The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

[Page 29]

The War Diary of the German Naval Operations Staff for 13th January, 1940, stated that the Chief of the Naval Operations Staff thought that the most favorable solution would be the maintenance of the neutrality of Norway, but he harbored the firm conviction that England intended to occupy Norway in the near future relying on the tacit agreement of the Norwegian Government.

The directive of Hitler issued on 1st March, 1940, for the attack on Denmark and Norway stated that the operation "should prevent British encroachment on Scandinavia and the Baltic."

It is, however, to be remembered that the Defendant Raeder's memorandum of the 3rd October, 1939, makes no reference to forestalling the Allies, but is based upon "the aim of improving our strategical and operational position."

The memorandum itself is headed "Gaining of Bases in Norway" The same observation applies mutatis mutandis to the memorandum of the Defendant Doenitz of 9th October, 1939.

Furthermore, on the 13th March, the Defendant Jodl recorded in his diary:

"Fuehrer does not give order yet for 'W' (Weser Exercise). He is still looking for an excuse." (Justification?)

On 14th March, 1940 he again wrote:

"Fuehrer has not yet decided what reason to give for 'Weser Exercise'"

On the 21st March, 1940, he recorded the misgivings of Task Force XXI about the long interval between taking up readiness positions and the close of the diplomatic negotiations, and added:

"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."

On 2nd April he records that all the preparations are completed; on 4th April, the Naval Operational Order was issued; and on the 9th April, the invasion was begun.

From all this it is clear that when the plans for an attack on Norway were being made, they were not made for the purpose of forestalling an imminent Allied landing, but, at the most, that they might prevent an Allied occupation at some future date.

When the final orders for the German invasion of Norway were given, the diary of the Naval Operations Staff for 23rd March, 1940, records:

"A mass encroachment by the English into Norwegian territorial waters ... is not to be expected at the present time."

And Admiral Assmann's entry for 26 March says:

"British landing in Norway not considered serious."

Documents which were subsequently captured by the Germans are relied on to show that the Allied plan to occupy harbors and airports in Western Norway was a definite plan, although in all points considerably behind the German

[Page 30]

plans under which the invasion was actually carried out. These documents indicate that an altered plan had been finally agreed upon on 20th March, 1940, that a convoy should leave England on 5th April, and that mining in Norwegian waters would begin the same day; and that on 5th April the sailing time had been postponed until 8th April. But these plans were not the cause of the German invasion of Norway. Norway was occupied by Germany to afford her bases from which a more effective attack on England and France might be made, pursuant to plans prepared long in advance of the Allied plans which are now relied on to support the argument of self-defense.

It was further argued that Germany alone could decide, in accordance with the reservations made by many of the Signatory Powers at the time of the conclusion of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, whether preventive action was a necessity, and that in making her decision her judgment was conclusive. But whether action taken under the claim of self- defense was in fact aggressive or defensive must ultimately be subject to investigation and adjudication if international law is ever to be enforced.

No suggestion is made by the defendants that there was any plan by any belligerent, other than Germany, to occupy Denmark. No excuse for that aggression has ever been offered.

As the German Armies entered Norway and Denmark, German memoranda were handed to the Norwegian and Danish Governments which gave the assurance that the German troops did not come as enemies, that they did not intend to make use of the points occupied by German troops as bases for operations against England, as long as they were not forced to do so by measures taken by England and France, and that they had come to protect the North against the proposed occupation of Norwegian strong points by English-French forces.

The memoranda added that Germany had no intention of infringing upon the territorial integrity and political independence of the Kingdom of Norway then or in the future. Nevertheless, on 6/3/1940, a German naval memorandum discussed the use to be made of Norway and Denmark, and put forward one solution for consideration, that the territories of Denmark and Norway acquired during the course of the war should continue to be occupied and organized so that they could in the future be considered as German possessions.

In the light of all the available evidence it is impossible to accept the contention that the invasions of Denmark and Norway were defensive, and in the opinion of the Tribunal they were acts of aggressive war.

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