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The Russia of the Tsar and North Norway. "The Russian Danger" Revisited

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The fear of Russia in Norway goes back far beyond the Russian Revolution. It played an important role in Norwegian Swedish foreign policies towards Russia from the 1830s and up to 1905 (and in Norwegian conceptions of threat between 1905 and 1917 as well, although the threat seems to have been more down-played in that period) (Nielsen 1994 95). In particular, there has been a fear of a possible attack on North-Norway. Roald Berg, in his recently published work entitled Norsk forsvarshistorie 1814-1905 (The History of the Norwegian Defence 1814 1905) presents evidence that the conception of a Russian danger was an issue in Norwegian military considerations as far back as in the 1820s and 1830s. According to Berg, it is evident that this idea was central in Norwegian military-strategic thought in the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century (Berg 2001: 112 115, 307-308). My purpose in this paper is to try to establish whether there was reason for this fear, that is, if there were any plans among the Russian authorities to conquer Norwegian territory in the period between the Eidsvoll Assembly and the storming of the Winter Palace (1814 1917).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-06-01

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