Norway was a brand-new country in 1914 – it had been only nine years since the nation was spun off from Sweden. Small in population and economically insignificant, Norway sat on the sidelines while the great powers of the day went to total war. How easy was it for Norway to remain neutral? Andrew McKay has this to say:
‘Firstly, victory for one side will usually align more with your own goals. Obviously, it depends how much difference there is as to how much this affects you. You may be fine, or you may be completely not fine no matter what happens!
It’s also likely that you’ll have something that is needed by one of the sides. In this case they’ll likely approach you and try to convince you that you can lend certain assets out without compromising your neutrality.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, one side will likely have something that you desperately need. Maybe goods, fuel or natural resources – most countries aren’t actually able to be 100% self-sufficient.’