Definitions

pincers-movement

Swedish campaign against Norway (1814)

The Campaign against Norway, or The Norwegian-Swedish War of 1814 was fought between Sweden and Norway in the summer of 1814. The war resulted in Norway entering into union with Sweden, but with its own constitution and parliament. It is the last war to have been fought by Sweden to date.

Background

By the Treaty of Kiel (January 1814) the King of Denmark-Norway had to cede Norway to the King of Sweden, due to the alliance of Sweden with France during the later phases of the Napoleonic Wars. This treaty was however not accepted by the Norwegians. The viceroy of Norway and Crown Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark took the lead in the insurrection, and he called for a constitutional assembly. This adopted the liberal constitution of May 17th, and it also elected Christian Frederik as the King of an independent Norway. As the Head of the new state, he desperately tried to gain support from Great Britain to maintain its independence. However, Allied diplomats gave no hope for any outside support to the Norwegians.

The war

The Norwegian Army mustered 30,000 men, and it had taken up positions away from the border with Sweden, in the fear of being outflanked. The Norwegian navy had a few vessels, most of them stationed at the islands of Hvaler, close to Sweden.

The Swedish Army consisted of 45,000 men, experienced and well-equipped soldiers. The Swedish Navy had a number of large vessels and a capacity for moving and landing troops.

The hostilities opened on 26 July with a swift Swedish naval attack against the Norwegian gunboats at Hvaler. The Norwegian vessels managed to escape, but they did not take part in the rest of the war. The main Swedish thrust came across the border at Halden, bypassing and surrounding the fortress of Fredriksten, and then continuing north, while a second force of 6,000 soldiers landed at Kråkerøy outside of Fredrikstad. This town surrendered the next day. This was the start of a pincers movement around the main part of the Norwegian army at Rakkestad. The Norwegian army delivered several offensive blows to the Swedes, thus applying pressure on the Swedes to accept Norway as a sovereign nation, and opening up negotiations. As the war put a heavy strain on the Norwegian finances, and every day of delay in securing Norway by the Swedes brought uncertainty on the outcome, both parties were interested in a quick end to the war.

Major commanders

Aftermath

Negotiations started in Moss, Norway on 10 August 1814, and after a few days of hard negotiations, a cease fire agreement, called the Convention of Moss, was signed on 14 August 1814. King Christian Frederik of Norway was forced to abdicate, but Norway remained nominally independent within a personal union with Sweden, under the Swedish King. Its Constitution was upheld with only such amendments as were required to allow it to enter into the union, and the two united kingdoms retained separate institutions, except for the King and the foreign service.

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