The Shovel is our Weapon: The Norwegian Labour Service and the paradox of nationalist internationalism
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of History. 2018, 43 (4), 457-483. 10.1080/03468755.2018.1464276
There are many functional, organizational and ideational similarities between the labour services in Germany, the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) and in Norway, Arbeidstjenesten (AT). There were numerous conduits for transnational transfers of ideas and practices, especially as the RAD oversaw the creation of the Norwegian obligatory service during the occupation. Although the German conception of labour service inevitably influenced the development of the AT, the AT was not simply a copy of a German model. Norway had its own history of voluntary labour services and the labour service idea resonated with existing structures in Norwegian society and politics. This article discusses what elements of the model were adopted and rejected. Contingencies, context and continuities also played a decisive role in shaping the Norwegian service, for which the German RAD served as an example of what a labour service should look like, but also what it should not look like.