On this day, Vidkun Quisling, a collaborator with the German occupiers of Norway, is established as prime minister of a puppet government.
On April 9, 1940, German warships entered major Norwegian ports, from Narvik to Oslo, deployed thousands of German troops, and occupied Norway. German forces were able to slip through the mines Britain had laid around Norwegian ports because local garrisons were ordered to allow the Germans to land unopposed. The order came from a Norwegian commander, Vidkun Quisling, who was loyal to Norway’s pro-fascist former foreign minister.
Hours after the invasion, the German minister in Oslo demanded Norway’s surrender. The Norwegian government refused, and the Germans responded with a parachute invasion. In September 1940, “commissarial counselors” in the control of the Germans replaced Norway’s administrative council. Chief of these “counselors” was Quisling, who was given dictatorial powers and who proceeded to earn the enmity of Norwegians as he sent thousands of people to German concentration camps and executed members of the resistance movement.
On February 1, 1942, the commissarial counselors formed a formal government loyal to Germany, with Quisling as its prime minister. When Germany finally surrendered in May 1945, Quisling was arrested by Norway’s Allied liberators, tried for treason, and executed. His name continues to be a synonym for “traitor.”