Prohibition in Europe?


Prohibition is seen as a peculiarly American product. After all, no other country outlawed liquor. Or did they?

Interestingly, temperance and prohibition supporters were active in countries other than the United States. Several northern European countries, none of them Catholic, passed laws that restricted consumption of alcohol. Daniel Okrent in Last Call notes, “The new temperance laws included the issuance of individual “drinking licenses” in Sweden, the suspension of liquor sales in German industrial areas, and the suspension of all liquor sales in Iceland. . . . Norway and Finland would both have a form of Prohibition in place before the decade was over, and provincial Prohibition laws would sweep across all of Canada save for Catholic Quebec.”

nicholasromanovBut the most surprising, and amusing to my mind, was the decree issued by the clueless Czar Nicholas II in 1914 banning the sale of vodka throughout the Russian empire. No one paid any attention.



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