Lecture 10: Right-wing extremism in Scandinavia

1. Introduction

  1. Why study Scandinavian fascist movements?
  2. What is fascism?
  3. How far do Nordic societies favour growth of fascism ?

2. Individual countries


  1. Legacy of Finnish nationalism and civil war
  2. Precursors/competitors: Kokoomus (Coalition) Party (Conservative); Suojeluskunta (SK) - Defence Corps or Civic Guard; Academic Karelia Society (AKS); Vientirauha (Industrial Peace)- strike-breaking organisation
  3. Impact of depression 1928
  4. Lapua Movement Dec. 1929; Suomen Lukko (Finland's Lock) Mar. 1930; Mäntsälä uprising Feb./Mar. 1932; IKL (Patriotic Popular Movement) June 1932.
  5. Reasons for failure.
  6. Names: Gen. Walden; Gen. Wallenius; Gen. Mannerheim; President Relander; ex-President Ståhlberg; P.E. Svinhufvud; Vihtori Kosola; J.K. Paasikivi.


  1. Social/political conditions offer some scope for extreme right
  2. Precursors: Samfundshjelp (Social Aid)1920 - anti-strike organisation; Fedrelandslaget (Fatherland League) 1925; Bygdefolkets Krisehjelp (Farmers' Relief Association) 1931; Quisling's Nordisk Folkereisning (Nordic People's Awakening) 1931.
  3. May 1933: Quisling founds Nasjonal Samling (National Unity).
  4. Limited electoral success; party splits; decline into obscurity.
  5. Revival with German invasion of Norway, April 1940
  6. Quisling minister-president 1942-5; executed 1945
  7. Nature of support: age, gender, social background; regional contrasts
  8. Reasons for failure
  9. Names: Michelsen, Nansen, Hjort, Rosenberg, Raeder, Hitler, Terboven


  1. Competitors: Konservativ Ungdom (KU) (Conservative Youth Movement); Landbrugernes Sammenslutning (LS) (Farmers' Organisation)
  2. DNSAP founded 1930: direct imitation of German National Socialism
  3. Nature of support: rural/urban; class; region (strongest in South Jutland)
  4. Reasons for failure
  5. Impact of German occupation
  6. Names: Fritz Clausen


  1. Numerically insignificant; divided.
  2. Competitors: Swedish National Youth League (SNU) (Conservative Youth Movement; later broke away)
  3. More important than limited numbers suggest: strength of conservative tradition; resonance in wider social groups: e.g. anti-Semitism, anti-immigration
  4. Reasons for failure
  5. Names: Furugård, Lindholm

3. The appeal of fascism and its limits

Some basis of support in all four countries, but:

  1. Lacked social, economic and political prerequisites - frustrated nationalism; modernisation crisis etc.
  2. Unable to establish firm base in countryside
  3. Unable to do deals with established elites (Finland partial exception)
  4. Poor leadership/organisation
  5. Identified with external threat (Denmark)
  6. Increasingly identified with Nazi extremism and terror
  7. Effective response from governments and other political parties