Author Topic: Norway under Nazi occupation  (Read 3445 times)

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Offline <k>

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Re: Norway under Nazi occupation
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2017, 08:30:41 PM »
In the course of the summer of 1942, Quisling lost any ability he might have had to sway public opinion by attempting to force children into the Nasjonal Samlings Ungdomsfylking youth organisation, which was modelled on the Hitler Youth. This move prompted a mass resignation of teachers from their professional body and churchmen from their posts, along with large-scale civil unrest. His attempted indictment of bishop Eivind Berggrav proved similarly controversial, even amongst his German allies. Quisling now toughened his stance, telling Norwegians that they would have the new regime forced upon them "whether they like it or not". On 1 May, the German High Command noted that "organised resistance to Quisling has started" and Norway's peace talks with Germany stalled as a result. On 11 August, Hitler postponed any further peace negotiations until the war ended. Quisling was admonished and learned that Norway would not get the independence he so greatly yearned for. As an added insult, for the first time he was forbidden to write letters directly to Hitler.

With Quisling's personal engagement, Jews had been registered in a German initiative of January 1942. On 26 October, German forces, with help from the Norwegian police, arrested 300 registered male Jews in Norway and sent them to concentration camps, most in Berg and manned by Hirden, the paramilitary wing of Nasjonal Samling. Over-65s were quickly released by the Norwegian government. Most controversially, the Jews' property was confiscated by the state. On 26 November, the detainees were deported, along with their families. Although this was an entirely German initiative—Quisling himself was left in the dark although government assistance was provided—Quisling led the Norwegian public to believe that the first deportation of Jews, to camps in Poland, was his idea. A further 250 were deported in February 1943 and it remains unclear what the party's official position was on the eventual fate of the 759 Norwegian deportees.

Quisling believed that the only way he could win back Hitler's respect would be to raise volunteers for the now-faltering German war effort,and he committed Norway wholeheartedly to German plans to wage total war. For him at least, after the German defeat at Stalingrad in February 1943, Norway now had a part to play in keeping the German empire strong. In April 1943, Quisling delivered a scathing speech attacking Germany's refusal to outline its plans for post-war Europe. When he put this to Hitler in person, the Nazi leader remained unmoved despite Norway's contributions to the war effort. Quisling felt betrayed over this postponement of Norwegian freedom, an attitude that waned only when Hitler eventually committed to a free post-war Norway in September 1943.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway under Nazi occupation
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2017, 08:35:43 PM »
The Germans exerted increasing control over law and order in Norway. Following deportation of the Jews, Germany deported Norwegian officers and finally attempted to deport students from the University of Oslo. Quisling became entangled in a similar debacle in early 1944 when he forced compulsory military service on elements of the Hird, causing a number of members to resign to avoid being drafted.

On 20 January 1945, Quisling made his final trip to visit Hitler. He promised Norwegian support in the final phase of the war if Germany agreed to a peace deal that would remove Norway's affairs from German intervention. This proposal grew out of a fear that as German forces retreated southwards through Norway, the occupation government would have to struggle to keep control in northern Norway. To the horror of the Quisling regime, the Nazis instead decided on a scorched earth policy in northern Norway, going so far as to shoot Norwegian civilians who refused to evacuate the region. The period was also marked by increasing civilian casualties from Allied air raids, and mounting resistance to the government within occupied Norway. The meeting with the German leader proved unsuccessful and upon being asked to sign the execution order of thousands of Norwegian "saboteurs", Quisling refused, an act of defiance that so enraged Terboven, acting on Hitler's orders, that he stormed out of the negotiations. On recounting the events of the trip to a friend, Quisling broke down in tears, convinced the Nazi refusal to sign a peace agreement would seal his reputation as a traitor.

Quisling spent the last months of the war trying to prevent Norwegian deaths in the showdown that was developing between German and Allied forces in Norway. The regime worked for the safe repatriation of Norwegians held in German prisoner-of-war camps. Privately, Quisling had long accepted that National Socialism would be defeated. Hitler's suicide on 30 April 1945 left him free to pursue publicly his chosen end-game, a naïve offer of a transition to a power-sharing government with the government-in-exile.

On 7 May, Quisling ordered police not to offer armed resistance to the Allied advance except in self-defence or against overt members of the Norwegian resistance movement. The same day, Germany announced it would surrender unconditionally, making Quisling's position untenable. A realist, Quisling met military leaders of the resistance on the following day to discuss how he would be arrested. Quisling declared whilst he did not want to be treated as a common criminal, he did not want preferential treatment compared to his Nasjonal Samling colleagues. He argued he could have kept his forces fighting until the end, but had chosen not to so as to avoid turning "Norway into a battlefield." Instead he tried to ensure a peaceful transition. In return, the resistance offered full trials for all accused Nasjonal Samling members after the war and its leadership agreed he could be incarcerated in a house rather than a prison complex.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway under Nazi occupation
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2017, 08:41:00 PM »
On 9 May 1945, Quisling and his ministers turned themselves in to police. Quisling was transferred to Cell 12 in Møllergata 19, the main police station in Oslo. After ten weeks he was transferred to Akershus Fortress and awaited trial. The trial opened on 20 August 1945. Quisling's defence rested on downplaying his unity with Germany and stressing that he had fought for total independence, something that seemed completely contrary to the recollections of many Norwegians.

The prosecution's powerful final speech placed responsibility for the Final Solution being carried out in Norway at the feet of Quisling, using the testimony of German officials. The prosecutor called for the death penalty, using laws introduced by the government-in-exile in October 1941 and January 1942. When the verdict was announced on 10 September, Quisling was convicted on all but a handful of minor charges and sentenced to death.

An October appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected. After giving testimony in a number of other trials of Nasjonal Samling members, Quisling was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress at 02:40 on 24 October 1945. His last words before being shot were, "I'm convicted unfairly and I die innocent." After his death his body was cremated, leaving the ashes to be interred in Fyresdal. For most of his later political career, Quisling lived in a mansion on Bygdøy in Oslo that he called "Gimle", after the place in Norse mythology where survivors of the great battle of Ragnarök were to live. The house, now called Villa Grande, is today a Holocaust museum.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway under Nazi occupation
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2017, 08:44:55 PM »
This ends my topic. I have mainly used text from Wikipedia, though I have sometimes abridged it, mixed with one or two observations of my own. See in particular: Vidkun Quisling.

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See also: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage.