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Prelude to the WW2 Invasion of Norway in 1940

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Norway

The Nazi Invasion of Norway in World War Two

After the German invasion of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland by 1939 the Nazis looked towards northern and western Europe for further conquests. They needed time to prepare for war in the west so Hitler sought to allay the fears of western Europe in a speech made to the German people later that year. He stated that there was an acceptable non-aggression pact in place with Denmark, that there was no intention of conflict with Norway or Belgium, and that the traditional friendship between Holland and Germany was valued by the new German Reich. However, while Hitler was making these promises his generals were secretly planning the invasion of Norway.

The Germans needed Norway for its many steep-sided inlets and fjords which could be used for U-boat bases and the flatter countryside for vital airbases for use in eventual attacks against England. But there was a problem - Germany could not invade Norway with a land-based army without first conquering neutral Denmark to use as a springboard for the attack. So, at dawn on 9 April 1940 the German army advanced across Denmark.

German merchant ships had already sailed for the main ports of Norway full of armed troops. The Germans rushed ashore at the same time as German warships and their transport vessels arrived with tanks and armoured vehicles. Together with the Luftwaffe and Nazi paratroopers, the invasion of a surprised Norway was now under way. This task was made much easier by armed columnists led by the treacherous Norwegian Major Vidkun Quisling who gave orders to the Norwegian people not to resist and within a short time the Germans were in complete control of all the major ports and airfields, and then the rest of Norway quickly followed. The name Quisling later became synonymous with the word traitor.

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