The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Norway & Denmark
(Part 5 of 10)

D. Operational Planning

The information available on the events of January 1940 is not full. but it is clear that the agitation of Raeder and Rosenberg bore fruit. An order signed by Keitel, dated 27 January 1940, marked "Most Secret, five copies; reference, Study 'N' ", (an earlier code name for the Weseruebung preparations) and classified "Access only through an officer," stated:

"C-in-C of the Navy [Raeder] has a report on this ***

"The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces wishes that Study 'N' should be further worked on under my direct and personal guidance, and in the closest conjunction with the general war policy. For these reasons the Fuehrer has commissioned me to take over the direction of further preparations.

"A working staff has been formed at the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces Headquarters for this purpose, and this represents at the same time the nucleus of a future operational staff."


"All further plans will be made under the cover name 'Weseruebung.' "(C-63)

The importance of that document, to the signature of Keitel upon it, and to the date of this important decision, is this: Prior

[Page 744]

to this date, 27 January 1940, the planning of the various aspects of the invasion of Norway and Denmark had been confined to a relatively small group, whose aim had been to persuade Hitler of the desirability of undertaking the operation. The issuance of this directive of Keitel's on 27 January 1940, was the signal that the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces, the OKW, had accepted the proposition of the group that was pressing for the Norwegian adventure, and had turned the combined resources of the German military machine to the task of producing practical and coordinated plans for the Norwegian operation. From January onward the operational planning for the invasion of Norway and Denmark was started through the normal channels.

Certain entries in the diary of Jodl reveal how the preparations progressed (1809-PS). The entry for 6 February commences:

"New idea: Carry out 'H' [Hartmundt, another code word for the Norwegian and Danish invasion] and Weser Exercise only and guarantee Belgium's neutrality for the duration of the war." (1809-PS)

The entry for 21 February reads:

"Fuehrer has talked with General von Falkenhorst, and charges him with preparation of 'Weser Exercise.' Falkenhorst accepts gladly. Instructions issued to the three branches of the armed forces." (1809-PS)

The entry for 28 February reads:

"I propose, first to the Chief of OKW and then to the Fuehrer, that Case Yellow [the code name for the invasion of the Netherlands] and Weser Exercise [the invasion of Norway and Denmark] must be prepared in such a way that they will be independent of one another as regards both time and forces employed. The Fuehrer completely agrees, if this is in any way possible." (1809-PS)

It will be observed that the new idea of 6 February, that the neutrality of Belgium might be preserved, had been abandoned by 28 February.

The entry for 29 February reads:

"Fuehrer also wishes to have a strong task force in Copenhagen and a plan, elaborated in detail, showing how individual coastal batteries are to be captured by shock troops Warlimont, Chef Landesverteidigung, instructed to make out immediately the order of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and Director of Armed Forces to make out a similar order regarding the strengthening of the staff." (1809-PS)

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Then came Hitler's order to complete the preparations for the invasion of Norway and Denmark (C-174). It bears the date of 1 March 1940, and reads as follows:

"The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Most Secret.

"Directive for Fall Weserebung.

"The development of the situation in Scandinavia requires the making of all preparations for the occupation of Denmark and Norway by a part of the German Armed Forces Fall Weserebung. This operation should prevent British ' encroachment on Scandinavia and the Baltic; further, it should guarantee our ore base in Sweden and give our Navy and Air Force a wider start line against Britain.

"In view of our military and political power in comparison with that of the Scandinavian States, the force to be employed in the Fall Weserebung will be kept as small as possible. The numerical weakness will be balanced by daring actions and surprise execution. On principle we will do our utmost to make the operation appear as a peaceful occupation, the object of which is the military protection of the neutrality of the Scandinavian States. Corresponding demands will be transmitted to the Governments at the beginning of the occupation. If necessary, demonstrations by the Navy and the Air Force will provide the necessary emphasis. If, in spite of this, resistance should be met with, all military means will be used to crush it."


"I put in charge of the preparations and the conduct of the operation against Denmark and Norway the Commanding General of the 21st Army Corps, General von Falkenhorst. ***"

"The crossing of the Danish border and the landings in Norway must take place simultaneously. I emphasize that the operations must be prepared as quickly as possible. In case the enemy seizes the initiative against Norway, we must be able to apply immediately our own counter- measures.

"It is most important that the Scandinavian States as well as the Western opponents should be taken by surprise by our measures. All preparations, particularly those of transport and of readiness, drafting and embarkation of the troops, must be made with this factor in mind.

"In case the preparations for embarkation can no longer be

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kept secret, the leaders and the troops will be deceived with fictitious objectives." (C-174)

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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