A small nation like Norway needs alliances and good friends to avoid a new war on Norwegian soil. As the only NATO-country with a border with the USSR, it’s important to be on good terms with their neighbour to the East. This puts Norway, perhaps alongside Finland, in a position where any strain in the relationship between both East and West is felt intensely.
Norway was quite impoverished after the second world war, and was a recipient of significant Marshal Aid from the US. This has left a mark politically and culturally. Norway rationed goods longer than their neighbours after WW2, with cars being the last to go on the open market in 1960.
The division of wealth improved in the 60s due to a steady economic growth and the development of the welfare state. Many could afford a home, a Volkswagen Beetle, and a nice Coca-Cola to drink while watching their only channel NRK on a black and white TV. But other values than a conforming, comfortable life became important. Demonstrations against the Vietnam war, fight for womens and a gays rights, and the start of civil disobedience in environmental issues gained momentum.
News of the country’s most impactful Christmas present, the discovery of oil, became public in June, but it was not yet known what it would mean for Norwegian wealth moving forward.
Government and foreign policy:
- Conservative government after the Labour Party lost their longtime majority held nearly every election since WWII.
- King Olav V reigns, close family connections to Great Britain,Denmark and Sweden.
- Founding member of NATO, government positive to the European Economic community, relationships to Sweden, Denmark and Finland are close and important.
The Norwegian Ministry of foreign affairs
The Ministry prides itself of being a good host to the diplomatic corps in Norway. As a small player in the international scene, it strives to punch above its weight to keep the détente and secure Norway’s national interests.
Internal conflicts in the ministry
- Class relations: Upper and middle class versus new ministry hires from working class background. They are unbeknown of the unwritten rules and this is causing tension.
- Upcoming rotation of ambassadors and diplomats. Who will go where and secure their climb further up on the diplomatic scene?
The tensions between East and West are growing, and there are spies on either side. The exchange of information, surveillance and the tension between the gentile world of the diplomat and the cutthroat world of military intelligence will play a role: who among your colleagues and your friends from other countries can you really trust?
- Minister of Foreign Affairs (50s, N): A new, hardworking conservative minister, starting to gain respect from allied colleagues, working for changes in the ministry.
- Secretary General (50s,N): The loyal ex-military diplomat with a spider web of connections and dark past that comes back to haunt them.
- Staff Secretary (40s, N): The rock in the ministry and the favourite of all Foreign Ministers, the warm secretary who knows everyone’s secrets.
- Director General (50s, N): Department of Eastern Europe and Soviet Affairs (DEFA). The ambitious diplomat with hidden grudges and sympathies.
- Advisor(30s, N): DEFA. The outgoing cultural advisor who loves diplomatic festivities but has a very dark secret.
- Foreign service trainee (20s, N): DEFA. The naive but ambitious up-and-coming trainee with a working-class background.
- Director General (50s, N): Department of Western Europe and the US (DEWEUS), The old-timer with surprising connections, someone who truly knows how to hold a grudge.
- Advisor DEWEUS.(40s, N): The sharp and impressively efficient diplomat whose career is on hold because their spouse is the new foreign minister. They know how to play the social game but they want it on their own terms.
- Foreign service trainee (20s,N): the adventurous diplomat-in-the-making from a career diplomat family, a born realist.