The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Norway & Denmark
(Part 7 of 10)

The entry in Jodl's diary for 5 March reads:

"Big conference with the three commanders-in-chief about 'Weser Exercise.' Field Marshal in a rage because not consulted till now. Wort listen to anyone and wants to show that all preparations so far made are worthless.

"Result: (a) Stronger forces to Narvik.

"(b) Navy to leave ships in the ports (Hipper or Luetzow in Trondheim) .

"(c) Christians and can be left out at first.

"(d) Six divisions envisaged for Norway.

"(e) A foothold to be gained immediately in Copenhagen." (1809-PS)

The entry for 13 March is one of the most remarkable in the documentation of this case.

"Fuehrer does not give order yet for 'W' [Weser Exercise]. He is still looking for an excuse." (1809-PS)

The entry of the next day, 14 March, shows a similar preoccupation on the part of Hitler with the search for an excuse for this aggression. It reads:

"English keep vigil in the North Sea with fifteen to sixteen submarines; doubtful whether reason to safeguard own operations or prevent operations by Germans. Fuehrer has not yet decided what reason to give for 'Weser Exercise.' " (1809-PS)

The entry for 21 March reads:

"Misgivings of Task Force 21 [Falkenhorst's Force, detailed to conduct the invasion] about the long interval between taking up readiness positions at 05.30 hours and close of diplomatic negotiations. Fuehrer rejects any earlier negotiations, as otherwise calls for help go out to England and America. If resistance is put up it must be ruthlessly broken.

The political plenipotentiaries must emphasize the military measures taken, and even exaggerate them." (1809-PS)

The entry of 28 March reads:

"Individual naval officers seem to be lukewarm concerning the Weser Exercise and need a stimulus. Also Falkenhorst and the other two commanders are worrying about matters which are none of their business. Franke sees more disadvantages than advantages.

"In the evening the Fuehrer visits the map room and roundly declares that he won't stand for the Navy clearing out of the

[Page 749]

Norwegian ports right away. Narvik, Trondheim and Oslo will have to remain occupied by naval forces." (1809-PS)

The entry for 2 April reads:

"Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Commander-in- Chief of the Navy, and General von Falkenhorst with the Fuehrer. All confirm preparations completed. Fuehrer orders carrying out of the Weser Exercise for April 9th." (1809-PS)

The entry for 4 April reads:

"Fuehrer drafts the proclamation. Piepenbrock, Chief of Military Intelligence 1, returns with good results from the talks with Quisling-in Copenhagen." (1809-PS)

From the large number of operation orders that were issued in connection with the aggression against Norway and Denmark, the two may be cited to illustrate the extent of the secrecy and deception that was used by the conspirators in the course of that aggression. The first dated 4 April 1940, reads in part:

"*** The barrage-breaking vessels (Sperrbrechers) will penetrate inconspicuously, and with lights on, into Oslo Fjord, disguised as merchant steamers.

"Challenge from coastal signal stations and lookouts are to be answered by the deceptive use of the names of English steamers. I lay particular stress on the importance of not giving away the operation before zero hour." (C-115)

An order for reconnaissance forces, dated 24 March 1940, entitled "Behavior during entrance into the harbor," reads in part: "The disguise as British craft must be kept up as long as possible. All challenges in Morse by Norwegian ships will be answered in English. In answer to questions a text with something like the following content will be chosen:

"Calling at Bergen for a short visit; no hostile intent. "Challenges to be answered with names of British warships: "Koeln - H.M.S. Cairo "Koenigsberg - H.M.S. Calcutta "Bromso - H.M.S. Faulkner "Karl Peters - H.M.S. Halcyon "Leopard - British destroyer "Wolf - British destroyer "E-boats - British motor torpedo boats

"Arrangements are to be made enabling British war flags to be illuminated. Continual readiness for making smoke." (C115)

[Page 750]

An order dated 24 March 1940, classified "Most Secret," provides:

"Following is laid down as guiding principle should one of our own units find itself compelled to answer the challenge of passing craft. To challenge in case of the 'Koeln' H.M.S. Cairo. Then to order to stop: (1) Please repeat last signal. (2) Impossible to understand your signal. In case of a warning shot: Stop firing. British ship. Good friend. In case of an inquiry as to destination and purpose: Going Bergen. Chasing German steamers." (C-115)

Doenitz's order in connection with this operation is headed

"Top Secret, Operation Order 'Hartmut.'"

"Occupation of Denmark and Norway. This order comes into force on the codeword 'Hartmut.' With its coming into force the orders hitherto valid for the boats taking part lose their validity.

"The day and hour are designated as 'Weser-Day' and 'Weser-Hour', and the whole operation is known as 'Weseruebung'.

"The operation ordered by the codeword has its objective the rapid surprise landing of troops in Norway. Simultaneously Denmark will be occupied from the Baltic and from the land side. *** The naval force will as they enter the harbor fly the British flag until the troops have landed, except presumably at Narvik." (C-151)

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

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