Wartime Wednesday: Norway Surrenders
Eighty years ago today, Norway surrendered to Germany, and King Haakon VII escaped to England. Two months prior, German forces invaded the country and succeeded in capturing most of the strategic points along the coast. This enabled Hitler to control the North Sea allowing German warships and submarines into the Atlantic and import iron ore from Sweden.
Norway did not give up as easily as the German anticipated or hoped, and the invaders lost over 5,000 soldiers and sailors. Britain’s failure to effectively help defend the country was additional fodder for the lack of confidence in Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s abilities. Part of the success of the Germans is also attributed to the fifth column activities of Norwegian fascist forces under Vidkun Quisling such as spreading false rumors and occupying military bases and other important locations.
Opposition to Quisling—whose name now means traitor—was so great that he was unable to formally establish his puppet government until February 1942. His regime was merciless, and as a result, the Norwegian resistance movement was soon the most effective in all Nazi-occupied Europe.
Prior to the invasion, Norway, and her neighbor Sweden, both declared their neutrality, and as such were surprised and ill-prepared for the attack. As the German troops arrived, the Royal Family and government fled before the forces reached Oslo. The Storting (supreme legislature in Norway) convened at Elverum in Eastern Norway and granted the King full authority to rule for the duration of the war. Germany insisted that Haakon appoint a government headed by Quisling, but he refused to abdicate.
In response, the Germans regularly bombed the village of Nybergsund where he was staying. On June 7, the family escaped and traveled to England where they established a government in exile in London to lead the resistance effort. Throughout the war, he sent inspirational radio speeches and supported clandestine military actions in Norway against the occupying forces.
In June 1945, nearly five years later to the day, Haakon and his family returned to Norway.
Coming June 15, 2020
The Widow & The War Correspondent
Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?
Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?
A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?
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