In 1973, Norway became the first nation outside the US to get online through DARPA’s packet-switched network, the ARPANET. Americans had decided to connect the proto-internet to such a distant country for one reason. They were trying to keep tabs on Soviet nuclear tests.
People often forget that the US defense and intelligence communities helped build the internet. The NSA, the CIA, the Department of Defense — they were all there from the beginning. But the military conducted their work through universities, which is why first host-to-host connection on the ARPANET, on October 29, 1969, was between researchers at Stanford Research Institute and UCLA. From there, the ARPANET grew to have many nodes across the US, as you can see in this GIF showing its rise and fall.
In June of 1973 the ARPANET went international with its Norway connection. It was promoted as part of a project to encourage civilian research on earthquakes. But that wasn’t the whole story.