Johan Nygaardsvold

Last updated
Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈnỳːɡoːʂvɔɫ] ; 6 September 1879 – 13 March 1952) was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party who served as the 21st prime minister of Norway from 1935 to 1945. From June 1940 until May 1945, he oversaw the Norwegian Government-in-exile from London as head of the Nygaardsvold cabinet during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany. [1] [2]

Contents

Background

Nygaardsvold was born in Hommelvik, the main centre of the municipality of Malvik in the county of Sør-Trøndelag, Norway. His parents were Anders Nygaardsvold (1839–1897) and Andrea Ratvold (1845–1929). His father was a tenant farmer and a founding member of the first labour union in the area. Johan took his first job as a lumber mill worker when he was 12 years old. On 6 June 1901, he married Albine Regine Brandslet (1878–1961).

Nygaardsvold and his wife emigrated to Canada in 1902 where he took jobs in British Columbia, and in the US in Kalispell, Montana, and Spokane, Washington. He and his wife returned to Norway in 1907 after he had followed a career including as an Industrial Workers of the World agitator. In 1909 he found a job at Hommelvik Sawmill. [3]

Political career

Nygaardsvold campaign poster Nygaardsvold poster.jpg
Nygaardsvold campaign poster

In 1910, Nygaardsvold was elected to the board of education for the Labour Party, and rose quickly through the ranks in local politics. In 1916, he was elected to the Norwegian parliament for the first time, serving continuously until 1949. He worked as a labourer in the Swedish lumber industry during the summers in the first few years. From 1920 to 1922 he served as the mayor for his home town of Malvik. [1]

In 1928, Nygaardsvold was appointed minister of agriculture in the short-lived Christopher Hornsrud cabinet. From 11 January 1934 to 20 March 1935 he served as President of the Storting. In 1935, Nygaardsvold was asked to form a government as Prime Minister of Norway. He was serving as Prime Minister when Nazi Germany attacked on Norway 9 April 1940. Following the German occupation of Norway, German officials demanded that the Government headed by Nygaardsvold capitulate and that the King appoint a government headed by Nazi sympathiser Vidkun Quisling. King Haakon VII stated that he could not comply with the German ultimatum and would rather abdicate than appoint Quisling prime minister. On 7 June 1940, the Norwegian Government-in-exile relocated to London. Nygaardsvold continued as prime minister in exile until the government returned to Norway on 31 May 1945. He resigned on 25 June 1945 when King Haakon appointed Einar Gerhardsen to head an interim government composed of all political parties. [4] [5]

A number of progressive reforms were instituted during Nygaardsvold's time as prime minister. Reforms included the introduction of national pension insurance, compulsory unemployment insurance for many employees and workers outside the primary sector. [6] Another piece of legislation, the Worker Protection Act, regulated working hours in industry and mining, including granting public holidays, mandated health inspections for workers in "unhealthy" industries, and granted maternity leave. The same Act raised the age for admission to employment in industry, commerce, offices, and land transport from 14 to 15 years. Legislation was also enacted mandating inspections of electrical equipment in some industries. An old-age pension was introduced for Norwegian citizens over 70 years old. A disability pension was also introduced. Another set of reforms involved stabilising pay rates, setting payment intervals, and regulating dismissal and providing certain rights to dismissed workers, and businesses with more than ten employees were required to have "rules of employment". [7]

An Act on 18 June 1938 empowered "the Government to issue regulations dealing with the length of working hours and with medical inspection of workers exposed to X-rays, radium and the radio-active substances. In addition, under an Order of the 18th of November 1938, the enforcement of the Workers' Protection Act on the State railways has been brought within the competence of the ordinary labour inspectorate". An Act of the 8th of April 1938 provides that "any company or private undertaking with a share capital or net assets amounting to 100,000 crowns must make appropriations to a Labour Fund. Certain types of undertakings, particularly in agriculture, forestry and fishing, are however exempt from this obligation. Contributions are compulsory only when the net profits of the undertaking exceed a certain percentage of its invested capital; the rate varies with the financial results of each business year. The moneys of the Labour Fund are to be used for payment of old-age and invalidity pensions or for relief of unemployment due to the suspension, transformation or restriction of the work of the undertaking". [8]

Detailed regulations concerning all kinds of electrical installations were issued on 29 December 1939, and regulations concerning cinemas and films were promulgated on the 20 February 1939. Instructions issued on 31 March 1938 for officials of the State Labour Inspectorate prescribed "in considerable detail the duties and powers of the Chief Labour Inspector, the general and special Labour Inspectors, the Assistant Labour Inspectors and the Labour Boards with respect to the enforcement of the Workers' Protection Act. The instructions specify that the inspector is to be impartial and is to try to convince both employers and workers of the value of the provisions of the Act. He is to act as an adviser to both parties in all matters connected with the Act". An Act of 10 March and a decree of 24 March 1939 "regulate inspection on board ship". An Act of 20 May 1939 amended the compulsory sickness insurance scheme "by permitting sickness funds which do not enter into a contract with doctors to pay directly to the practitioners the amounts due for medical treatment given to insured persons. This new rule dispenses the insured persons from the need for advancing the doctors' fees and enables the funds to exercise more effective supervision than in the past over the treatment given by the doctors". Also, in "the event of an accident due to the war and involving permanent incapacity or death seamen are now entitled to pensions and allowances in accordance with the provisions laid down by the Act of 12 March 1937 and the Royal Order of 21 May 1937. This means that the maximum rates of wages taken as a basis for calculating pensions and allowances are doubled. In addition, any seaman who is totally incapacitated as a result of a war injury receives a lump sum of 10,000 Kr. In the event of death his dependants (widow and children under 15 years) receive, in addition to their pensions, a lump sum of the same amount as for permanent incapacity".

Under a Royal Order of 22 December 1939 issued in pursuance of a decision of the Storting of the 15 September 1939, the State made "itself responsible for the risks of persons engaged in sea fishing, including seal hunting and also, to some extent, whaling. In case of an accident due to an act of war the protection resulting from this provision is similar to that granted to seamen. If the ship is lost the fishermen concerned also receive allowances at specified rates for the resulting unemployment and for the loss of their belongings". A State Holiday Council (Statens Ferierad) was set up, and an Act of 15 February 1918 “was amended by an Act of 20 May 1939 to secure better supervision of home work. The Act provides for this purpose that the records kept by employers or sub-contractors must henceforward contain, as well as the workers' names and addresses, information on the nature of the work performed and the minimum wages paid. The powers of the labour inspectorate in particular have also been increased as regards home work". [9]

Nygaardsvold was elected to the Storting for the last time in the autumn of 1945. At the end of the Storting term in 1949, he retired from politics. That year, he was awarded the Medal for Outstanding Civic Service (Borgerdådsmedaljen). He returned to Hommelvik and died of cancer in Trondheim in 1952. He was buried at Hommelvik Church in Malvik. [10] [11]

Historical legacy

During his time in office, Nygaardsvold had immense popular appeal and was given credit for the Labour Party's election results in 1933. Nygaardsvold was the prime minister in the second Labour Party cabinet in Norway, after he helped formulate the so-called "crisis accord" with the Farmers' Party. His government's domestic policy was largely dedicated to recovering from the Great Depression but is most noted for its foreign and military policy in the years leading up to the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany and his administration in exile from 1940 to 1945. The investigative commission that issued a report after the liberation of Norway found that he could not be absolved from responsibility for the lack of operational readiness for the German invasion but gave him credit for his management of a unity government in exile. He was awarded an honorary salary for his service in exile but refused to accept it. [1]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nasjonal Samling</span> Norwegian far-right political party active from 1933 to 1945

Nasjonal Samling was a Norwegian far-right political party active from 1933 to 1945. It was the only legal party of Norway from 1942 to 1945. It was founded by former minister of defence Vidkun Quisling and a group of supporters such as Johan Bernhard Hjort – who led the party's paramilitary wing (Hirden) for a short time before leaving the party in 1937 after various internal conflicts. The party celebrated its founding on 17 May, Norway's national holiday, but was founded on 13 May 1933. Nasjonal Samling was made illegal and disbanded at the end of World War II, on 8 May 1945.

The politics of Norway take place in the framework of a parliamentary, representative democratic constitutional monarchy. Executive power is exercised by the Council of State, the cabinet, led by the prime minister of Norway. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the legislature, the Storting, elected within a multi-party system. The judiciary is independent of the executive branch and the legislature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Per Albin Hansson</span> Swedish politician, Prime Minister of Sweden, 1932–36 and 1936–46

Per Albin Hansson was a Swedish politician, chairman of the Social Democrats from 1925 and two-time Prime Minister in four governments between 1932 and 1946, governing all that period save for a short-lived crisis in the summer of 1936, which he ended by forming a coalition government with his main adversary, Axel Pehrsson-Bramstorp.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malvik</span> Municipality in Trøndelag, Norway

Malvik is a municipality in Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Trondheim Region. The administrative center of the municipality is the village of Hommelvik. Other villages in Malvik include Muruvika, Smiskaret, Sneisen, Vikhammer, and Hundhammeren.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Einar Gerhardsen</span> Norwegian politician

Einar Henry Gerhardsen was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party of Norway. He was the 22nd prime minister of Norway for three periods, 1945–1951, 1955–1963 and 1963–1965. With a total of 16 years in office, he is the longest serving Prime Minister in Norway since the introduction of parliamentarism. Many Norwegians often refer to him as "Landsfaderen" ; he is generally considered one of the main architects of the post-war rebuilding of Norway after World War II. He also served as the second President of the Nordic Council in 1954.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oscar Torp</span> Norwegian politician

Oscar Fredrik Torp was a Norwegian politician for the Norwegian Labour Party. He was party leader from 1923 to 1945, and mayor of Oslo in 1935 and 1936. In 1935 he became the acting minister of Defence in the government of Johan Nygaardsvold. He was also the minister of Social Affairs from 1936 to 1939, and then the minister of Finance from 1939 to 1942. He was appointed Minister of Defence again in 1942 in the London-based Norwegian exile government. He continued until the election in 1945 when he became the minister of Provisioning and Reconstruction until 1948.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christopher Hornsrud</span> Norwegian politician

Christopher Andersen Hornsrud was a Norwegian politician for the Labour Party. He served as leader of the Labour Party from 1903 to 1906 and became a member of the Storting in 1912. In 1928, he became the first Norwegian prime minister from the Labour Party and served as the 18th prime minister of Norway, but the cabinet had a weak parliamentary basis and was only in office for three weeks from January to February. He combined the post of prime minister with that of minister of Finance. After resigning he became vice-president of the Storting, a position he held until 1934.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Labour Party (Norway)</span> Centre-left Norwegian political party

The Labour Party, formerly The Norwegian Labour Party, is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is positioned on the centre-left of the political spectrum, and is led by Jonas Gahr Støre. It is the senior party in a minority governing coalition with the Centre Party since 2021, with Støre serving as the current Prime Minister of Norway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johan Ludwig Mowinckel</span> 16th Prime Minister of Norway

Johan Ludwig Mowinckel (22 October 1870 – 30 September 1943) was a Norwegian statesman, shipping magnate and philanthropist. He served as the 16th prime minister of Norway during three separate terms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Halvdan Koht</span> Norwegian historian and politician (1873–1965)

Halvdan Koht was a Norwegian historian and politician representing the Labour Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kornelius Bergsvik</span> Norwegian politician

Kornelius Olai Person Bergsvik was a Norwegian politician for the Labour Party, born in Austrheim, Hordaland. Bergsvik represented Hordaland in the Norwegian Parliament from 1928 to 1945. In 1936 he was appointed to the Nygaardsvold Cabinet. Bergsvik served as Minister of Social Affairs 1935–1936, and Minister of Finance 1936–1939. After resigning from the government in 1939, he was County Governor of Telemark from 1939 to 1940, and again from 1945 to 1959.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Olav Hindahl</span> Norwegian trade unionist and politician

Olav Hindahl was a Norwegian trade unionist and politician for the Labour Party.

Mary Synnøve Kvidal is a Norwegian school principal and politician for the Labour Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fredrik Monsen</span> Norwegian politician

Christian Fredrik Monsen was a Norwegian politician for the Labour Party and the Communist Party.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nygaardsvold's Cabinet</span> Second Labour cabinet in Norway

Nygaardsvold's Cabinet was appointed on 20 March 1935, the second Labour cabinet in Norway. It brought to an end the non-socialist minority governments that had dominated Norwegian politics since the introduction of the parliamentary system in 1884, and replaced it with stable Labour governments that, with the exception of during World War II, would last until the coalition Lyng cabinet in 1963.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Quisling regime</span> Collaborationist government of Norway (1942–45)

The Quisling regime, or Quisling government are common names used to refer to the fascist collaboration government led by Vidkun Quisling in German-occupied Norway during the Second World War. The official name of the regime from 1 February 1942 until its dissolution in May 1945 was Den nasjonale regjering. Actual executive power was retained by the Reichskommissariat Norwegen, headed by Josef Terboven.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eirik Øwre Thorshaug</span> Norwegian politician

Eirik Øwre Thorshaug is Vice President, Head Public and Regulatory Affairs for Telenor Group in Europe, and is a former Norwegian politician for the Labour Party.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Harald Berntsen. "Johan Nygaardsvold". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  2. "World War II". Det Norske Kongehus. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  3. Knut Dørum. "Johan Nygaardsvold". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  4. Harald Kjølås. "Johan Nygaardsvold". Allkunne. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  5. "Norwegian Government-in-exile". London Remembers. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  6. Growth to limits: the Western European welfare states since World War 2: Volume 4 by Peter Flora
  7. THE I.L.O YEAR-BOOK 1936-37
  8. THE I.L.O YEAR-BOOK 1938-39
  9. THE I.L.O YEAR-BOOK 1939-40
  10. "Johan Nygaardsvold, Statsminister 1935-1945". Regjeringen. 27 December 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  11. "Medaljen for borgerdåd". Det Norske Kongehus. Retrieved April 1, 2018.

Other sources

Johan Nygaardsvold
Johan Nygaardsvold 1934.jpeg
Nygaardsvold in 1934
21st Prime Minister of Norway
In office
20 March 1935 25 June 1945
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Norway
19351945
Succeeded by