The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Joachim von Ribbentrop
(Part 4 of 10)

[Page 498]

(6) Norway and Denmark. On 31 May 1939, Ribbentrop, on behalf of Germany, signed a non-aggression pact with Denmark which provided that:

"The German Reich and the Kingdom of Denmark will under no circumstances go to war or employ force of any other kind against one another." (TC-24)

And on 7 April 1940 the German armed forces invaded Denmark at the same time they invaded Norway.

Ribbentrop was fully involved in the earlier preparations for the aggression against Norway. Along with Rosenberg, Ribbentrop assisted Quisling in his early activities. A letter from Rosenberg to Ribbentrop on 24 February states:

"Dear Party Comrade von Ribbentrop:

"Party Comrade Scheidt has returned and has made a detailed report to Privy Councillor von Gruendherr who will address you on this subject. We agreed the other day that 2-300,000 RM would be made immediately available for the said purpose. Now it turns out that Privy Councillor Gruendherr states that the second instalment can be made available only after eight days. But as it is necessary for Scheidt to go back immediately, I request you to make it possible that this second instalment is given to him at once. With a longer absence of Reichsamtsleiter P. M. Scheidt-also the connection with your representatives would be broken up, which just now, under certain circumstances, could be very unfavorable. "Therefore I trust that it is in everybody's interest, if P. M. Scheidt goes back immediately." (957-PS)

In a report to Hitler on the Quisling activities, Rosenberg outlined Ribbentrop's part in the preparation of the Norwegian operation:

" Apart from financial support which was forthcoming from the Reich in currency, Quisling had also been promised a shipment of material for immediate use in Norway, such as coal and sugar. Additional help was promised, These ship-

[Page 499]

ments were to be conducted under cover of a new trade company, to be established in Germany or through especially selected existing firms, while Hagelin was to act as consignee in Norway. Hagelin had already conferred with the respective Ministers of the Nygardsvold Government, as for instance, the Minister of Supply and Commerce, and had been assured permission for the import of coal. At the same time, the coal transports were to serve possibly to supply the technical means necessary to launch Quisling's political action in Oslo with German help. It was Quisling's plan to send a number of selected, particularly reliable men to Germany for a brief military training course in a completely isolated camp. They were then to be detailed as area and language specialists to German Special Troops, who were to be taken to Oslo on the coal barges to accomplish a political action. Thus Quisling planned to get hold of his leading opponents in Norway, including the King, and to prevent all military resistance from the very beginning. Immediately following this political action and upon official request of Quisling to the Government of the German Reich, the military occupation of Norway was to take place. All military preparations were to be completed previously. Though this plan contained the great advantage of surprise, it also contained a great number of dangers which could possibly cause its failure. For this reason it received a quite dilatory treatment, while at the same time, it was not disapproved as far as the Norwegians were concerned.

"In February, after a conference with General Field Marshal Goering, Reichsleiter Rosenberg informed the Secretary in the Office of the Four Year Plan, only of the intention to prepare coal shipments to Norway to the named confidant Hagelin. Further details were discussed in a conference between Secretary Wohlthat, Staff Director Schickedanz, and Hagelin. Since Wohlthat received no further instructions from the General Field Marshal, Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop -- after a consultation with Reichsleiter Rosenberg -- consented to expedite these shipments through his office. Based on a report of Reichsleiter Rosenberg to the Fuehrer it was also arranged to pay Quisling ten thousand English pounds per month for three months, commencing on the 1 of March, to support his work" (004-PS)

This sum was paid through Scheidt.

In a letter to Ribbentrop dated 3 April 1940, Keitel wrote:

[Page 500]

"Dear Herr von Ribbentrop:

"The military occupation of Denmark and Norway has been, by command of the Fuehrer, long in preparation by the High Command of the Wehrmacht. The High Command of the Wehrmacht has therefore had ample time to occupy itself with all the questions connected with the carrying out of this operation. The time at your disposal for the political preparation of this operation, is on the contrary, very much shorter. I believe myself therefore to be acting in accordance with your own ideas in transmitting to you herewith, not only these wishes of the Wehrmacht which would have to be fulfilled by the Governments in Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm for purely military reasons, but also if I include a series of requests which certainly concern the Wehrmacht only indirectly but which are, however, of the greatest importance for the fulfillment of its task ***." (D-629)

Keitel then proceeds to ask that the Foreign Office get in touch with certain commanders. The important point is Keitel's clear admission to Ribbentrop that the military occupation of Denmark and Norway had been long in preparation. It is interesting to connect this letter with the official Biography of Ribbentrop, in the Archives, which makes a point of mentioning the invasion of Norway and Denmark (D-472):

"With the occupation of Denmark and Norway on 9 April 1940, only a few hours before the landing of British troops in these territories, the battle began against the Western Powers." (D-472)

It is clear that whoever else had knowledge or whoever else was ignorant, Ribbentrop had been thoroughly involved in the Quisling plottings and knew at least a week before the invasion started that the Wehrmacht and Keitel had been long in preparation for this act of aggression. (See also Section 9 of Chapter IX on Aggression against Norway and Denmark.)

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