|Oscar II was the son of Oscar I and Josephine of Leuchtenberg. Oscar II strove to prevent the Union of Sweden-Norway from becoming involved in any the great European conflicts or power alliances. Nevertheless, in the 1870s there was some degree of orientation towards the new German empire which was perceived as the most reliable defense against Russian expansionism. There was never any formal alliance with Germany, only regular contact. At the same time, Oscar maintained good relations with Great Britain.
Although Oscar II was always willing to consider compromises in his dealings with Norway, he could not avoid frequent and heated confrontations with the Norwegian parliament, culminating in the dissolution of the union in 1905. The economical, political and social developments in Norway led to a popular demand for independence, rendering Oscar's policy of compromise futile. His strategy was also opposed by conservative forces in Sweden, resulting in clashes over the issue of having Norwegians in the cabinet of ministers, the veto argument from 1872 to1880 and the consulate issue from 1891 to 1895.
At the time of the dissolution of the union in 1905, Oscar II was incensed by what he considered unconstitutional acts on the part of the Norwegian government and the Norwegian parliament. Nevertheless, he was intent that the secession not lead to war and he put all his weight behind this goal.