Norway 1940

The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter’s invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway’s aid with an expeditionary force. Despite moderate success, Germany’s invasion of France the following June compelled the Allies to withdraw and the Norwegian government to seek exile in London. The campaign subsequently ended with the occupation of Norway by Germany. The conflict occurred between 9 April and 10 June 1940, making Norway the nation that withstood a German invasion for the longest period of time, aside from the Soviet Union.

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Hitler Strikes North

Whatever doubts still remained of the terrifying efficiency of the German war machine after the Polish campaign, were soon dispelled by its feat of arms in Scandinavia. Norway and Denmark, both pacifist and dedicated to neutrality, had done absolutely nothing to provoke aggression – but their geographical position was such as to excite the imaginations of both Axis and Allied leaders. Though belatedly, the rest of the world was made to realise that no nation, no matter how innocent, was safe from conflict.

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Major-General Moulton, J. L
taken from History of the Second World War
[Phoebus Publishing Ltd in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum]


Resistance: The Early Days ~ Norway

In spite of Quisling, the population reacted as one body. The presence of King Haakon and his government in London, plus the continuation of the fight by 85% of the fleet and by small units of the army and air force, favoured this attitude.

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Dr Jean-Lèon Charles
taken from History of the Second World War
[Phoebus Publishing Ltd in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum]


The Norwegian View

Norway was unprepared for war in 1940. The nation had enjoyed well over a century of peace and the government was confident that a policy of pacifism and neutrality would see them through. But neither Germany nor Britain was prepared to respect neutrality.

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Leif Bøhn
taken from History of the Second World War
[Phoebus Publishing Ltd in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum]