The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Invasion Of Denmark And Norway
(Part 1 of 2)

[Page 27]

The aggressive war against Poland was but the beginning. The aggression of Nazi Germany quickly spread from country to country. In point of time the first two countries to suffer were Denmark and Norway.

On the 31st May, 1939, a Treaty of Non-Aggression was made between Germany and Denmark, and signed by the Defendant Ribbentrop. It was there solemnly stated that the parties to the Treaty were "firmly resolved to maintain peace between Denmark and Germany under all circumstances." Nevertheless, Germany invaded Denmark on the 9th April, 1940.

On the 2nd September, 1939, after the outbreak of war with Poland, Germany sent a solemn assurance to Norway in these terms:

"The German Reich Government is determined in view of the friendly relations which exist between Norway and Germany under no circumstance to prejudice the inviolability and integrity of Norway, and to respect the territory of the Norwegian State. In making this declaration the Reich Government naturally expects, on its side, that Norway will observe an unimpeachable neutrality towards the Reich and will not tolerate any breaches of Norwegian neutrality by any third party which might occur. Should the attitude of the Royal Norwegian Government differ from this so that any such breach of neutrality by a third party occurs, the Reich Government would then obviously be compelled to safeguard the interests of the Reich in such a way as the resulting situation might dictate."

On the 9th April, 1940, in pursuance of her plan of campaign, Norway was invaded by Germany.

The idea of attacking Norway originated, it appears, with the Defendants Raeder and Rosenberg. On the 3rd October, 1939 Raeder prepared a memorandum on the subject of "gaining bases in Norway" and amongst the questions discussed was the question: "Can bases be gained by military force against Norway's will, if it is impossible to carry this out without fighting?" Despite this fact, three days later, further assurances were given to Norway by Germany, which stated:

"Germany has never had any conflicts of interest or even points of controversy with the Northern States and neither has she any today."

Three days later again, the Defendant Doenitz prepared a memorandum on the same subject of bases in Norway, and suggested the establishment of a base in Trondheim with an alternative of supplying fuel in Narvik. At the same time the Defendant Raeder was in correspondence with Admiral Karls, who pointed out to him the importance of an occupation of the

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Norwegian coast by Germany. On the 10th October, Raeder reported to Hitler the disadvantages to Germany which an occupation by the British would have. In the months of October and November Raeder continued to work on the possible occupation of Norway, in conjunction with the "Rosenberg Organisation." The "Rosenberg Organisation" was the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the NSDAP, and Rosenberg as Reichsleiter was in charge of it. Early in December, Quisling, the notorious Norwegian traitor, visited Berlin and was seen by the Defendants Rosenberg and Raeder. He put forward a plan for a coup d'etat in Norway. On the 12th December, the Defendant Raeder and the naval staff, together with the Defendants Keitel and Jodl, had a conference with Hitler, when Raeder reported on his interview with Quisling, and set out Quisling's views. On the 16th December, Hitler himself interviewed Quisling on all these matters. In the report of the activities of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the NSDAP for the years 1933 to 1943, under the heading of "Political Preparations for the Military Occupation of Norway" it is stated that at the interview with Quisling Hitler said that he would prefer a neutral attitude on the part of Norway as well as the whole of Scandinavia, as he did not desire to extend the theater of war, or to draw other nations into the conflict. If the enemy attempted to extend the war he would be compelled to guard himself against that undertaking. He promised Quisling financial support, and assigned to a special military staff the examination of the military questions involved.

On The 27th January, 1940, a memorandum was prepared by the Defendant Keitel regarding the plans for the invasion of Norway. On 28th February, 1940 the Defendant Jodl entered in his diary:

"I proposed first to the Chief of OKW and then to the Fuehrer that Case Yellow (that is the operation against the Netherlands) and Weser Exercise (that is the operation against 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."

On the 1st March Hitler issued a directive regarding the Weser Exercise which contained the words:

"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. 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 .. The crossing of the Danish border and the landings in Norway must take place simultaneously .. It is most important that the Scandinavian States as well as the Western opponents should be taken by surprise by our measures."

On the 24th March, the naval operation orders for the Weser Exercise were issued, and on 30 March the Defendant Doenitz as Commander-in-Chief of U-boats issued his operational order for the occupation of Denmark and Norway. On the 9th April, 1940, the German forces invaded Norway and Denmark.

From this narrative it is clear that as early as October, 1939, the question of invading Norway was under consideration. The defense that has been made here is that Germany was compelled to attack Norway to forestall an Allied invasion, and her action was therefore preventive.

It must be remembered that preventive action in foreign territory is justified only in case of "an instant and overwhelming necessity for self-defense, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation" (The Caroline

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Case, 1808.6.C.Rob.461). How widely the view was held in influential German circles that the Allies intended to occupy Norway cannot be determined with exactitude. Quisling asserted that the Allies would intervene in Norway with the tacit consent of the Norwegian Government. The German Legation at Oslo disagreed with this view although the Naval Attache at that Legation shared it.

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

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