Denmark and Norway were founding members of NATO, and shared throughout the Cold War defence policies aimed at defending their respective territories against a possible Warsaw Pact invasion. However, with the end of the Cold War Norway and Denmark chose different paths: Denmark to professionalise, downsize and enable its Armed Forces to take part in expeditionary operations far from Danish shores, including warfighting operations alongside American or British allies. Norway retained a territorial defence philosophy, preferred not to deploy combat forces to peacemaking operations abroad, and maintained a large, conscription based military establishment. Why did Denmark and Norway choose such different paths after the Cold War?
Håkon Lunde Saxi (MSc M.Phil.) is a Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and a PhD Candidate at the University of Oslo. His research interests are German, Nordic and European security and defence policies. His recent publications include Norwegian and Danish defence policy: A comparative study of the post-Cold War era (Oslo: Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, 2010) and Nordic defence Cooperation after the Cold War (Oslo: Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, 2011).
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