Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Norway During WWII

Traveling Tuesday: Norway During WWII

One of my favorite television shows (long off the air) is Foyle’s War, a British production that features a Detective Chief Inspector who is stationed in Hastings and is itching to do something for the war effort. He constantly asks to be transferred into one of the armed forces, but because he sheds the light on corruption, negligence, and poor performance by his superiors, his request is never granted. He meets soldier Paul Milner who is in the hospital because of losing a leg at the Battle of Trondheim.

Much has been written about Europe during the war, but the “outlying” countries are often overlooked. Located on the western and northernmost part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway is the northernmost of the Nordic countries. The nation is bordered by Sweden, Finland, and Russia, and its coastline is broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands. Norway’s history reaches back thousands of years with evidence of human occupation as early as 11,000 BC.

During World War II, Norway declared itself neutral in 1939, but the country’s strategic importance to
Courtesy WorldAtlas.com
both sides of the conflict brought it to the forefront of hostilities. Iron ore from Sweden, upon which Germany depended, was exported through the Norwegian port of Narvik. This route was especially crucial because most of the Baltic Sea froze over during the winter. Controlling Norway would also be a strategic asset in the Battle of the Atlantic.

As one site put it: “On the night of April 8, 1940, the people of Trondheim went to bed as citizens of a peaceful city in an independent land. When they awoke next morning, the heavy cruiser “Hipper” and four destroyers were anchored in the harbor and seventeen hundred German troops occupied the city.” The resulting German control of the ports and airfields was a constant threat to Allied supply routes.

Life in occupied Norway was difficult and lasted through the duration of the war, until VE days was announced in May, 1945. A pro-war German government named “Den nasjonale regiering (The National Government) rule Norway as King Haakon VII and his cabinet escaped to London where they formed a government-in-exile. Civil rule was assumed by the Reichskommissariat Norwegen (Reich Commissariat of Norway), which acted in collaboration with the pro-German puppet government.

Pixabay/Michelle Raponi
Norway lost all its major trading partners, with Germany becoming the main, possibly only, trading partner. Even though production capacity remained intact, the authorities confiscated a high percentage of the output, leaving Norway with only 43% of its production available to the population. A scarcity of commodities prompted most Norwegians to grow their own crops and keep livestock. Cities parceled out plots in parks to grow potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables suitable to the climate. Fishing and hunting became more widespread.

There was not a large population of Jews in Norway; most reports indicate a number just over two thousand, but almost immediately arrests and executions began resulting in the death of at least 765 people, (35%). Fortunately, some were able to flee the country, mostly to Sweden, but a few managed to get to Britain.

Resistance to the occupation consisted of a home front group (Hiemmefronten) and an external group
(Utefronten). Organized and armed, the overarching movement was known as Milorg and is said to have around 40,000 members. The Hiemmefronten performed sabotage, raids, clandestine operations, and gathered intelligence. One of the most successful actions was the Norwegian Heavy Water Sabotage that decimated the German nuclear energy project. The organization played a large part in the transfer of power after the end of the war.


Will a world at war destroy a second chance at love?

Estelle Johnson promised to wait for Aubry DeLuca, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him in his hour of need?

Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches at Normandy, then wakes up in the hospital, his eyes bandaged. Will he regain his sight? Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3SuXWPI

No comments:

Post a Comment