Northern Light – Norway Past and Present,

Nils-Johan Jørgensen

Utdrag ur boken. Kapitel 10.

A strong defense was seen as a key policy for Norway after the Second World War, together with support for the United Nations established in 1945, electing the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, as its first Secretary General. During the war Lie had begun a re-evaluation of our foreign policy, turning away from the neutrality position of former Foreign Minister Halvdan Koht to a policy of close cooperation with Great Britain and the USA. The German attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 made Stalin an ally in the war and Norway was determined to continue a good relationship with Moscow in a bridge building role between East and West. A superpower conflict would inevitably involve the northern areas, not least North Norway. Soviet forces had liberated the northern counties in 1945 but had withdrawn.

In 1945 the Soviet Union opened a KGB office in their embassy in Oslo and the aim was to develop contacts with politicians, Foreign Ministry employees, press and media and recruit agents in a secret war. Vasilij Mikrokhin’s handwritten archive indicates that they had some success. Oslo was interesting for Moscow as a window to Washington, London, Bonn and Brussels and the KGB succeeded in securing at least five agents during the Cold War, two in the government and three in the Foreign Ministry.

Halvard Lange replaced Trygve Lie as Foreign Minister and it soon became clear that Norway could no longer simply play the role of mediator and arbitrator. East Europe had fallen to the Soviet Union in domestic and foreign policy and become communist regimes. The fate of Czechoslovakia in 1948 made a deep impression in Norway. Western countries formed a defence alliance, the Western Union (absorbed into NATO), in the same year and the idea of creating a Scandinavian Defence Alliance was discussed, but it soon became clear that it would not be powerful enough. Sweden remained neutral, Norway and Denmark then started defence negotiations with the western powers at the beginning of 1949. Immediately, the Soviet Union warned the Norwegian Government against the Atlantic Treaty, referred to their common border in the north and demanded to know if Norway intended to join and establish military bases for allied forces. Norway replied that it was investigating the matter, but confirmed that it would not allow the establishment of foreign bases and storage of atomic weapons. Läs artikel