The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against Norway & Denmark
(Part 8 of 10)

E. Nazi Justification of Invasion.

On 9 April 1940 the Nazi onslaught on the unsuspecting and almost unarmed people of Norway and Denmark was launched. When the invasions had already begun, a German memorandum was handed to the governments of Norway and Denmark attempting to justify the German action (TC-55). That memorandum alleges that England and France were guilty in their maritime warfare of breaches of international law; that Britain and France are making plans themselves to invade and occupy Norway; and that the government of Norway was prepared to acquiesce in such a situation. The memorandum further states:

"The German troops therefore do not set foot on Norwegian soil as enemies. The German High Command does not intend to make use of the points occupied by German troops as bases for operations against England, so long as it is not forced to do so by measures taken by England and France. German military operations aim much more exclusively at protecting

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the north against proposed occupation of Norwegian strong points by English-French forces." (TC-55)

In connection with that statement it may be recalled that in his operation order on 1 March Hitler had given orders to the Air Force to make use of Norwegian bases for air warfare against Britain. That was on 1 March. And this is the memorandum which was produced as an excuse on 9 April. The last two paragraphs of the German memorandum to Norway and Denmark are a classic Nazi combination of diplomatic hypocrisy and military threat:

"The Reich Government thus expects that the Royal Norwegian Government and the Norwegian people will respond with understanding to the German measures and offer no resistance to it. Any resistance would have to be and would be broken by all possible means by the German forces employed, and would therefore lead only to absolutely useless bloodshed. The Royal Norwegian Government is therefore requested to take all measures with the greatest- speed to ensure that the advance of the German troops can take place without friction and difficulty. In the spirit of the good German-Norwegian relations that have always existed, the Reich Government declares to the Royal Norwegian Government that Germany has no intention of infringing by her measures the territorial integrity and political independence of the Kingdom of Norway now or in the future." (TC-55)

What the Nazis meant by "protection of the kingdom of Norway" was shown by their conduct on 9 April.

A report by the Commander in Chief of the Royal Norwegian Forces states:

"*** The Germans, considering the long lines of communications and the threat of the British Navy, clearly understood the necessity of complete surprise and speed in the attack. In order to paralyze the will of the Norwegian people to defend their country and at the same time to prevent allied intervention it was planned to capture all the more important towns along the coast simultaneously. Members of the Government and Parliament and other military and civilian people occupying important positions were to be arrested before organized resistance could be put into effect and the King was to be forced to form a new government with Quisling as the head."

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"The German attack came as a surprise and all the invaded towns along the coast were captured according to plan with only slight losses. In the Oslofjord, however, the cruiser 'Blucher', carrying General Engelbrecht and parts of his division, technical staffs and specialists who were to take over the control of Oslo, was sunk. The plan to capture the King and members of the Government and Parliament failed in spite of the surprise of the attack; resistance was organized throughout the country." (TC-56)

What happened in Denmark is described in a memorandum prepared by the Royal Danish Government (D-628). An extract from it reads:

"Extracts from the Memorandum concerning Germany's attitude towards Denmark before and during the occupation, prepared by the Royal Danish Government.

"On 9 April 1940 at 4.20 hours the German Minister appeared at the private residence of the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs accompanied by the Air Attache of the Legation. The appointment had been made by a telephone call from the German Legation to the Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at 4.00 o'clock the same morning. The Minister said at once that Germany had positive proof that Great Britain intended to occupy bases in Denmark and Norway. Germany had to safeguard Denmark against this. For this reason German soldiers were now crossing the frontier and landing at various points in Zealand including the port of Copenhagen; in a short time German bombers would be over Copenhagen; their orders were not to bomb until further notice. It was now up to the Danes to prevent resistance as any resistance would have the most terrible consequences. Germany would guarantee Denmark's territorial integrity and political independence. Germany would not interfere with- the internal government of Denmark, but wanted only to make sure of the neutrality of the country. For this purpose the presence of the German Wehrmacht in Denmark was required during the war.

"The Minister for Foreign Affairs declared in reply that the allegation concerning British plans to occupy Denmark was completely without foundation; there was no possibility of

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anything like that. The Minister for Foreign Affairs protested against the violation of Denmark's neutrality which according to the German Minister's statement was in progress. The Minister for Foreign Affairs declared further that he could not give a reply to the demands, which had to be submitted to the King and the Prime Minister, and further observed that the German Minister knew, as everybody else, that the Danish armed forces had orders to oppose violations of Denmark's neutrality so that fighting presumably already took place. In reply the German Minister expressed that the matter was very urgent, not least to avoid air bombardment." (D-628)

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

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