Title: Last Call
Author: Daniel Okrent
Other [European] countries (all of them northern, none of them Catholic) were gripped by what a French economist described as “le delirium anti-alcoolique.”
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 (a ruling revoked, at least insofar as Spanish wine was concerned,
when the Spaniards retaliated by tripling import duties on Icelandic fish).
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.
The most surprising foreign expression of the prohibitory impulse came in a decree issued by Czar Nicholas II in October 1914:
from that point forward, it declared,
the sale of vodka was forever banned throughout the Russian Empire.
He may as well have ordered fish to leave the ocean.
I must admit I did not know that other countries were caught up in the anti-alcohol fever of Prohibition.
I thought it was a uniquely American folderol.