Om hundre år er allting glemt

On June 7 1905 with the most flimsy pretext the Norwegian parliament staged what ultimately turned out to be a peaceful nationalistic coup. In the twentieth century this was very much the exception, only two more cases followed. Iceland seceded from Denmark in 1944. As Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany at the time the Danish government was not in a state to protest. The Czechoslovakian split in 1992 could be considered a mutual coup. The collapse of Soviet Union in 1991 on the other hand was made possible by a coup that failed instead, and was not quite as peaceful.

The nineteenth century invented nationalism and the twentieth century put it into practice, usually to horrific casualties. While the map of Europe started out as one of great empires, by the end of the century it had ended up as a collection of nation states instead.

Though Europe of 2005 is a Europe of nation states, the nation state is likely to have culminated and will have a lesser role in any future year than it has right now.

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  1. “the nation state is likely to have culminated and will have a lesser role in any future year than it has right now.”

    The Dutch voters seem to have a different opinion on that…

  2. Agree, my guess is that the resistance against EU will grow here in Norway. At least I hope so.

    Best to be master in your own house!

  3. I don’t expect an independent Basque Country (or Catalonia, or Scotland), but the Basque are now vastly better off than they were under Franco. Autonomy is not only more feasible, in the end it should be much more attractive than cutting out a chunk of Spain and France. Except for the cold war spell Norway has been at the periphery of civilization, to our great fortune. While under Denmark through “the four hundred year’s night”, Danish was the language of authority, and even though it wasn’t enforced modern Norwegian in its two forms and multitude of dialects is strongly influenced by Danish. The national(istic) revival that created the Norwegian nation in the 19th and 20th centuries also caused a large cultural body which is now considered “typical Norwegian”. But it also had a flip side, with the forced Norwegianisation of Sami and Kven people. Finns in Norway were considered a security risk in Norway up until relatively recent times. Similarly the same national movement that turned the Habsburger dynasty to the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was a less positive change for the non-Hungarian nationalities in today’s Slovakia, Romania, Serbia.A problem with nationalism is that except for remote islands like Iceland the idea of one country one nation is an illusion, an illusion commonly maintained in blood. In the aftermath of WWII and with the delayed fall of the Soviet Union, the last European empire, Europe was artificially ethnically cleansed. Nationalism in Europe is largely benign today, but that is not always the case in the rest of the world. All in all I consider the devolution of the nation states a positive trend. To take the Sami as an example again not only are there not separate Sami territories, the national divisions between Finland, Sweden, Norway go east/west, the Sami divisions go north/south.

  4. I don’t necessarily agree with those sentiments… For me personally, lots of things would be easier with better European integration. As it is, Norway enjoys some freedoms but still has to swallow lots of regulation (without much input) to be allowed to participate in the European Economic Area. Being part of Schengen means Norwegians and Dutchmen effectively have one single outer border already. *Not* cooperating closely on matters like crimefighting and asylum seekers is rather insane. So IMHO we might as well strenthen both the cooperation and the democratic control over it. And I’d rather see more smallish coolheaded efficieny-minded countries join the club…

  5. Governments are losing power everywhere, and national governments in particular. EU member states are in a special position as the EU has some trappings of a superstate (and would get some more with the proposed constitution), but even if the EU hadn’t existed the Dutch government would have lost power over their citizen and the neighbouring countries.

  6. The Basques would very much love to see a peaceful way to split from Spain. Who is going to tell them how?

    Notice that all examples you cited involve a balance of power/strength. Norway-Sweden, Czechia-Slovakia, and even Iceland-Denmark.

    The Chechens, the Basques, the Tatars – guess some are unlucky to live with a giant nearby?

    Perhaps if you were prosecuted for speaking Norwegian, you might have changed your mind on nationalism and national identity…


  7. Rather than comnsidering what one would prefer on behalf of the peoples in question, I deem it would be more useful, and realistic, to mingle with them, and reckon what they themselves want or think. So much for what is preferable for the Basques. I cannot but bitterly smile, because I’ve heard this argument, one you used, somewhere already. “who needs freedom if you have television?”, “you are no longer sent in chains to Sibir, your men are not drafted into the foreign army anymore, so what more do you want?” et cetera, ad nauseam.

    The Balkans, and much of the territory to their north, hasd been under much turmoil for the last two thousand years. Things are never easy in this cortner of the world; measures effective elsewhere may simply not apply at all.

    Cleansed? Where? The only cleansing west of Russia I have heard of took place in Bosnia, Croatia, and former constituent republics of Yugoslavia of old. I am afraid, Jonny, that cleansing is another keyword you overuse.



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