire. It came so far that in 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, King Oscar II of Sweden even considered an offensive alliance with the Ottomans to exploit the situation, and in 1910 the general staffs of Germany and Sweden met in secret to discuss plans for a joint offensive against Saint Petersburg, although this meeting ended without a binding agreement. This affinity with Germany extended into the ranks of the social-democratic politicians, with many viewing Germany's social security system, industrial and scientific achievements and the German left-wing ideologues as inspirational. However, as the Great War neared, Sweden found itself not under the control of its Germanophile left-wing or monarchist elements, but rather under the pacifist and pro-neutral Liberals of Karl Staaf (2).

In the immediate leadup to the great war, the liberal government of Karl Staff tried to reduce military spending and attempted the cancellation of an order for coastal defence ships. In response, more than 30,000 Swedish farmers descended on Stockholm to protest the matter. In response to the protests, King Gustaf V gave a speech prepared by the pro-German explorer Sven Hedin in the courtyard of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, sympathizing with the peasants' cause and arguing for higher military spending. This speech prompted intense recriminations and a constitutional crisis over the crown's involvement in governmental affairs, as the liberal government sought to silence the monarch. However, King Gustaf refused to back down and continued to hammer the importance of defense spending, culminating in Karl Staff and his government's resignation in protest. This played well into the hands of the King, who soon championed the ascension of a conservative government under Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, just in time for the July Crisis and subsequent Great War (3).

While strongly pro-German at the start of the war, Sweden continued to maintain the neutrality it had professed since the Vienna Congress and remained outside the war. In early 1915, Arthur Zimmermann, Undersecretary of State at the German Foreign Ministry at the time, approached Hammarskjöld while he was on a visit in Berlin with an offer of forming a "Nordic Block" under Swedish leadership in return for a Swedish-German alliance. While this offer was rebuffed, Zimmermann soon followed up with an offer of a renewed Swedish Empire including Finland and the Baltic Provinces of the Russian Empire. However, while King Gustaf expressed his interest, the matter was largely frowned upon by the political leadership. Successive efforts at recruiting Sweden for the German war effort would follow throughout the year, both from a royalist and leftist approach without success. Notably this period saw Swedish exports to Germany massively expand, including numerous critical military resources which did wonders for the German ability to resist the ongoing Entente blockade. Sweden would even give the Germans use of their diplomatic communications pathways, allowing the Germans to communicate with their embassies around the world. While the Germans attempted to pressure the Swedes into mining their side of the Danish straits at the start of the war, as they had with the Danes, this efforts ultimately failed in the face of stiff Swedish opposition and the Germans relented in return for a promise that Swedish lighthouses in the Øresund would be switched off and markers showing the way through the channel would be removed if the Royal Navy entered the Sound. However, following a series of British infiltrations of the Baltic which successfully sank German merchant shipping and an armored cruiser, the Germans renewed their pressure on the Swedes, ultimately leading to the mining of the Kogrund Channel though the Øresund straits in late July 1916 (4).

The mining of the channel drew sharp criticism from the Entente, but despite this both Germany and Britain remained highly reliant on Swedish iron ore for their military needs - the British importing a total of 5-600,000 tons annually during the war, when the entire British national stock of iron ore in June of 1916 had reached 253,000 tons. Both Britain and Germany needed Swedish iron to forge their arms of war. Nevertheless, Sweden found itself increasingly pressured by the food shortages caused by the Allied blockade on imports and, when combined with a poor 1916 harvest, the Swedish government began to ration bread, sugar and flour in early 1917. With the American entry into the war, the ability of the Swedes to dictate the terms of their trade shrank as American coal and steel began to fill the gap, and the Allies were now able to present a request to the Swedes for a reduction in iron ore exports to Germany in return for increased food supplies from the Germans. Despite the food shortages, however, Hammarskjöld remained resistant to such an agreement, fearing that the Germans would see such a matter as them favoring the Allies. Greatly angered, the Allies strengthened the blockade further in an attempt to force the Swedes into compliance with their blockade, even as Swedish ships found themselves increasingly in the sights of German U-boats for their British trade (4).

As the situation worsened and Hammarskjöld remained steadfast in his refusal to cooperate with the Entente, his own allies in the Swedish parliament began to turn against him. In early 1917 this would culminate in public protests over food shortages, the failure of the Riksdag to approve increased defence spending and a revolt from Hammarskjöld's own supporters, forcing Hammarskjöld's resignation. To succeed him, King Gustaf turned to the conservative Ernst Trygger to form a government, but when he failed to find sufficient backing in the Riksdag, it became the turn of the equally conservative Carl Swartz to make his go at leadership by March of 1917. However, Swartz was equally unable to handle the situation, which rapidly escalated in response to harsh policing of the "hunger marches", even as the food situation in Sweden worsened and the government was forced to extend rationing to include even potatoes. As order began to break down, the conflict neared its climax in early June of 1917 when 20,000 people assembled near the Riksdag in Stockholm to hear Carl Swartz reply to Hjalmar Branting's demand for universal suffrage and constitutional reform were dispersed by mounted police. However, Swartz's actions would prove a step too much and in the September elections of that year he would find himself unseated in favor of the Liberal government of Nils Edén. With Social Democratic backing, Edén pressed forward with the demands for reform, including the 9-hour work day, improved living conditions, social reforms and an acquiescence to the Entente's demands for a significant reduction in trade with the Germans, to the open outrage of King Gustaf and the conservatives (4).

The turn against the Germans could hardly have come at a worse time, as the German U-boats increased their activity in the North Sea, reaping large numbers of Swedish merchant ships in the process, even as the Finns began to break away from their Russian overlords. With the Germans peeved at the Swedish "betrayal" and the war seeming to turn in their favor in the east, the Germans threw their full support behind the claims from Finnish Whites, that the Åland Islands rightly belonged to the Grand Duchy of Finland and aided in the transfer of White Finn troops to the island, where they expelled the Russian garrison following a short standoff. Outraged at the occupation of the islands by German and Finn forces, the Swedish government lodged protests with the government in Berlin while Gustaf publicly blamed the new Edén government for their failure to capitalize on the situation. When the young state of Finland subsequently collapsed into civil war between White and Red factions, the official Swedish aid to the Whites proved extremely limited as a result, although a significant contingent of Swedes did volunteer for service with the White forces under the direction of the Finland Vänner organization. Most significant of these volunteers would be the historian Olof Palme, who would subsequently publish a deeply scathing history of the war, in which he lambasted the Liberal government's failure to aid their Finnish cousins (5).


First of May Protests in 1917​

The cumulative failures of the liberal government, first turning against the Germans, then failing to secure the Åland Islands and finally their unwillingness to actively aid the White Finn effort in that country's civil war were to send shockwaves through Swedish politics and enliven the conservative opposition. At the same time, Hjalmar Branting, who lead the Swedish Social Democratic Party and had provided backing for Nils Edén's Liberal government grew hesitant at the prospect of being dragged into the same political mire as the Liberals. This breach came at a deeply inopportune moment, for Branting and Edén had been working towards securing a firm end to royal power in Sweden and a transition to full parliamentary democracy under universal suffrage. Thus Sweden found itself in the grip of two simultaneous but fundamentally opposed forces. Reform and Reaction (6).

While 1918 was marked foremost by the Russian unravelling and the failures of Finnish adventure, by the end of the year the government had turned its attentions fully towards securing universal suffrage. A key factor in this was undoubtedly the Russian Revolution and the galvanizing effect the events of 1917 had held for the Swedish masses, with particularly the Social Democrats pressing forward, dragging the Liberals along under threat of popular unrest. Given the already fragile political state of Sweden, and the still ongoing wartime deprivations, the fear that the Social Democrats would turn towards more radical revolutionary action impelled Edén towards concessions. By the calling of the 1919 Riksdag, all the fundamental pieces had been aligned for a radical package of political and social reforms (6).

Firstly, the new bill would abolish the political tax line, which limited voting to tax-paying males, and extended the right to vote to women. It further reformed the system of poorhouses, poor auctions and child auctions which had long been used as a remedy to poverty in Sweden, established an 8-hour working day and reduced the training time of conscripts. All of these efforts ultimately passed with the backing of the Social Democrats, Liberals and a couple minor parties. A major reshuffling of the ministerial structures followed while school boards were formed uniting all educational institutions below the university level and a new sliding tax scale on income and wealth tax adjusted yearly was introduced. There was, however, one major area which the right-wing had succeeded in stemming the reformers on. Control over Sweden's foreign policy had largely been kept in the hands of royal appointees during the preceding decade, and at this point the reformers had attempted to end this last major bastion of royal power. However, with the successive foreign policy failures of the government, the conservatives were able to muster a rear-guard action and ultimately retained this power in royal hands (6).

Even as the negotiations for the end of the Great War were coming about in Copenhagen, in Sweden preparations for the first election under universal suffrage were set to begin in early 1920. On the conservative side it would be between the more moderate Arvid Lindman, who had already been a prominent figure on the right and served as prime minister once between 1906 and 1911, and the hardline conservative Ernst Trygger, who had already been sidestepped once in favor of Swartz. However, 1920 was not 1917 and Trygger found himself more than vindicated in his positions. A staunchly monarchist voice who had loudly decried the government's failures to intervene in Finland, Trygger was able to present himself as the powerful leader necessary to tackling the seeming threatened collapse of Swedish society and ultimately emerged victorious in the struggle with Lindman. With King Gustaf's full backing, Trygger set about fiercely denouncing the liberal government as little better than stooges of the Social Democrats, who he equally painted as possessing a dangerously revolutionary spirit - a conviction further strengthened by the large number of pro-Socialist voices in the party (7).

This characterization was somewhat unfair, for the Swedish Social Democratic Party was itself bitterly split over the question of Revolutionary Socialism as promoted by the Red factions of Russia's civil war. At varying points it seemed as though the party itself was on the verge of splintering, but by the time of the 1920 elections the party remained united. Thus, entering the 1920 elections the situation looked particularly dire for the Liberals, who were increasingly seen as subordinate to the Social Democrats, while the conservative Electoral League looked set to experience significant forward progress. All that remained was whether the Conservatives would be able to match the Social Democrats, who all expected to secure the greatest margin of votes. The results were to prove a surprise nonetheless, while the Liberals lost seats and the Electoral League won them, the elections were to see a key shift in the Liberal party as Edén was toppled from leadership in favor of the former farmhand and fierce prohibitionist Carl Gustaf Ekman. Ekman had long been viewed as something amounting to a "class traitor" by the Social Democrats for his policies and when he led the Liberals into coalition with the archconservative Trygger this only seemed further proven. In return for Conservative support for prohibition, Ekman essentially turned entirely to support of the conservative government. Ernst Trygger was to be the next Prime Minister of Sweden, the first so elected under universal suffrage - a fact the Conservatives would not be slow to remind the Social Democrats of in the years that followed (7).


Ernst Trygger, Prime Minister of Sweden from 1920 to 1933​

Trygger's rise to power was to mark the beginnings of a period of significant political tensions within and between the political camps in Sweden. During this period each of the political parties in Sweden experienced turmoil and uncertainty in turn. The first party to find itself engulfed in an internal crisis were the Liberals, who split both over Ekman's alliance with Trygger and the issue of prohibition, which the Liberals had not even been in agreement on when Ekman announced his support for the conservative government. Divided over the issues of prohibition and political alignment with the conservatives, the party eventually broke into two with Ekman leading the "Free-Spirited People's Party" while his scattering of opponents sought unity under the Liberal Party banner, but soon they found themselves so enmeshed in internal strife that this successor party had fractured by 1922, ending any meaningful Liberal alternative to Ekman. With Ekman firmly in control and Trygger supportive of it, the Swedish government soon set to work on a slate of alcohol prohibition bills which would secure passage in late 1921 and early 1922 (8).

For the Swedish left-wing, the rise of Trygger's government was met with intense worry and fierce resistance. Labor unrest and protests broke out with incredible regularity, at times even matching the intensity of strikes in Norway during this period, with many accusing the Social Democrats of misusing their influence on labor unions to enflame social tensions. However, in contrast to the Norwegian decision to compromise, in Sweden Trygger proved determined to face the resistance head on and over the course of the next several years he found himself pressed to the very edge of forceful suppression, though this was avoided through sheer luck and restraint on both sides - with Hjalmar Branting proving an absolutely invaluable voice in calming his Social Democratic colleagues and maintaining national order. However, this very centrality of Branting to the maintenance of peace and order was to prove short lived, for the famous old politician who had shepherded the Social Democrats to political relevance would breath his last in February of 1925, setting the stage for what would turn out to be an astonishingly vicious leadership struggle within the party. Long split between moderates, who had held the upper hand under Branting, and its radical wing, who drew inspiration from the achievements of the Communists in Moscow and the Norwegian Arbeiderparti and wanted to take a more aggressive line against the government (9).

At the heart of this struggle were the moderate Per Albin Hansson and the radical Zeth Höglund. Hansson was very much the protégé and successor to Branting, having succeeded him as editor of Social-Demokraten and worked alongside him in the days of the suffrage reforms - while a decently well-liked politician, he was popular more for his relationship to Branting than in his own right. For Höglund it was the exact opposite. One of Sweden's most prominent anti-war activists and a prominent figure in the pre-war international socialist movement, Höglund had spent much of the war imprisoned for his anti-war endeavors and had close personal friendships with many of the leading pre-war Bolsheviks - famously having donated money to a struggling Bolshevik cause before the start of the war. Since his release from prison in 1918, Höglund had been following events in Russia closely, at times with joy, at others with horror, but always with sympathy for the Communist cause. Agitating against the Social Democratic Party's reformist policies, Zeth had built a sizable following within the party, and had become particularly popular with its younger members. At varying points he had very nearly broken with the party, but following correspondence with Bukharin and other leading Muscovite leaders he had sought to exert change from within the party, and with Branting's death he finally saw his chance to bring properly revolutionary ideals to the party (9).

The conflict over leadership of the Social Democrats was more wide-reaching than just determining the policy alignment of the party - it was closely followed by the Trygger Government and the Swedish right-wing more generally with great interest and worry. Should Hansson win, many believed that Sweden would enter a path similar to that of Germany - the Social Democrats becoming part of and eventually dominating the political main stream through compromise and electoral weight of numbers. However, if Höglund were to take leadership many feared that he would use his sway over what was growing to be Sweden's largest party to launch a Communist Revolution, inspired by his Bolshevik comrades of yesteryear. This was a fear which saturated the right-wing of Swedish society, and became a point of considerable rhetorical weight, and a fear which began to spill into the right-wing of the Social Democrats as well. Höglund's open radicalism made him popular, yes, but it also made him feared and when the party conference to select the next Social Democratic leader came that was to prove the thrust of Hansson and his supporters' arguments. By contrast, Höglund would focus his arguments on what he called the "spinelessness" of the current Social Democratic leadership and the need to demonstrate the power of Labor in Sweden if they were to ever have a hope of improving the lives and working conditions for Sweden's laboring classes. A gifted speaker with considerable personal appeal, when Höglund was set side-by-side with the far less flamboyant Hansson, the contrast could not have been starker. Cheered by the younger ranks of the party and having swayed the body of the party, Zeth Höglund was selected to lead the party into the future to the considerable frustration of the moderate leadership, who saw themselves undercut from the left (9).

Höglund's rise to leadership was an added weight to an already troubled Trygger Government, who found themselves increasingly worried about their geopolitical position. The latter half of the 1920s would see a growing sense of envelopment and encroachment by left-wing forces spread through Swedish society, enflaming right-wing sentiments and promoting a sense of paranoid fear of a coordinated left-wing threat from both foreign and domestic enemies. Most worrying were obviously the Soviet Republic, which had finally secured firm control of the entirety of its Russian possessions by the end of the decade with the Siberian Conquest, but the rise of Arbeiderpartiet in Norway, Stauning's Socialdemokrater in Denmark and the SPD in Germany all added to Sweden's national security fears. In response to these pressures, Trygger's government turned to their Finnish neighbors in search of allies in these dark and fearful times, with foreign minister Baron Erik Marks von Württemberg negotiating a string of diplomatic agreements with the government in Finland, culminating in the signing of a military alliance in 1931. Additional entreaties would be made to the governments of Britain and France in the Swedish search for allies with less success, before Swedish diplomats began to report back on the developments in Iberia, where Integralist states were rising to prominence. While unable to build direct ties to these states, they were to prove an intellectual inspiration for many on the Swedish right-wing, who feared the rising left-wing and felt the need for a reactionary alternative (10).

By the start of the 1930s, various political developments and social currents were coming to a head and Trygger's long leadership of Sweden was nearing its end. During the preceding decade, a rising reactionary current had been shielded by the Prime Minister from scrutiny, and as the Swedish labor movement under Höglund grew ever more active, these efforts came into play. A key player in this was the historian-turned-professor-turned-politician Olof Palme, who had secured nation-wide fame for his participation in the Finnish Civil War and his subsequent lambasting of the Edén government. An intensely gifted writer and thinker, Palme returned to a professorship at Uppsala University and began to formulate and promulgate what would in time come to be seen as the Swedish counterpart to the Latin Integralist movement shortly after the end of his time as a volunteer in Finland - the New Sweden Movement had been born. Working in concert with young and eager students such as Per Engdahl and Bengt Petri, they developed an ideological framework based around Swedish ultra-nationalism, Integralist corporatism and fiercely anti-socialist. In time this expanded to include elements of Nordic agrarian policies, in an effort to appeal to the already receptive Peasants' Party, and overt monarchism. As a prominent public figure, Palme was able to meet and influence many prominent figures and in 1929 was able to secure election to the Riksdag as a member of the Electoral League alongside Fritiof Domö and Martin Skoglund, the former bringing industrial ties and the latter a direct connection to the peasantry. It would be this trio, Palme, Domö and Skoglund, who rapidly ascended to lead a massive and growing faction within the ruling party as events in Sweden grew ever more tense (11).

Following Höglund's selection to lead the Social Democrats, the state of labor in Sweden had become one of near-unceasing unrest. Strikes, lockouts and protests were a nation-wide and monthly phenomenon which provoked fear and anger in conservative ranks. Fearful of what this internal enemy might do if urged on by their international allies, Lieutenant General Bror Munck began to form a volunteer free corps, known as Munckska Kåren, with the explicit purpose of protecting Sweden from a potential Communist takeover. Not only did the Munck Corps receive the tacit support of the Conservative government, but figures such as Palme and Konrad Hallgren, who were leaders of the Swedish Far-Right. Training proceeded apace and weaponry was secured from Stockholm Chief of Police Gustaf Hårleman - numbering in the hundreds of rifles, pistols and cartridges, as well as a full 40 machine guns. Underground, training and armed, the Corps remained a force hidden but ready for action should it be needed. A second major force in the events to come lay with the businessman Ivar Kreuger. A massively successful businessman of right-wing beliefs, Kreuger played a key role in financing and developing not just the Munck Corps, but various other right-wing organizations and movements in preparation for a Communist revolt. (11).

Everything came to a head with the assassination of Prime Minister Ernst Trygger in early 1933. Gunned down by masked men as he was arriving at the Chancellery building at Mynttorget in the February darkness, the shock of the long-sitting Prime Minister's death and the disappearance of his killers could not have been greater. As word of the Prime Minister's assassination spread, horror and outrage soon followed. In the morning session at the Riksdag, Olof Palme rose and accused the Social Democrats of being responsible, while right-wing newspapers across Sweden blared that the Prime Minister had been murdered by Communists. Still struggling to determine what had happened, King Gustaf erupted with rage at the murder of his close personal friend and long-time confidant. Unsure of who could be trusted to maintain the interim government while the next Prime Minister was selected, the King ultimately settled on recalling the long-retired Arvid Lindman to take office. However, before Lindman could even arrive in Stockholm, the situation had further escalated when an ongoing strike in Södermalm turned violent and half a dozen protesters and a pair of policemen were left dead in the aftermath (12).

Tensions ratcheted up another notch, as right-wing papers cried out that the Communists were coming, while the left-wing press screamed that it was all a cruel set-up and some papers even called for a general strike to demonstrate the power of worker solidarity in the face of right-wing tyranny, though Social Democratic party leaders hesitated from joining these calls. Nevertheless, all the Munck Corps needed to jump was the fear that action was coming under way. Called up by Lieutenant General Munck, the Free Corps emerged from hiding and rushed to secure control of key sectors of Stockholm in the early morning of the 19th of February, aided by complicit police forces and right-wing sympathizers in the government. The coup occurred with such a speed that few had even realized what was going on before they had fallen into the Munck Corps' hands. Höglund, Hansson and most of the rest of the Social Democratic leadership were caught either as they arrived at the Riksdag or still abed at home, while Olof Palme joined Lieutenant General Bror Munck in marching for the Royal Palace to present King Gustaf with their version of events and to ask for his blessing for their actions. A disorganized attempted rising by the inhabitants of Södermalm was dispersed by warning shots while another attempted protest in the Old City saw most of the participants arrested by police. As though a sudden ripple had torn across the city and then disappeared, the coup came and passed, the far-right quite abruptly in control (12).

With Stockholm in hand, and King Gustaf giving his hesitant backing to the coup-makers, order was soon restored and control extended across the rest of Sweden. In Norrköping, one of the largest industrial cities in northern Europe, a general strike was declared by the local trade unions and calls for the formation of Red Guard regiments went out, but with royal blessing the Swedish Army was sent in to quell the unrest, arresting any who protested and dispersing a crowd of angry protestors at the Motala Verkstad, with similar actions occurring at Göteborg and Malmö. Despite the large and widespread left-wing movement in Sweden, leaderless, confused, surprised and faced with the threat of military force, the laboring classes surrendered without much of a fight. In a proclamation by the coup leaders, the Social Democratic Party was outlawed alongside any and all other left-wing parties, organizations and institutions, with trade unions urged to immediately take contact with government offices to arrange for the transition to an "unideological" basis of existence. New elections were announced, but instead of Lindman as care-taker, King Gustaf now announced that it would be undertaken under the guidance of Lieutenant General Bror Munck (12).

The elections, however, would have to wait for now. With Munck now named as interim Prime Minister, the coup makers set about purging the Swedish Left. A massive crackdown saw hundreds imprisoned and several thousand more flee across the border to Norway, where they found themselves welcomed by a confused but concerned Norwegian Arbeiderparti, already embattled and struggling to deal with their own right-wing opposition. This was also a time of incredible change at the political level in Sweden, for with Trygger's death, leadership of his party and the wider political consensus of the pre-coup status quo had been utterly shattered. Olof Palme and his allies, who were rising with unheard speed to the top of Swedish politics, finally broke with the old structures and declared the formation of the New Swedish People's Party (Nysvenska Folkpartiet), which they claimed would serve as the vehicle for Sweden's transformation into a power capable of resisting the insidiousness of the Communist, Socialist and Foreigner. Support for the new party was overwhelming, drawing in near two-thirds of the Electoral League, half of the Peasants Party's membership and a good quarter of the Free-Spirited People's Party. To counter the rise of the NSPP, members of the Electoral League and Free-Spirited People's Party united to form the Liberal-Conservative Party, uniting social conservatism with liberal economic policies, decrying the Munck Coup and calling for a return to "Swedish Democracy". Finally, realizing that they would need to adapt or die after the NSPP undercut their agrarian primacy, the Peasant's Party under Axel Alarik Pehrsson-Bramstorp adopted the name of Christian Solidarity, merging their agrarian policies with principles of Christian Solidarity, effectively advocating a wide range of social reforms aimed at coopting the former voting base of the Social Democrats, but shielding it under a layer of religious social policies. Thus reforged, the Swedish political spectrum now housed three main parties, the New Swedish People's Party on the right, the Liberal-Conservative Party in the center and the Christian Solidarity on the left (13).

As the turmoil gripping Sweden came to an end in early Summer, work on the elections came under way, culminating in the Swedish Elections of August 1933. Surprising many, Lieutenant General Munck had refrained from standing for election, and instead announced that he would be returning to military service following the elections. Thus it became a race between Olof Palme, Axel Pehrsson-Bramstorp and Gösta Bagge, the leader of the Liberal-Conservatives, and to the surprise of almost no-one, Palme and his New Swedish People's Party secured a massive victory. With the groundwork laid in the months after the coup, Palme and his supporters were able to pave the way for their rise to the top, and thus it was that the one-time volunteer in Finland's Civil War rose to the post of Prime Minister of Sweden. Palme would spend his first few years consolidating his hold on power and setting in motion a swarm of social, political and military reforms aimed at preparing Sweden should they find themselves attacked by their left-wing neighbors. However, foreign news was soon to prove this paranoia overblown, when first the Norwegian Tranmæl Government fell, then Thorvald Stauning was gunned down in Copenhagen, an eerie reminder of what had happened to Trygge which would draw in conspiracy theorists for decades to follow, and finally the German outcry at the Krivitsky Case saw Sweden's encirclement swept away in a bare couple years. Diplomatic efforts at reconnecting with Sweden's "liberated" neighbors soon followed, met with bemused interest by the Germans and Danes, though less welcomed in Norway, which still housed many Swedish left-wing exiles (13).

(1) Sweden's industrial development was a lot more "normal" in a lot of ways than that of Denmark or Norway - large corporations wielding economies of scale and their vast natural resources to fighting on an even footing with other European corporate monsters. I think it might have to do a bit with Sweden's geography as well, with the country only really suited for largescale settlement in specific small areas, so you get these large industrial corridors near Stockholm, Malmö or Göteborg which see industrial specialization and intensive settlement, while vast tracts of land are left sparsely populated by small resource-extraction oriented mining or lumber towns and small-holder peasant settlements.

(2) More setup of OTL. Much as it pains me as a Dane, the Swedes had a pretty good setup going pre-Great War and were implementing a lot of meaningful reforms. In fact, as we will see, their main issue probably lay in the monarchy and military's efforts at circumventing the parliamentary system.

(3) This is known as the Courtyard Crisis. While Hammarskjöld was appointed as Prime Minister, debate over the issue of defense spending and particularly the King's role in Swedish politics remained a subject of intense debate right up until Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo.

(4) All OTL. I am going into detail with Sweden's Great War experience because it is here our PoD will strike. One thing I have found rather fascinating as I have dug into the Scandinavian experience of the Great War is how much the countries were impacted and pressured despite their neutrality.

(5) Here we get the first major butterfly. While the Swedes ended trade with Germany IOTL as well, here the changed circumstances on the Eastern Front result in the Germans being more willing to be standoffish with their Swedish counterparts and, instead of supporting Swedish claims to the Ã…land Islands and aiding in their occupation, the Germans instead use this opportunity to strengthen their ties with the Finns, allowing them to lead the occupation of the islands. This in turn leads to a significantly reduced official backing of the Whites during the Civil War, although the private support does happen as per OTL, and the Swedish government ends up looking incredibly bad coming out of this. An initially minor butterfly of all this is that Olof Palme, who IOTL was the first Swedish casualty of the war, survives and makes it home to continue writing right-wing historical polemics - he also happens to be the uncle and namesake of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister who was murdered in 1986 IOTL.

(6) Compared to OTL, Sweden's transition towards parliamentary democracy is proving a lot more fraught and combative. Rather than spelling the final end of Royal Power, this period ends up becoming one of intense political division and partisanship as the conservatives mount a comeback over the Liberal-Social Democratic handling of the Great War. Many of the reforms are based on OTL, but ITTL the government failed to secure complete control of foreign policy and are unable to quite suppress the monarchical powers in the way they did IOTL.

(7) IOTL Trygger ultimately did emerge as the leader of the conservative (Electoral League) party in Sweden, but here the situation is far, far more favorable to him and to the right-wing more generally. The government's failures in Finland are something which has brought widespread dissatisfaction and Trygger is playing the nationalistic outrage therefrom very well here. That is what allows him to firmly push aside Arvid Lindman and take centerstage. IOTL Trygger ended up as Prime Minister for a short interlude in the early 1920s, but I want to make clear that the political circumstances are far more favorable to him this time around and that both the Liberals and Social Democrats are in a worse position here. As for the continued unity of the Social Democrats, I thought the OTL split was quite closely predicated on the sudden escalation of revolutionary forces within the party in the immediate aftermath of the October Revolution. With things playing out at a slower pace, the Social Democratic Party doesn't attempt its "muzzle charter" which IOTL ended up driving the entire youth movement out of the party. Instead the conflict remains of an intra-party nature and causes a great deal of internal strife for the Social Democrats.

(8) I have Ekman acting a bit more forward than IRL and pressing his central cause a bit more forcefully. IOTL the Liberal party broke into these factions as well, but here I have the Free-Spirited come out much more clearly ahead far earlier. Primarily I am working off the assumption that Edén and his faction were the primary force behind the OTL Liberal Party which broke from the Free-Spirited, and that this faction has been utterly crippled by the butterflies in Sweden, as such they collapse and are essentially defunct by 1924 instead of continuing on with a split Liberal movement until 1934, when they united IOTL.

(9) So with the Social Democrats having remained united up till this point, the radical wing is far, far stronger and make a major impact. With Branting's death Höglund is able to emerge victorious in the leadership struggle with Hansson, setting Sweden on a significantly different path from OTL. IOTL Hansson succeeded Branting and basically set the entire framework for Sweden's welfare state and sat as Prime Minister from 1932-1946. Very few Swedish leaders have had as much of an influence on the modern Swedish state as he has had, so him losing out in the leadership struggle here is big. IOTL Höglund was leader of the first split of the Social Democrats and entered the Comintern at the head of the Swedish Communist Party, only to fall out with the Soviets following Lenin's death and eventually making his way back to the Social Democrats while the Swedish far-left splintered and descended into intense infighting. He was Mayor of Stockholm from 1940-1950 and remained committed to Leninist ideological principles even as part of the Social Democrats until his death in 1956.

(10) I am breezing through the 1920s a bit quickly, but basically the alliance between the Free-Spirited People's Party under Ekman and Trygger's Electoral League hold through the decade and are able to stave off the rising left-wing. Another political force I have been neglecting almost entirely in this period are the Peasants' Party, who were an important fourth-place force in Swedish politics and built an alliance with the Social Democrats IOTL. Here the added fear of the left-wing keeps the Peasants Party from allying with the Social Democrats, and they instead remain an occasional partner of the government, while not being a part of it. It took me a bit to realize, but when you look at a map from the Swedish perspective in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it becomes a very threatening picture from the right-wing perspective.

(11) Alright, a lot going on here. So basically I am using the survival of Olof Palme as a way of making the New Sweden movement significantly more prominent and inserting it into the Electoral League. One thing to note here is that Sweden's far-right movement is a lot more "native" in its inspirations and structure, with only loose inspiration from the Integralist Iberian movements - a sharp contrast to the Fascist and Nazi copy-cats who dominated the Swedish far-right IOTL and never really amounted to much as a result. Here it is very much an outgrowth of the Swedish right-wing fears and paranoia at being surrounded by Social Democratic/Socialist/Communist states mixing with illiberal Swedish Monarchism and agrarian conservatism - all forces very much present IRL in Sweden at the time. IOTL the Munck Corps was actually revealed by Hallgren, who was leading one of the main fascist movements in Sweden at the time as part of an internal power struggle in that movement - Hallgren's rival had been behind the weapon's shipment and revealing it undermined that rival. It was a pretty significant scandal at the time, particularly considering it was a left-wing Social Democratic government in power at the time. As for Ivar Kreuger, IOTL he was a major financier ruined by the Great Depression, who had provided funding to Prime Minister CG Ekman and more generally to right-wing causes. His bankruptcy and subsequent death by gunshot (likely a suicide but unclear) unleashed a massive scandal in Sweden since Kreuger had taken major loans from the government and central bank with the support of Ekman's government, and his death and bankruptcy nearly crashed the Swedish economy. Here he survives and thrives without the Great Depression, becoming a primary financier of the Swedish right-wing.

(12) What exactly happened? Who killed Trygger? Why was he killed? Was it really the Communists? Or was it an inside job, a false flag? Those are the sorts of questions which will swirl around the events of the Mynttorget Incident ITTL and I don't quite feel like answering any of those. I think it is better to let you guys speculate and make your own conclusions. I know that the sheer scale of the coup's success is pretty stunning, but I would remind you that Sweden had already been under Conservative rule since the early 1920s, and there are plenty of people willing to throw in with the new government. It is wildly successful and catches just about the entire left-wing by surprise. Luck and the existing elements I had previously enumerated - Munck's Corps, Kreuger and the New Swedish Movement - are what win this for the Swedish right-wing. As for the fate of the Social Democratic leadership, many languish in prison for years, but more end up making it into exile - some going to Norway, others to Russia and a few further abroad.

(13) I know things are moving quickly here, but I do hope the justification is satisfactory. Basically we see a complete realignment of the Swedish political spectrum, with the New Swedes emerging as the dominant political power under Olof Palme. Democracy at least ostensibly remains in place, the left has just been firmly pushed out of the political spectrum. The Christian Democrats (Christian Solidarity) are trying to position themselves as an alternative to the Social Democrats, but are hesitant and careful in how they do so for obvious reasons. Ultimately, Sweden's far-right turn is timed pretty perfectly with what is happening in the countries around them (completely by coincidence, I am sure…) and ends up being part of the wider right-wing shift that occurs in Northern and Central Europe in this period.

End Note:
I really hope you guys enjoy this one. I think I ended up getting things to play out quite well with this one. I am sorry that it is a bit later than I mentioned I wanted it out, but, well… I have been a bit distracted these past couple weeks with having work this month and events in the Ukraine.

Given how much time I have spent researching and writing about that particular part of the world, the conflict got a bit too close for comfort when I thought of working on ADiJ. Had about two weeks where I just didn't even want to think about the timeline, but I am happy I got this feature update written.

It has been rather fascinating to dig into Sweden's history and contrasting it with its other Nordic neighbors. One thing that really struck me as I was researching was that the Swedish Monarchy was a lot more powerful than the Danish one up until the Great War. In fact, the Great War ends up looking like a truly crucial turning point in the power balance and the final end of Monarchical authority in Sweden. Additionally, it is the fall of Hammarskjöld and Skram, leading into the pairing of Edén and Branting which set the framework for the Social Democratic dominance which followed IOTL. Sweden's Social Democratic Party would go on to utterly dominate Swedish politics for decades to come, most of the century in fact, and it has been a rather intriguing challenge to consider a world in which it is the right-wing which ends out on top instead.

I have ended up using Olof Palme, who was the first man killed in the Swedish Brigade, as a stand-in for the far-right leader here mostly because his background works and I found none of the alternative IRL far-right leaders remotely possible as national leaders. He has been a pretty interesting character to consider, given how relatively little is really known about him. He really was cut down before he could make a name for himself, but considering the careers of many of his relatives I don't think this rise to prominence is out of the realm of the possible.

I look forward to seeing what you all think.
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Well… That certainly took a turn, didn’t it! It is very interesting that this Olof Palme is so different from his otl nephew. Ngl, I kinda hope that we see Norway and Denmark allying to liberate Sweden, although it might be unlikely. Perhaps they could get some territories back as a thanks heh ;)
Well… That certainly took a turn, didn’t it! It is very interesting that this Olof Palme is so different from his otl nephew. Ngl, I kinda hope that we see Norway and Denmark allying to liberate Sweden, although it might be unlikely. Perhaps they could get some territories back as a thanks heh ;)
My Father is fond of demanding that our former unruly vassals return to the motherland along with all their dependencies. Considering his rather loose interpretation of vassals to include England, it is a rather large territory he is asking for. :p

I found the dichotomy between Olof Palme Jr and Sr quite intriguing for that exact reason.

As for liberation... Don't know about that. One thing I wanted to do with this Scandinavian sequence was to explore a world in which the Nordic countries diverged, whereas iotl they seem to have converged on a common social and political paradigm, if with differences. Here we have Denmark firmly in German orbit, Norway openly sympathetic to the Soviets and Sweden descending into militant anti-Communist nationalism. Brother-nations divided by the ideological strife of ADiJ if you will. It will be interesting to explore how that divergence impacts the three states, given how many common elements they share.