Norway at War

0
931

On World War II’s first day of invasion of Norway gunners in an old fortress on Oslo Fjord had the satisfaction of sinking the German Cruiser Blücher, killing around 830 of those on board.

While Hitler’s local stooge, Vidkun Quisling, the leader of the Fascist National Unity Party, proclaimed himself prime minister, King Haakon and most members of the government escaped to Tromsoe in northern Norway and remained there while a combined force of British, French, Polish and Norwegian units recaptured the iron-ore port of Narvik.

Blücher sinking
Blücher sinking

The sudden collapse of France, however, created a greater demand for the expeditionary force elsewhere. The Allies withdrew, and the king and his entourage were evacuated to England.

301015-Vidkun-Quisling-and-Heinrich-Himmler
Vidkun Quisling and Heinrich Himmler

Neutral throughout the war, Sweden took in 300,000 refugees. The Swedish Red Cross, led by Count Folke Bernadotte, a nephew of the king, secured the release of 30,000 prisoners of various nationalities from German concentration camps, and the diplomat Raoul Wallenberg played “Schindler” to Jews in Hungary.

Swedish SJ Railway is accused of collaborating with the Nazis during the war
Swedish SJ Railway is accused of collaborating with the Nazis during the war

But it was also the case that German troops and materials were given permission to cross Sweden, on their way to Norway in 1940 and thereafter when they went on leave. Moreover, Sweden supplied iron ore critical to the German war machine. These are matters which Norwegians to this day cannot easily forget.

King Haakon and family waving to welcoming crowds from HMS Norfolk at the end of WWII
King Haakon with family waving to welcoming crowds from HMS Norfolk at the end of WWII


Feature image (on top): Luftwaffe JI-52 flies over a damaged Messersmith NF-110 in Norway

Norway at War, written by Tor Kjolberg