June 10

This Day in History

General Interest

Jun 10, 1940:

Norway surrenders to Germany

After two months of desperate resistance, the last surviving Norwegian and British defenders of Norway are overwhelmed by the Germans, and the country is forced to capitulate to the Nazis.

Two months earlier, on April 9, Nazi Germany launched its invasion of Norway, capturing several strategic points along the Norwegian coast. During the preliminary phase of the invasion, Norwegian fascist forces under Vidkun Quisling acted as a so-called "fifth column" for the German invaders, seizing Norway's nerve centers, spreading false rumors, and occupying military bases and other locations.

Vidkun Quisling served as the Norwegian minister of defense from 1931 to 1933, and in 1934 he left the ruling party to establish the Nasjonal Samling, or National Unity Party, in imitation of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party. Although Norway declared neutrality at the outbreak of World War II, Nazi Germany regarded the occupation of Norway a strategic and economic necessity. In the spring of 1940, Vidkun Quisling traveled to Berlin to meet with Nazi command and plan the German conquest of his country. On April 9, the combined German forces attacked without warning, and by June 10 Hitler had conquered Norway and driven all Allied forces from the country.

Although Quisling was the head of the only political party permitted by the Nazis, opposition to him in Norway was so great that it was not until February 1942 that he was able to formally establish his puppet government in Oslo. Under the authority of his Nazi commissioner, Josef Terboven, Quisling set up a repressive regime that was merciless toward those who defied it. However, Norway's resistance movement soon became the most effective in all Nazi-occupied Europe, and Quisling's authority rapidly waned. After the German surrender in May 1945, Quisling was arrested, convicted of high treason, and shot. From his name comes the word quisling, meaning "traitor" in several languages.

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