Monday, October 12, 2020

Northern Europe after World War II

Northern Europe
The smaller but still highly developed nations of northern Europe enjoyed a general period of prosperity during the late 1900s. The small principalities of Monaco and Liechtenstein managed to maintain their sovereignty,^ while Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands worked to foster European unity.

Denmark, Iceland, and Norway, members of the NATO alliance, contributed vitally to Western Europe’s defense during the Cold War. Despite a sometimes heated dispute with Britain over fishing rights, the island nation of Iceland played a key role in the protection of the Atlantic shipping lanes. So did Norway, which benefited greatly from the discovery and development of North Sea oil in the 1980s.

Although Finland, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland maintained good relations with the rest of Western Europe, each country remained neutral throughout the Cold War. Recession in the early 1990s, however, offered a strong incentive for these countries to strengthen political and economic ties with Western Europe. Finland, Sweden, and Austria all chose to join the new European Union, while Swiss voters narrowly decided to maintain their country’s traditional neutrality. On the domestic front, Sweden implemented free-enterprise reforms, steering away from its socialist policies of the past.

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