In honour of the 130-th birthday of Vidkun Quisling
By Michael Walsh
[From the book Heroes of the Reich by Michael Walsh]
“You will be my historical witness. The day will come when I will need it,” said the Norwegian Prime Minister Vidkun Quisling to his secretary, Franklin Knudsen. The national leader’s words were spoken with great solemnity as the two men sat in a room of Oslo’s Grand Hotel on the 18* April 1940. Nine days earlier their country had fallen to the forces of the Third Reich, victims of a conspiracy masterminded by England’s unelected leader Winston Churchill.
Churchill’s aim, to cut Germany’s essential ore lifeline, was yet another of his acts of war against a non-belligerent neutral country. The conspiracy was later exposed by his ally. Prime Minister Paul Reynard of France: “Churchill came to Paris on April 5* 1940 and at last the British government resolved that the mine fields in Norwegian territorial waters would after all be laid. The operation was, however postponed until April 7′ so Hitler could learn of it and prepare his counter move. One of the aims of the enterprise was to, entrap the opponent by provoking him into making a landing in Norway. ” (1)
Vidkun Quisling continued speaking: “I want a man who observes and reflects. I may tell you that in future you are going to be the man who himself has seen and heard what is happening at this decisive moment in the history of Norway and that of the West. You will be my historical witness.”
Franklin Knudsen recalled those prophetic words nearly five years later when on October 24 1945; Vidkun Quisling sleeping fitfully in his sparse cell was aroused at 2.00am and taken into the bitter cold of the prison yard at MoUergaten Gaol in Oslo.
FIRING SQUAD DEMOCRACY
The cavalcade of limousines had rolled into the old Akerhus fortress forty minutes earlier. A volley of shots reverberated beyond the prison walls and one of Europe’s most enigmatic and bravest leaders crumpled to the hail of bullets. The limousines departed.
On the stone floors outside the recently vacated Cell 34B were rose petals, perhaps from one of the many bouquets handed in. On the solitary desk inside the cell with its plank bed and single blanket, the Holy Bible, its pages open, resting on the single desk. Vidkun, the son of a clergyman was the latest in a line of eight ecclesiastical forbears in the district. It was a calling he himself was attracted to.
Underlined twice in the Holy Bible were the words: ‘He shall redeem their soul from defeat and violence and precious shall their blood be in His sight.’ – Psalms 72-14.
It is ironic that the name of a man who was a patriot and hero without equal has become synonymous with treachery. Such is the awesome power of propaganda wielded by the victor nations.
Vidkun Quisling, born July 18* 1887, was a man of his time whose life was orchestrated by events sweeping Europe following the Jewish-Bolshevik seizure of Russia in 1917.
THE EPIC POLAR ADVENTURERS
In 1908 the young Norwegian had achieved an officer’s position and three years later achieved the best degree ever recorded in the history of Norway’s Military Academy. Such was his standing that a report was forwarded to the King of Norway and the young lieutenant was immediately attached to the General Staff. By 1918 he was the military attached to Petrograd and Helsingfors. Just four years later Vidkun Quisling became closely involved with Fridtjof Nansen in his charitable work under the auspices of the Relief Committee for Russia.
Nansen, the internationally renowned Norwegian polar explorer, scientist and humanitarian was the first man, with five companions, to traverse Greenland, the world’s largest island. This epic adventure along with others polar expeditions achieved with his ship Fram (“Forward”) cannot fail to inspire.
An obvious choice due to his enormous international reputation as a humanitarian, Nansen agreed to act as the High Commissioner for the League of Nations Commission for Prisoners of War. As a consequence Vidkun Quisling’s mentor was responsible for the humane repatriation of 450,000 POW’s rescued from twenty-six countries in the aftermath of the Great War. Without question these unfortunate captives exiles would have died without Nansen’s endeavours.
THE LIVES OF SIX MILLION CHILDREN SAVED
Leading from these humanitarian successes the Norwegian explorer carried the extra burden of bringing relief to millions of refugees torn apart by the cataclysmic upheavals following the Jewish-Bolshevik civil wars. Having succeeded in bringing respite to the world’s dispossessed, Nansen in the early 1920s was invited by the International Red Cross to direct the work required to save the lives of millions of Russians suffering from revolution, civil war and Stalin’s famine. Nansen, assisted by Vidkun Quisling and other organisations is estimated to have saved the lives of over seven million people of whom six million were children.
In 1922 their relief program brought them to the Ukraine and the Crimea. From 1924-25 Quisling was in the Balkan and Donau states, on behalf of the League of Nations. In 1925 he joined Nansen again in the Near Orient and Armenia, before taking up residence in Moscow to better co-ordinate his tasks.
Sadly Quisling never wrote anything about his work apart from official reports so we need to refer to Nansen’s epic, ‘Through the Caucasus to the Volga’. From it we may obtain an impression of the devoted service that Vidkun Quisling offered:
PITIFUL BODIES FROZE TO THE FLOORS
‘From house to house were to be seen the same appalling sight of expiring and expired human remains. Dried grass, leaves and crushed bones and horse’s hooves, instead of bread. No warmth, so that the pitiful bodies froze to the floors before life was extinguished. At an infants’ home forty-two children, died last night, and they were still lying in their beds, with the living at their sides, who – with great wondering baby eyes – sat staring at death, the great deliverer from all suffering. Dead bodies were dug out of the burial grounds to be eaten. Parents – in their distraction – killed their children in order to satisfy their own hunger. Over thirty million persons were starving, and in addition epidemics were raging, worst of all spotted fever.
More than three million died, despite the succour, which was too little too late. And over these same identical plains, thousands of gaunt human beings fled, without food, not knowing where, just away, through the congealing winter, while they and their last camels and horses died on the frozen roads. All traffic on the rivers was halted by the ice, the railways were out of order, the few trains – packed to overflowing with refugees – remained standing on the lines, people died in the carriages. Horror was all around.
In the foreword to Nansen’s narrative will be found Nansen’s effusive thanks to his personal assistant, Vidkun Quisling: “These prefatory words cannot be brought to conclusion without heartfelt thanks to Captain Vidkun Quisling, for his tireless friendship as a fellow-traveller and for his valuable assistance he has rendered to the author through his comprehensive knowledge of Russian.”
When on June 22, 1941 Germany, supported by its anti-Communist allies, pre- emptively attacked the Soviet Union that had by then amassed its armies on Europe’s borders. The invading Europeans discovered on the walls of hovels the icon portraits of both Fridtjof Nansen and Vidkun Quisling sharing equal status with Our Lady. The spectacle of unknown Norwegians elevated to saintly status bemused but inspired the soldiers.
Norwegian front line soldiers (frontkjempere) several times found plain plaster of paris busts of Quisling in Russia’s impoverished villages. The peasants told them of the man from the far north who had once saved them from starvation. It was a memorable experience for those soldiers who had now been charged by the same man with the task of saving the people of the Ukraine from a worse destiny – communist slavery.
VIDKUN QUISLING, CBE
By now Vidkun Quisling’s reputation was such that he was invited by the British Government, which did not have diplomatic access to the USSR’s Communist regime, to look after Britain’s diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. For his humanitarian achievements and his services to the British Crown, Norway’s acclaimed son was honoured with the British order of Commander of the British Empire (CBE). It was a source of great pride to him.
In 1930 Quisling returned to his Norwegian homeland which was then in the throes of Communist subversion very similar to that suffered by Germany following the Great War. Communist insurgents had brought the Scandinavian country to the very precipice of revolution. The so-called Norwegian Labour Movement was affiliated to the Communist International. Financed by Moscow, its blood-red hammer and sickle flag spluttered as its party-banner. These ‘Sons of Moscow’ agitated for a ‘Soviet Norway’, a ‘Soviet Republik’, through bloody revolution if need be.
On one notable occasion a politician who was later to become a Norwegian Minister was arrested on the Norwegian-Russian border with gold to the value of several million kroner in his luggage. The same man spat: ‘The lives of twenty thousand middle-class counted for nothing compared with that of a single worker’.
NORWAY PLUNGED INTO DARKNESS
Another future minister bragged that soon the red flag would be hoisted above Norway’s parliament while another future minister made incendiary speeches calling for revolution.
It was this same rabid revolutionary politician who was elevated to Minister of (Norwegian) Defence in 1935. The same who failed the opportunity to build a defence force capable of resisting Winston Churchill’s sinister invasion of Norway; or to resist Germany’s preventive invasion.
Throughout Norway agitation was rife, strikes were organised, seditious literature was passed from hand to hand, political opponents and police were murdered, the offices of opposition parties torched, politicians intimidated, riots were organised by revolutionaries few of whom were Norwegian nationals.
In to this maelstrom came Vidkun Quisling, now Minister of Defence on the cabinet of the country’s newly elected Peasants Party. Few people on earth were better qualified to recognise the danger posed to humanity by godless Communism. He acted decisively to prevent Norway becoming another Soviet Republic.
Realising that the final Communist push was imminent with armouries and military installations already targeted Quisling immediately mobilised Norway’s armed forces and police and the insurrection was quickly put. The Communists never forgave Vidkun Quisling for denying them Norway.
NORWAY SAVED FROM COMMUNISM
By April 1932, Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian patriot was able to stand in his country’s parliament and publicly expose the treacherous activities of the international revolution directed by Moscow at Norway’s heart.
“I have in my possession, photos, duplicates of actual statements that an agent of international Communist leadership has made in Norway. What does it say? It says simply that the revolutionary movement in this country is being financed from abroad. In 1928-29 they have received 500,000 kroner from a foreign power. There are not many parties in the land that dispose of similar amounts for their work.’
Quisling went on to show the hard evidence of communists urging Norwegian soldiers ‘to start an insurrection, of organising cells in the Army and Navy, in factories; preparing for revolution and insurrection’.
Moving on and whilst conceding the laudable aims (working class enfranchisement) of Norway’s labour movement, in a speech regarded as one of his finest, the Norwegian Minister of Defence shamed the red front movement for being foreign financed and guided by Marxist principles with the single aim of class-war and revolution.
At this point Vidkun Quisling directed his anger at the desperate straits Communism had brought Russia to: ‘I went there in order to help men in distress; sacrificed nearly all my means in order to help needy people there; ruined my health for a long time to come, and in addition lost my position in life at home. At that time, I visited the famine-struck districts, where all were suffering distress – we too – and security for life and health was negligible. But, when in other ways I was assisting Nansen in aiding those in distress, I looked about myself in vain for those people, who are now abusing me, and who in words and gestures feel so warmly for that same country.
“The position I now occupy forbids me to enter more fully into these matters, which concern another country. But I am convinced that sooner or later the representatives of labour in this hall will come to consist of men and women who – like myself – have had their views about social questions revised and developed in the hard school of life and experience, who do not support ruinous, foreign, inferior and compromised ideas, but who desire a solid and constructive national policy of work, which can protect the interests of the workers as well as those of the country at large.”
‘SQUEALING LIKE STUCK PIGS’
At this point legend has it, Norway’s impassioned Minister of Defence rose to his feet and banged on the podium with his hand. It had a similar effect on the Storting(parliament) as that intended by Haydn’s amusing ‘Surprise’ symphony No. 94 when the hudden orchestral clash startles the theatre goers.
Uproar ensured and the outcome was that the Marxist members of the Norwegian parliament squealed ‘like stuck pigs’, the bourgeois parties counted the buttons of their waistcoats but finally the parliament agreed to look at the hard evidence.
Vidkun Quisling produced it. What followed was an analytical dissection of the country’s revolutionary left proving beyond all doubt the violent, treacherous, revolutionary aims of Norway’s radical left. Vidkun Quisling was thus vindicated.
Note: The entire evidence is presented in I Was Quisling’s Secretary, Britons Publishing Company, 1967.
QUISLING’S BLUEPRINT FOR PEACE ON EARTH
Quisling had a keen understanding of world order and was a recognized political philosopher. Much of Quisling’s analysis and many of his statements influenced and contributed to the ideology of Italy’s emerging Benito Mussolini whose new Fascism was successfully creating the corporate state. Such was the success of Fascism that even Churchill conceded: ‘Of Italian Fascism, Italy has shown that there is a way of fighting the subversive forces which can rally the masses of the people, properly led, to value and wish to defend the honour and stability of civilized society. Hereafter no great nation will be unprovided with an ultimate means of protection against the cancerous growth of Bolshevism.” (2)
As a philosopher about which few records remain Vidkun Quisling put forward a revolutionary thesis to provide for a system of ‘universalism’. It called for a new world order based on a ‘groundwork of religion and morals as well as statecraft and science’. He saw this as the essential building block of a world community based on the complementary values of race, a ‘constitution’ of religion, statecraft, science, and essentially morals. The manuscript as far as I know is still hidden away in an Oslo vault.
Quisling’s real politik would place in history’s dustbin all systems based on principles that lack morality, defy natural order and deny a spiritual dimension to the human condition, i.e. Communism/Capitalism.
QUISLING, THE FATHER OF A UNITED EUROPE
Knudsen added: ‘It is now many years since he showed me his draft for a ‘European Covenant’; a commonwealth and a common market, conducted by a coalition cabinet in which each state had one vote. In such a United States of Europe, united with the British World Empire, and with the re-insurance of Russia, he saw the only possibility of peaceful progress.
‘The plan did not reach maturity because of the war, and after the war no recognition has been given him for it, even the draft mysteriously disappeared from the archives, and his enquiries for it at his trial were in vain. But (here Knudsen in 1967 comments on the emerging Common Market) they are the same thoughts which at this very moment are of impelling interest to the peoples of Western Europe.’
Quisling set about carving his niche as a politician and in the same year wrote his book, ‘Russia and Us’, the most stringent analysis of Soviet affairs ever to appear in the Norwegian language. Increasingly Quisling attracted the fury of Norway’s red agitators, those ruthless revolutionaries he had so recently bettered during his term as Norway’s Minister of Defence.
On 17′ May 1933, the Independence Day of Norway and the same year in which the German people elected Adolf Hitler as their country’s leader, the Norwegian leader formed his own political party, the Nasjonal Samling (National Unification).
His opponents sought in vain to libel and slander the patriotic newcomer but there was no flaw in the party leader’s Curriculum Vitae. His popularity and patriotism was without question and his impeachments of the hard men of the left had by now been endorsed by two-thirds of the Norwegian parliament.
Nevertheless the black propaganda persisted until Mrs. Sigrun Nansen, wife of the recently deceased renowned explorer leapt with others to his defence: ‘Whether opposing or supporting the policy of Mr. Quisling, I think that many deplore the personal and insulting form which the election campaign has taken against him. It will surely be of interest to know what Fridtjof Nansen thought of his aide. He often expressed his opinion about having had such a man for his helper: Excellent administrator, self-sacrificing and honest – his face was alight, when he mentioned Quisling’s name.’
The Nasjonal Samling’s leader inspired by the Elysian ambitions of Nansen sought to unify the Norwegian people under a program of reconstruction based on social equality. As in Britain today Norway had become separated from the fundamentals of life and was drowning in political expediency, social engineering, pornography, decadence, racial debasement and political correctness gone mad. His solution: ‘Like every society, which wishes to save itself from serious crisis, and to be reborn, we must find our way back to the life-giving substratum, and on this substratum unfold our potentialities.
FAMILY, PARENTAGE, BLOOD AND SOIL
A spiritual and responsible view of existence, as a living faith extended to all parts of our life, that is what people chiefly need; a proper combination of individualism and fellowship, with our best men to lead us, freedom of personal initiative, security of life and property, of work and its results, a sense of and a respect for, the family institution and parentage, for blood and soil, good-will and co-operation, instead of class-warfare, sound economic principles for the individual and for the entire society, emancipation of intellectual life and solidarity of economic life.’
Describing his re -born society Vidkun Quisling concluded by confronting the forces of national decadence: ‘Taking my departure from this ground, and joining battle with the forces that are partly opposing the new trend of things and partly endeavouring to lead it into ways abhorrent to nature, we will form a new, and – we may say – a religiously determined – political doctrine.’
In Vidkun Quisling, Norway’s Communists discovered an opponent far more to be feared that the compliant conservatives. No leader could match his resolution, his insider knowledge of Communist subversive and revolutionary strategy. Gangs of red thugs, financed and encouraged by the Moscow Mafia repeatedly attacked the Nasjonal Samling’s meetings and election campaigns. They vilified him as ‘a nazi’, ‘a fascist’, ‘an enemy of the working class’; there was no slander to which they wouldn’t stoop.
Similar scenes were being repeated throughout Europe as the Communist international attempted to bring down the democracies of Europe; from London to Oslo, Madrid to Copenhagen, anti-Communist patriots sharing the ideals of Oswald Mosley and Vidkun Quisling sought to stem the red tide.
BLOODY BATTLES AGAINST COMMUNIST THUGS
In terms of physical courage Vidkun Quisling inspired respect. Franklin Knudsen described events at a Nasjonal Samling meeting in Tonsberg in the autumn of 1933: ‘Communists took possession of the hall in advance, and created a fearful racket, in order – if possible – to interrupt Quisling’s speech. They shouted and sang the ‘international’ and eventually a struggle ensued at the entrance.
I had to knock down a couple of men, the more noisy ones were thrown out, and the meeting was eventually carried through in comparative order. Subsequently however, a threatening crowd congregated outside the hall, and the managers advised Quisling to leave by a rear entrance. He refused.
He went out by the main entrance and looked around, coolly appraising the mob. A silence fell, and then a forcible term of abuse was heard in the middle of the throng. Quisling inspected the hundreds of excited faces, and suddenly he saw which one had shouted. He went straight up to him and said: “Would you care to repeat that?”
The man stared at him furiously, but soon his eyes began to waver, and he turned round and disappeared. Quisling walked straight through the crowd without anyone touching him.
It was not merely his tall forceful figure that inspired respect. He had such powerful eyes. And was so totally devoid of fear, that he could actually paralyse an opponent.
After the meeting we went for a walk through the town, and down at the wharf four men came running out of a side street to ‘go for’ Quisling. I seized my pistol and called out:
‘Stop, or I shoot!’ and the gang disappeared as swiftly as they had arrived. Quisling turned to me, a broad smile on his face.
‘You should not take people so seriously,’ he said. ‘Certainly, I can stop them myself if necessary. And who knows, perhaps we might have had a chance of getting four more new members.’
Town after town fell to the popular appeal of Quisling’s Nasjonal Samling party; Gjovik, Bergen, Trondheim, Norkoping, Oslo and elsewhere. Even the communist stronghold, the market place in front of ‘the peoples’ house’ in Oslo, fell to the enthusiasm carried by Norway’s patriotic reaction to communist insurrection. It was a bitter blow to the reds who had vowed that no party other than their own would speak from the square.
Such was the extent of the red terror that Nasjonal Samling, as with all anti-communist organisations throughout Europe, found it necessary to organise a defensive ring. Throughout Norway over 500 well-disciplined men were selected to form the ‘hird’ defence force. In highly mobile detachments they placed themselves wherever needed, protecting Nasjonal Samling meetings, rallies, marches, political campaigning activities. Inevitably there were wounded on both sides of the conflict.
Knudsen explained: ‘The fact that we were constantly fighting for our rights gave us a fanatical fervour, that no adverse fortune could smother, not even the defeat we suffered at the general elections by reason of the collective opposition from both the ‘red’ (left wing) and the ‘blue’ (conservative) parties. Nevertheless, we continued with our educational work; we stressed the communist danger, the need for proper defence to ensure Norway’s neutrality, the need for national reconstruction.’
As a lesson and a warning that might be taken heed of by current political activists Knudsen went on to say: ‘Party politics in the strict sense of the term, we never pursued apart from short electioneering campaigns. Otherwise we confined ourselves to general questions of national politics.
‘In 1936, the day dawned which was to be decisive. We held a great national meeting in Oslo, which was attended by several thousand men from all over the country. Quisling then assembled his most active fellow activists, and we solemnly took an oath of fealty to him – staking our existence upon the issue – we promised – under his leadership – to continue with our struggle until we had won victory. He himself and over a thousand of his followers, sealed this oath with their lives.’
Apart from struggle, education and the entryism there were no tangible successes in terms of seats won until 1936, three years after the Nasjonal Samling’s formation. The party’s leaders realised that electioneering was secondary to education. First the electorate must be properly informed as to the dangers posed to their country, the threat posed by the weakness and treachery of the established parties, the need for national reconstruction.
EUROPE IN TURMOIL
With the exception of the stable and prosperous National Socialist Germany Europe was in turmoil. Britain and France whose preferential trade agreements were threatened by German competition, urged on by international Jewish interests, were blockading German products and threatening war.
Poland backed by England was constantly attacking Germany’s borders whilst Czechoslovakia on Germany’s eastern border had treacherously allowed the anti-German Soviet Union the use of its military airfields aimed at Germany’s heart.
Throughout the world and in particular, Europe, the Soviet Union was agitating. For world revolution. Menacingly it was poised to overthrow Rumania and its oilfields thus grabbing Germany by the jugular.
In northern Europe tiny Finland was desperately fighting to stem Soviet aggression (The Winter War). Overrun by overwhelming odds they failed and the hardy Finns surrendered (March 6* 1940) much of their country. Despite the capitulation they bravely fought on and an army of farmers brought the Red Army to a grinding halt. Their success against Stalin’s armed might outraged Winston Churchill. The English autocrat soon sought revenge for Stalin’s humiliation and finally got it on December 7*, 1941 when England declared war on Finland. Simultaneously England declared war on Hungary and Romania.
Spain was in the grip of Civil War in which General Franco was mobilising sufficient forces to (eventually) hurl Moscow’s cuckoo out of the Madrid nest. In Norway Quisling took the field against the Soviet-inspired Camerilla that was aiming to embrace the whole of Europe in a gigantic pair of pincers with one of its claws in Scandinavia and the other in Spain. Europe was in mortal danger.
Few were better qualified to act than was Vidkun Quisling. He knew the Soviet plans as well as they themselves did. He could follow the Soviet strategy step by step towards its final goal of world domination.
QUISLING MEETS LEON TROTSKY
Quisling had already met Leon Trotsky – the alias of Lev Davidovitsj Bronstein, an American revolutionary Jew – and knew his view of world revolution. He had also met leaders of the ‘Russian’ revolution in the Caucasus and the Ukraine, the Danube deltas and in Moscow itself.
Although a combination of diplomacy, real politic and censorship hid the Soviet revolutionary aims from the masses of Western Europe, Quisling was one of those sufficiently enlightened to identify and thwart the Communist threat. This is a fact for which every single Briton owes a debt to the Norwegian leader.
Hardly surprisingly the Nasjonal Samling’s slogan was: ‘Norway neutral – Norway prepared. ‘ It was a slogan detested by the sabre-rattling Winston Churchill who was already planning the violation of Norway’s neutrality as part of his strategy to deny ore to National Socialist Germany. Vidkun Quisling was proving to be an adept prophet in the militaristic manoeuvring of those countries that sought any excuse for war.
There was hardly a communist cell, act of entryism, conspiracy or fifth-columnist front in Europe that Quisling didn’t know about. His base was Norway but his heart was for the security of Europe. His two principle aims were to stop the Marxists in Norway and to bring unity to the anti-communist reaction throughout Europe. In fact, up until Hitler’s election when Communism in Germany was dealt with root and branch. Quisling was concerned that the Weimar regime, in defiance of the Versailles Treaty terms, had assisted Communist Russia’s aggressive intentions towards Britain and her Empire. This was yet another reason for Britons to reflect the debt they owe to the Norwegian patriot…
Quisling’s Nasjonal Samling Party urged adequate defences to maintain Norway’s neutrality from wherever it was threatened. The real traitors, Norway’s communists, especially after 1935 when the red-front Labour Party came to power, campaigned for disarmament and in the event of war, a general strike and the laying down of arms. This was precisely what the Soviets wanted. In fact, the Norwegian Labour Party smuggled the politically virile Trotsky into Norway under the assumed name of Sedow. This left little doubt as to the catastrophe likely to befall Britain’s closest Scandinavian neighbour.
Quisling did everything possible within the law to have the ghetto-revolutionary thrown out of Norway but failed due to the Government having invited him in in the first place. What followed was one of the most audacious acts of anti-subversion ever mounted in peacetime. Agents attached to Nasjonal Samling, without Quisling’s knowledge, tapped Trotsky’s phones, infiltrated his circle, spied on the revolutionary and his entourage, even burgled their homes.
THE LUCKLESS JEWISH MOUSE
One, posing as an estate agent, even visited Trotsky’s lair and ‘liberated’ several compromising directives. On other occasions his secretaries, (Trotsky was supposed to be convalescing!) were spied upon and their belongings discreetly searched. Finally Trotsky’s home was ‘burgled’ by the enterprising Nasjonal Samling’s operatives whilst he himself was intimidated by a multi car pursuit during which the nervous architect of the red terror protected himself with a sandbag at the rear of his neck.
Within days the luckless Jewish mouse, already responsible for the butchery of unknown numbers, contrary to his permit, imported several heavies who were anything but Nordic in appearance.
By then, faced with the then undeniable evidence of the Jewish revolutionary’s activities the thwarted red-front Labour Party had no choice but to intern Trotsky and then allow his extradition to Mexico. There the rat-faced little butcher was subsequently ice-picked to death by Jackson-Mornard, one of Stalin’s agents.
Quisling, in public at least, was less than amused at the unorthodox methods used by his party members to counter the Trotsky threat. He suggested, “It would have been simplest to have him delivered to the Russian consulate whereupon he would probably have been despatched to Moscow – in an urn.”
Vidkun Quisling was very much an ascetic and refused to accept a salary from his party’s funds. During the years 1933 /44 his secretary organised and recorded over 500 public meetings. The living and travelling expenses for Quisling must have been considerable but the party leader preferred to live on a meagre pension, occasionally selling a few possessions.
His efforts were rewarded by a constant stream of abuse both in the left wing and conservative press. As a person he was noted for his genial humour, which made light of such abuse. To those who were remote he could appear to be severe and serious, even uncommunicative. But among friends he was always good-humoured and the conversation sparkled when he was present. He was a great practical joker and his light- hearted banter made him extremely popular among friends and party activists.
Physically, Quisling was lank and loose-jointed but he was later to put on weight due to an inflammation of the kidneys, which he contracted just before England’s declaration of war.
Physically he was seemingly blessed with enormous stamina and typically he would run, apparently effortlessly, through the mountains for anything from six to eight hours. Franklin Knudsen said: “‘He walked like an elk, purposeful and indefatigable.’
Both Quisling’s parents belonged to a family line whose distinguished ancestry went back many generations. The name Quisling designates that the bearer belongs to a collateral branch of the Norwegian Royal Family, and Norway’s two most revered poets, Henrik Ibsen and Bjornstjerne Bjornson. He had good grounds to say at his court hearing: ‘It is not dishwater that flows through my veins.’
At school Vidkun excelled, particularly in literature, science, history and traditions. He reached the top of his class effortlessly. He remained in that position and so his final degree presented no problem to him. His love of the outdoors never suffered as a consequence of his academic diligence and he excelled at both shooting and fishing.
Knudsen affirmed that he had never met a man who needed less sleep. Six hours was his absolute maximum but frequently he would be dismissive of rest until the day’s work was completed and comrades ‘safely stood down’. Though that might be three or four o’clock in the morning he would still be back on his feet at 7.00am.
His ability to remember was uncanny. He once dictated some fifty lines of political text before asking Knudsen’s opinion. His secretary replied that he thought the wording unnecessarily academic. Without looking at the notes he mentioned a series of words and expressions explaining as he did so what was to be replaced and where. He then dictated the amended text flawlessly.
He was once introduced to sixteen new party members. Several months later he asked how each was getting on, recalling individual names, districts and attributes. He never made a single mistake. As a youth he had memorised the many hundreds of parishes of Norway, and their boundaries, simply to familiarise himself with the precise topography of his country.
OPPOSED TO ENGLAND’S BROTHER WAR
Distraught at the appalling likely consequences of what he called the ‘brothers war’ between Britain and Germany Quisling had intervened a month after England declared war on its European neighbour.
He telegraphed the British Prime Minister Chamberlain proposing that on British initiative a union of European nations be formed. His secretary and biographer Franklin Knudsen wrote: ‘A few weeks later he had ready a detailed draft for cessation of hostilities and a proposal for re-establishing peaceful relations between the brother- nations Great Britain and Germany.’
As Knudsen surmises, “If Quisling had had any desire to exploit the confusion of the of the world war and to seize power himself by the aid of foreign bayonets, he would have done exactly the reverse, viz: lulled the people into a still more profound sleep, and one day confronted it with an accomplished fact.”
QUISLING’S PROPHECY PREDICTING A UNITED EUROPE
On October 11, 1939 after Poland’s attacks on Germany had been repulsed and German territory ceded to Poland in 1918 recovered, Vidkun Quisling sent an urgent telegram to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain:
‘Having in 1927 to 1929 been charged with the task of attending to the British interests in Russia, I take the liberty of addressing myself to your Excellency being aware, of expressing the opinion of nearly all in the Nordic countries, when saying that the brothers’ war between Great Britain and Germany, with bolshevism as a tertius gaudens, is being felt in an especially tragic degree in our countries, that are so closely related to Great Britain as well as to Germany.
Your declaration of September 30, 1938, concerning the relations between Great Britain and Germany, and their vital importance to the peaceful development of Europe, made a strong impression here, and we are convinced that what is in question today is to save Europe and civilisation through peace with Germany in the spirit of your declaration.
The only positive way to achieve this is to fuse British, French, and German interests into a European Confederation on the initiative of Great Britain, in order to create a community of interests and co-operation, beneficent to all parties.
Under these circumstances, and in view of the sufferings, which the war is causing also to the neutral Nordic countries, I deferentially appeal to your immense authority and responsibility, and beg to suggest that the British government – in accordance with the tested methods of federalisation in America, South Africa and Australia – invite every European state to choose ten representatives to a congress charged with the task of preparing a constitution for an empire of the European nations, to be submitted to a plebiscite in each country for acceptance or rejection ….
You are the only statesmen who, under present circumstances, can bring Europe back to peace and reason. ” – Quisling, C.B.E., formerly Norwegian Minister of Defence.
This telegram was cordially acknowledged to which Quisling afterwards said: I received a friendly message of thanks, but otherwise I heard nothing more about the matter.’
One of the greatest ironies is that within two decades of the brother’s war such a confederation of European states was formed. An even greater irony is that Britain rather than taking the lead as suggested by Quisling, became a junior partner to a united Europe and is today standing on the sidelines.
QUISLING MEETS ADOLF HITLER
At his trial Quisling was at pains to explain a meeting with Hitler on December 16/17, 1939: “Later at the beginning of December 1939, 1 had the chance of going to Germany. The real reason for my journey was, however, a private request from doctor Aall, who was living with the Norwegian-American professor Strangeland, to visit him in order to discuss a scientific work. It has nothing to with the present (court) case.
Through the instigation of Reichsminister Alfred Rosenberg, I then had an audience with Hitler. It was the first time I had met him, and immediately received a strong impression that he was very attached to me. My conversation with him I may sum up as follows:
“I mentioned the question of peace to him, and Hitler then – as was his habit – gave me a long lecture on his and Germany’s relations with Great Britain. In the strongest terms he explained that it was a matter of emotion as well as reason that lay behind his fervent desire to reach an understanding with Great Britain, because Great Britain had gone to war about the Polish question, and he thought that he had made more than a fair proposal for a settlement of this question. Provisionally, things must run their course, but in due time, he would revert to the subject. As we know, this happened in the summer of 1940, but it was not a success.
“He also discussed Norwegian and North European matters. Hitler mentioned that he was aware of our endeavours to keep Norway out of the war, and emphasised strongly that the Scandinavian States – and particularly Norway – remaining neutral, best attended to Germany’s interests. Germany, Hitler emphasised, had no interest whatever in interfering in Norway, if only Norway vindicated her neutrality. Should she not do so, Germany would be bound to interfere, for if Great Britain tried to establish herself in Norway, it would constitute such a crucial threat against Germany, that Hitler would put forth all his strength to prevent it.
Germany would then also have to occupy Denmark and against Norway, he would pit everything that was needed to break any resistance, regardless of how many divisions might be required. 6-10-12-16 divisions, he stated. I particularly remember that he said 16 divisions, presumably, however, only as a casual end to a numerical series, which might be further increased.
This was exactly as I had argued for years, and had been preaching to my countrymen in numerous lectures and articles. It was, however, important to me to have my views thus confirmed at first hand. And there was no doubt as to his being in mortal earnest.
“Hitler also asked about our movement. I told him about it and about our struggle I had been carrying on in Norway. He asked what chances there were of our taking over the government, or whether it would be possible for us to get some of our men into government. This would secure Norway’s neutrality. I replied that I did not think this was possible for the time being, but that we were gaining an increasing number of supporters, and that the war might perhaps develop in such a manner as to make it possible or even desirable. Hitler said he would hail it with delight, because Germany was first and foremost, interested in the neutrality of Norway, to which – it was obvious – Hitler attached the greatest importance.
Vidkun Quisling went to great pains to prove conclusively that from as far back as the ‘Russian’ revolution he had consistently sought a peaceful unified Europe, preferably a single market Europe, with neutrality for Norway. He added that just as he had discussed Norway’s neutrality with Hitler he had done likewise with Great Britain from the British Prime Minister down through the ranks of parliament who were similarly in favour of an arrangement with Germany.
The British, and as a consequence the Germany invasion of Norway reduced Quisling’s status and means to achieve anything internationally.
HITLER’S DEFENCE OF SCANDINAVIA
Alarmed at the emerging evidence that Britain and France intended to attack Norway, Sweden and Finland, Hitler on December 27 gave explicit orders to prepare comprehensive plans for the defensive occupation, or if too late a strategy to throw the English cuckoo out of the Norwegian nest.
His fears were not groundless. On September 19, 1939 – less than two weeks after his declaration of war against Germany – Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, put forward the suggestion ‘that the British fleet should lay a mine field across the three mile limit in Norwegian territorial waters,’ the intention being to intercept and stop the essential supply of Swedish ore (via Narvik) to Germany. (4)
Churchill went on to bemoan the fact that having made his case the cabinet would not give their consent. ‘The Foreign Office’s argument in favour of respecting Norway’s neutrality was weighty’.
It was not until April 1940 that Churchill got his way. He dismissed any suggestion that Norway would retaliate by pointing out that Great Britain, through trade blockades ‘could bring the whole industry of Norway, centring on Oslo and Bergen, to a complete standstill, in short, Norway, by retaliating against us, would be involved in economic and industrial ruin.’ England’s swashbuckling First Lord contemptuously dismissed suggestions that Germany would retaliate.
Another ‘cunning plan’ of the ever-bellicose Winston was to declare de facto war on Norway, Sweden and Finland. This strategy was drawn up on February 5, 1940 when the Allied Supreme Council of the western powers held a meeting in Paris. There it was agreed to send up to four divisions, camouflaged as volunteers’ (5) to Finland via Norway and Sweden to seize those countries iron-ore assets. The strategy was aborted because of Sweden’s stated determination to resist.
Having been denied his calamitous warlike way Churchill on February 16, 1940 ordered British naval forces to proceed into Norway’s territorial waters and board the German freighter ‘Altmark’, which had prisoners-of-war on board. As Quisling had surmised the Norwegian government turned a blind eye to Churchill’s impudent two-fingered salute to their country’s neutrality.
On April 8 English aggression against Norway proceeded. The Royal Navy began to mine the Scandinavian country’s coastal waters; an act of war that once again blew a gaping hole in solemnly signed declarations.
As the mining of Norway’s ports continued British and French troops were simultaneously being mobilised to invade Norway. Their first objective was to occupy Narvik and to clear the port before advancing to the Swedish frontier. Simultaneously further troops were readied to occupy Stavenger, Bergen and Trondheim’.
HITLER HORRIFIED AT CHURCHILL’S AGGRESSION
At a time when according to corrupt British ‘historians’ England was supposed to be standing alone, Adolf Hitler was hardly alone in being horrified at the English and French invasion of Scandinavia. His country’s legitimate (and crucial) trade links with Finland would be broken in defiance of international law. Furthermore, Hitler was painfully aware that the invasion of his country would quickly follow. ‘The occupation of the Norway by the British would be a strategic turning movement which would lead them into the Baltic, where we have neither troops nor coastal fortifications . . . the enemy would find himself in a position to advance on Berlin and break the backbone of our two fronts.” (6)
Churchill was rather reticent about his criminal disregard for Scandinavia’s neutrality but his French counterpart, the equally belligerent Prime Minister Daladier was more forthright: “Churchill came to Paris,” he explained, “on April 5* 1940 and at last the British government resolved that the mine fields in Norwegian territorial waters would after all be laid. The operation was, however postponed until April 7 so Hitler could learn of it and prepare his counter move. One of the aims of the enterprise was to, entrap the opponent by provoking him into making a landing in Norway. ”
Churchill’s reticence was understandable. Instead of arriving first and drawing the Germans out, the German armed forces reached Norway first and with remarkably few forces prevented the British and French occupation of Norway.
‘Consequently, we were out of the running, and for all that, it was we, who had taken the initiative in the operations,’ admitted France’s Paul Reynard. France’s General Gamelin disconsolately agreed: ‘The intention had been to entrap their opponent (Germany) by provoking him into making a landing in Norway.’ It had gone disastrously wrong, they had been beaten to it by Hitler. Churchill himself reluctantly conceded that ‘The Norwegian government at the time was chiefly concerned with the activities of the British.’
BRITISH TROOPS ROUTED
Undeterred Churchill persisted in his aim to occupy Norway with Trondheim being the obvious choice; there were only 2,000 German troops stationed in the coastal town who would be little match for 13,000 British troops. The British Army was however routed during their encirclement and badly mauled, the remnants were evacuated by May I’*’.
More to save face than from any realistic chance of seizing neutral Sweden’s iron-mines, the British mobilised 20,000 troops and put them ashore at Narvik. Embarrassingly they too were routed by 2,000 Austrian Alpine troops supported by as many sailors again from the German destroyers based at Narvik.
At this stage of the war, Germany, which had so far merely protected its borders against Anglo-French aggression, retaliated against their tormentors. The numerically fewer and more lightly equipped German Army overran France. 338,000 allied troops, mostly British, retreated through northern France, most of whom were rescued on the express orders of the conciliatory Adolf Hitler. Along the Norwegian coastline the remnants of Churchill’s defeated British Army in Norway were simultaneously evicted (evacuated).
Everything that Vidkun Quisling had warned against had turned out precisely as he had predicted; rarely has a country suffered the ignominy of bearing the charge: ‘I told you so.’ Quisling stood vindicated.
Interestingly, the then Norwegian government, like today’s Labour Party activists, were selectively pacifist. Just as in England there are government ministers who once supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Quisling recalled a Norwegian apparatchik sitting on the military committee whilst wearing the ‘broken rifle’ emblem on his lapel. He became the Minister of Defence. Quisling wondered what these ‘warriors’ would do now to defend Norway’s interests.
Even Quisling’s most vociferous opponents agreed on the point of Norway’s lamentable lack of preparation: Major O.H Langeland, a vociferous opponent wrote: ‘Never has a people embarked on a war under a government that was so incompetent, and so totally incapable of understanding the nature of war as the Nygaardsvold government.’ (7)
Such was Norwegian parliamentary party’s incompetence, betrayal and treachery that in order to save their own skins when the post war inquest arrived they had little hesitation in placing the blame on the 100,000 of their fellow countrymen who had joined Quisling’s Nasjonal Samling Party.
NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT FLEES
Overnight the German armed forces consolidated their hold on Norway and set up a protective coastal cordon to thwart Anglo-French incursions. In Oslo itself the Norwegian authorities had evaporated like spring snow leaving only the police to cope with the invasion.
It was at this stage that a representative of the German government named Scheldt and an old acquaintance, Hagelin, approached Quisling, in his hotel room, the Astoria. The situation was made painfully clear, in a word, resistance was useless and at this stage could only come from guerrilla bands as all defence establishments had surrendered. The obvious was stated; continuation of the conflict would be catastrophic for Norway.
Overall the capitulation was peaceful and uneventful. The city of Oslo surrendered and thousands of curious Norwegians stood calmly along the pavements to witness the surprisingly low-key troop movements. Hitler despised victory celebrations. Knudsen surprised he saw one elderly lady spit in a German soldier’s face. He simply wiped the spittle off with the back of his hand and smiled.
At 1.00 o’clock Quisling completed his walk of contemplation and accompanied by Knudsen and Scheldt set off for the War Office. Once there he was recognised and saluted; he had of course been Norway’s Minister of Defence for two years, in these same offices.
The authorities had vanished; no one knew what had happened and no orders had been given. The General Staff had evacuated during the night. It was later discovered they had ensconced to a small hotel outside Oslo where they had mobilised a hearty breakfast.
Sadly it was not to be partaken. Just as these stalwarts were about to tuck in a German plane came flying over the suburb of HolmenkoUen and the entire general staff ran for their cars and disappeared. They left only their caps, shoulder belts, overcoats, portfolios, and of course their breakfasts.
Back at the War Office it was unanimously agreed ‘that it would be an act of utter insanity to attempt to resist.’
Having secured German agreement to consider the War Office as sacrosanct. Quisling ordered the destruction of all documentation that might aid the German armed forces. He then endeavoured to discover where Norway’s government had gone. He did manage to contact a colonel at Elverum who informed him that the government was on the point of fleeing to Sweden.
Quisling was quite certain that this must be prevented; its government and the authorities could not abandon Norway. In Oslo there were already signs of panic. Vidkun Quisling, ever the pragmatic, took the only available course open to him, an equally realistic decision that was taken during the German occupation of Guernsey and other soft targets.
ENGLAND AND FRANCE THWARTED
The German objective had been reached, the military denial of Norway to their English and French tormentors. It had never been their intention, borne out by events, of bringing bloodshed to their peaceful European neighbour. Furthermore the Germans had no wish whatsoever to interfere in the administration of the land of Norway.
There was anger that the German battleship Blucher had been sunk with heavy loss of life and a feeling for revenge in the form of armed aggression prevailed. This however was prevented on the express orders of Adolf Hitler.
The only remaining political party in Norway, Nasjonal Samling, was invited to administer the country’s affairs. Taking off his jacket Quisling set to work. His first intention was to broadcast a national appeal for calm. His doing so prevented much loss of life.
At 7.32pm Vidkun Quisling made his speech from Oslo’s radio station: ‘Norwegian Men and women! England having violated the neutrality of Norway by laying minefields in Norwegian territorial waters, without encountering any other resistance than the usual flimsy protests from the Nygaardsvold government, the German government has offered the Norwegian government, its help, accompanied by a solemn declaration that Germany will respect our national independence and Norwegian lives and property.
As a reply to this offer, which would provide a solution to the untenable situation in which our country finds itself the Nygaardsvold government has ordered a general mobilisation with the instructions that all Norwegian military forces are to oppose the Germans by armed force.
The government itself has fled, having recklessly gambled with the fate of our country and its inhabitants. Under these circumstances, it is the duty and the right of the national unity movement to take possession of the power of government, in order to vindicate the vital interests of the Norwegian people and the safety and independence of Norway.
By the virtues of circumstance and of the national aims of our movement, we are the only people who can do this and thereby save the country from the desperate situation into which the party politicians have brought our people. The Nygaardsvold government has withdrawn. The national government has assumed power with Vidkun Quisling as head of government and minister for foreign affairs, and with the following other members.’
Quisling then went on to name his government members drawn from a wide spectrum of professional Norwegian life including the armed forces.
‘All Norwegians are hereby called upon to keep the peace of the Realm and to preserve their presence of mind in this difficult situation. By united assertions and the good will of all, we shall bring Norway free and safe through this serious crisis. I add, that with the way the situation has developed, resistance is not merely useless, but directly synonymous with criminal destruction of life and property. Every official and every municipal functionary and particularly all the officers of our country, in the army, navy, coastal artillery and air force, are bound to obey orders from their national government.’
LESS COWARDLY THAN GUERNSEY’S CAPITULATION
Of course, the proclamation acted like a bomb up and down the country. Knudsen described his congratulating Quisling on his new role as Prime Minister of Norway. ‘He smiled – somewhat sadly I thought – and said: ‘It surely is no position to aspire after, Franklin. Let us hope, however, that the Germans understand our objectives.’
Was Quisling the puppet claimed by the vengeful victors? The evidence suggests otherwise. Norway’s new prime minister insisted on considerable autonomy moreso than did for instance the authorities on England’s German-occupied Channel Islands who were never denounced as traitors.
The first sign of Quisling’s independent spirit was shown when Reich Minister Brauer asked Quisling to visit him. The prime minister declined saying that on the contrary; Brauer must come to see him. On this occasion Quisling presented his list of government ministers, rather embarrassingly handwritten on a hotel letter heading. This at least put the lie to the allegation that Nasjonal Samling was part of a pre-arranged plot. If that had been the case then the new government of ministers, some even then in remote regions of the country, would never have been appointed ‘on the hoof. They would have been already appointed and standing in the wings.
It was Quisling who ordered the evacuation of German troops from his country’s parliament, while the illegitimate Nygaardsvold regime (through unconstitutional extension of their mandate) were abandoning their country and people. It was Quisling who by various directives saved many Norwegian lives.
There were amusing incidents. On one occasion Franklin Knudsen, Quisling’s secretary, was required to show his identity card. On showing the officer his passport he was promptly arrested which caused considerable tension. The Germans however did have a point. There in Knudsen’ s passport were the words, ‘Acting British Consul’.
There was amusement all round however when it was revealed that Knudsen who had indeed acted as British Consul, had been dismissed from the post several months earlier. Presumably this was because his father, British vice-Consul for thirty years, was dismissed for disagreeing with Britain’s war aims.
Of Quisling’s role Knudsen was afterwards to say: ‘There was no doubting my mind that Quisling had acted correctly, in order to salvage priceless values. Nothing that has happened subsequently has shaken this belief of mine one jot.’ (8).
The claim that Quisling was Germany’s imposed puppet is also wide of the mark. Whilst the Nasjonal Samling’s leader was indeed Prime Minister, it was Amrsleiter (Head of Department) Scheldt and President of the Board of Trade, Hagelin, who autonomously negotiated with the German authorities.
Quisling’s principal role was to provide responsible civilian rule thus denying the need for military dictatorship. He first aim was to ensure political and social stability and through proper defence to deter British and French aggression. It was assumed that adequate defensive fortifications would be in place prior to German withdrawal and the re-establishment of Norway’s neutral status. Had Quisling been listened to in the years leading up to England’s war against Germany and Scandinavia then of course British and then German invasion would have never occurred.
UNIVERSAL APPROVAL OF QUISLING
The new government earned the guarded approval of industry’s official representatives and ironically, the spontaneous and total support of the trade unions. Prior to their executive committees fleeing the country, Nasjonal Samling had been a thorn in the side of the Socialists but now abandoned by them, Norway’s workers became enthusiastic for their new government.
The press also promised Quisling their support. After a statement to the Oslo Press, the editor in chief of Norway’s equivalent to The Times or New York Times wrote supportively. He said that for many years he had been one of Quisling’s most consistent opponents, but after what had happened, he was convinced that there was only one course open to the nation, and that was the one which Quisling’s new government had made possible.
Every newspaper loyally quoted all the press releases Quisling forwarded. They were not compelled to do so; the new government did not possess the means to compel anyone to do anything against their wishes. In effect whilst Quisling responsibly administered the country’s needs the German authorities, which considered Quisling ‘a bothersome fellow’, merely provided for the country’s defence against England.
Unlike Britain’s whip system of government none of the Quisling government’s ministers or functionaries were coerced; each was given the free choice, to serve or not to do so. It is interesting to note that all functionaries were requested to dispose of all documents that might fall into German hands.
MASS PANIC IN OSLO
Throughout Norway settled a blissful calm except for one tumultuous day when Quisling was alarmed to see mass panic in Oslo. Tens of thousands of people were fleeing for their lives, even hijacking vehicles; anything to reach safety. On that ill-famed aptly named ‘panic day’ tens of thousands spent the freezing night in the woods surrounding Oslo.
The reason? Rumour had it that British warships were lying out in the fjord and were going to bombard Oslo on the stroke of twelve noon. The rumour was likely fuelled by a British broadcast aimed at giving the impression that Britain had allowed the Germans to successfully invade, so that the Royal Navy could blockade and confine Germany’s troops.
Acceptance of their position was universal and largely supportive throughout Norway. Certainly the fleeing Nygaardsvold regime was condemned without exception and in scenes that would undoubtedly have been echoed had England been invaded, the Norwegian people set out to make the best of things.
People, especially those in authority, did everything possible to ingratiate themselves with the Germans, offering assistance and advice. The German legation was actually besieged by Norwegians wishing to assist the Germans and Oslo’s local government were nothing if not enthusiastic in carrying out nightly repairs to the Fornebu airport which was being bombed by Britain’s Royal Air Force. For their part the German authorities kept Quisling informed as to those who were conspiring to oust him. There were several separate and parallel plans to remove Quisling, one of which was to succeed.
THE CONSPIRACY TO OUST QUISLING
Quisling for his part applied himself to getting the country running again. Previously Norway’s industry was disproportionately dependent upon Britain. Overnight entire industries closed down overnight, as did the banks. Thousands of workers found themselves without the means to make a living. Churchill’s boast to bring Norway’s economy to destruction looked certain but was again thwarted by Quisling. With enormous drive and energy he brought Norway’s entire economic and social administration back to work.
Perversely it was Quisling’s independent spirits that lead to his being removed from office. His relationship with minister Brauer had always been abrasive; the Reich’s appointee resented playing second fiddle to Quisling. Furthermore the Germans were great believers in real politic and the more Machiavellian Brauer had succeeded in convincing the German High Command that an alternative government to Quisling’s had been assembled. This Administrasjonsrad would be far more compliant to German demands and furthermore it had the unequivocal support of the King who had refused to recognise the Quisling government. This was a real politik that the Germans could not refuse.
Quisling was furious and in a angry confrontation with the German appointed puppet-president of the newly formed Administrasjonsrad he exclaimed: ‘You have these thirty years been walking about acting patriot and friend of the military defence of Norway, and now it becomes evident that you are willing to take over the government on German terms, which I had rejected in contempt. You have made yourself a vile hostage in the hands of the Wehrmacht. You will be forced to join in the plundering of our people, and when it is finished your new taskmasters will throw you out of office. It will be well deserved.’ Events turned out precisely as Quisling predicted.
Within days it became clear that Norway’s Administrasjonsrad had lied and did not have the King’s blessing and were unable to govern in the way the Germans had wanted. It was immediately dissolved, the occupied Norwegian territories were placed under a Reichskommissar and Norway found itself under direct military rule. The Reich’s new commissar was Terboven and for the first time the Swastika rather than the Norwegian national flag flew over parliament house.
FROM KOMMISSAR TO FOOT SOLDIER
Hitler who had allowed himself to be ill advised by the deceitful Brauer and his fellow conspirators was ruthlessly pragmatic. The hapless German appointee, Brauer, delirious with pride, flew to Berlin on April 16* A week later he was demoted to common soldier and posted to the Western Front. Rumour has it (by 1967) that Brauer had been absorbed into the Soviet apparatus as an advisor to the inspectorate of recruitment.
With less freedom than that enjoyed by the occupied Danes, a freedom likely to have been equalled in Norway had Quisling’s more benign administration not been sabotaged by Brauer, Norway’s infrastructure nevertheless hit the ground running. Industry was accelerating at such a pace that it was afterwards mockingly said that the Norwegians were profiteers by day and patriots during the evening.’
Quisling meanwhile was politically sidelined. Terboven informed him that unless he resigned as leader of Nasjonal Samling it would be declared an illegal organisation. Vidkun Quisling did fly to Berlin, hoping to lay the situation before the Fuhrer, but those who had an interest in maintaining Terboven’ s position prevented the meeting from immediately doing so and Quisling was ‘otherwise occupied’. Resting in a small hotel on the outskirts of Berlin, the days turned into weeks giving Terboven the space needed to consolidate his hold.
HITLER MEETS QUISLING
Finally the meeting with the German leader took place and was to last several hours. There, Quisling was given the opportunity to properly recount events which he did so without throwing Terboven to the wolves. Hitler, understandably upset at Norway’s pre- war treachery that had left his beloved Germany exposed to Baltic invasion, pointed out that Norway had no right to anything ‘after the pro-English policy she had been pursuing.’
The Fuhrer then smiled and added ruefully: ‘It is a strange irony of fate that we should be waging war against the two countries, for which, all my life, I have had the most sympathy, namely, Norway and England.’
Hitler spoke quietly saying that he could not make any changes to the conditions of occupation but would consider, as soon as conditions allowed, Norway’s craving for liberty.’ He also reminded Quisling that if England’s invasion had made occupation inevitable then better for the people of Norway that the occupiers be German rather than English. The Fuhrer had bitter memories of the English as occupiers. To underline his point the Fuhrer added that had it not been for the German occupation the Soviet Union aided by England would have certainly pursued its claim to access to the open sea (Atlantic). The implication was clear; it was hardly in Norway’s interests to be occupied by the Red Army. It was an irresistible argument.
The meeting ended with Quisling being afforded every facility for continuing his work, and working within a Norway enjoying considerable autonomy within a Germanic Europe. The German leader was set in his mind that never again would the offshore prodigal son, England, threaten Europe.
HITLER SALUTES QUISLING’S COURAGE
Unbeknown to the Norwegian patriot the Fuhrer, unaware of his presence in Berlin, sent Quisling a telegram which read: ‘By his many years’ work against world bolshevism, minister Quisling has involved the German people and myself in a debt of gratitude to him, a debt of honour, that will be paid in full both to him personally, and to the Norwegian people that bred him.’
Subsequently Quisling remained on the sidelines in the belief that doing so gave him the best opportunity of engaging and ousting Terboven’s Administrasjonsrad. Adolf Hitler was personally involved in negotiations aimed at providing Norway with a multi-party administration with Nasjonal Samling under Quisling’s leadership making up at least one-quarter of then proposed government. It was the Fuhrer’ s fervent hope that the Norwegian patriot’s track record would quickly make him the dominant figure in Norwegian politics.
Such were the contenders that it was jokingly said that Norway had enough ministers to run Europe.
In the event of the successful formation of Hitler’s choice, the Council of the Kingdom, Quisling’s Nasjonal Samling was accorded one-third of the new parliament’s seats but he himself was not made a member of the government. At least his work for the reconstruction of Norway, though now compromised by the intervening period, could begin.
POSTERITY STANDS IN JUDGEMENT
Posterity, not the vengeful victors will decide on guilt or otherwise. Certainly in the chaos of war and occupation there will be compromise, treachery, acts of cowardice and bravery, brutality, duplicity; all of humanity’s strengths and failings will be evident.
Separated from passion there were many collaborators (not just with the Germans) who were elevated to high position after the war. Equally there were patriots who fought passionately for their country, their race or the combination of both. They gave their lives. In between there were tens of thousands who lived, worked, often enthusiastically, to consolidate the achievements of the Third Reich. Many were building and repairing airfields used by the Luftwaffe to carry on the German war against Norwegian partisans. In such a chaos of torn loyalties are found hypocritical and unjust judicial sentencing.
If any nation and its people are to survive in the face of adversity some persons must take it upon themselves to negotiate, to see to it that there is a minimum of abuse of power. Would it have been any different had England been occupied? It is doubtful. Had those in a position to seek concessions from the Germans done so would they afterwards have been state-murdered for their collaboration in the events of the tide turning? If so, then who shall protect us should England be occupied in the future?
It may be (conveniently) forgotten today in Norway but it was Quisling alone who gained Adolf Hitler’s assurance that after the war Norway’s status as a free and independent nation would be fully restored. In fact, Norway officially was a German province only between his being stood down on April 11* 1940 and the restoration of government in 1942. Norway was delivered with her national integrity intact, due entirely to the efforts of the greatest Viking of all, Vidkun Quisling.
WAS QUISLING A NAZI PUPPET?
Was Vidkun Quisling a National Socialist? Decidedly not for in fact it was his and Knudsen’s almost English (establishment) negative perception of National Socialism that earned them the distrust of Berlin. Those politicians who did replace him were appointed not so much because of their affection for or understanding of Norway but for their affection for the Third Reich and in particular National Socialism.
Quisling had, much to his later regret, always trusted England first and foremost. He was particularly aggrieved when, in the summer of 1940, he was deprived of his order of CBE (Commander of the British Empire). In his biography his secretary emphasised ‘the naked truth’: “Quisling was far more pro-English than pro-German.”
Franklin Knudsen himself was a product of the English public school system. He had also been an Acting British Vice Consul, hardly a role suited to a National Socialist.
As late as 1938 Knudsen had collaborated with the Air Ministry in London. This was in connection with a Norwegian patent for directing torpedoes by the aid of photoelectric cells. It was hardly surprising the Gestapo suspected him of belonging to the British Secret Service.
Essentially the Nasjonal Samling Party was Fascist inclined only inasmuch as it represented a sea change for social improvement, the elimination of class, the provision of conditions amenable to national prosperity, and a sound defensive strategy. As such it was natural that it should be vehemently opposed to Communism but then, virtually every country in Europe had, with varying degrees of success, their own Nasjonal Samling parties.
On May 7, 1945 Norway capitulated and the disintegration proceeded during which time Vidkun Quisling was ordered to present himself and with party members to the police station. He had already spurned an offer to decamp for a neutral country, Spain or South America. He preferred however to stand by his post and to vindicate his actions. A surprising lack of judgement for he must already have known of the vengeful extremes to which his opponents would go.
THE CRUCIFIXION OF A REPUTATION
The campaign to blacken the Norwegian patriot’s reputation began immediately upon his being gaoled. The media that had been on friendly terms with him so recently now denounced him as ‘a drunken decadent bearing all the signs of excess debauchery.’ Pretty good considering Quisling was a tee-totalling non-smoking ascetic. One can only imagine what the same media might say if let loose on the Vatican?
Vidkun Quisling and thousands of other gaoled political hostages was systematically starved with rations as low as 700 calories a day, the normal requirement being 3000 calories daily. In these prisons various diseases ran rampant and neuritis, due to lack of nutrition, was common. Such was Quisling’s physical condition that on at least one occasion the court had to be adjourned because he had difficulty standing.
Quisling’s political activity before the occupation was a mainstay of the prosecution’s case. (Defence evidence was inadmissible) It alleged that he had 1. Furnished Germany with military and political information. 2. That in December 1940 (three months prior to the invasion) he had procured an audience with the Norwegian businessman, Hagelin, Admiral Raeder and Adolf Hitler. 3. That by declaring illegal (which it was) the Norwegian parliament’s extension of itself he had provided himself with a reason to force a coup d’etat.
The rest was equally puerile nonsense. It was charged that Quisling would invite the Germans to occupy Norway as being preferable to being occupied by Britain, that he would incorporate Norway into a Great Germanic League. It was also charged that he had convinced Adolf Hitler in 1939 of the western powers intention to invade Norway. It may have been irrelevant to such a court that it was of course true. Finally he Quisling had charged (again quite correctly) the then illegal Norwegian government with having decided not to hinder an allied invasion of Norway.
Perversely, rarely has a prosecution so successfully managed to turn acts of great patriotism into base treachery.
Denounced as a traitor for offering a defensive solution to an invasion from whatever quarter, for exposing an illegal act (extension of parliament) by a government, warning his country of an enemy’s invasion plans, and denouncing his government for collaborating and acquiescing to England’s planned invasion. That is treachery?
It was never explained why, if it was Quisling’s intention to surrender his country to Germany, why his party alone in the Norwegian parliament, had offered a solution that would guarantee Norway’s continued neutrality. A strange thing to do if one is contemplating surrender to an enemy.
Nor was it ever explained why, if it was Quisling’s intention to surrender to German invasion (caused by England’s invasion) why he had always advocated a strong defensive capability, pushed for a strong national government, for the formation of a British- Norwegian League, and for peace between England and Germany.
‘WHOSOEVER ENTERS HERE, LEAVES HOPE BEHIND’
As in all of the victors’ show trials Quisling was allowed neither defence counsel save one chosen for him by the state, nor defence witnesses or defence evidence. The judge, Eric Solem, was handpicked as a veteran political opponent of the Nasjonal Samling’s leader. He was almost certainly Jewish.
An article in the ‘Aftenposten’ April 18, 1947, says: “It would perhaps not be so strange, if one or other of the worst traitors (landssvikers), who is brought into the court, where Judge Eric Solem is presiding, for a moment recalls to his mind the inscription over the entrance to Dante’s famous hell. ‘Whosoever enters here, leaves hope behind.’
This statement incredibly was written in an article praising ‘hanging judge’ Solem. Afterwards Gustav Smedel, one of Norway’s greatest jurists remarked in references to the sinister appointment of Chief Justice Paul Berg: ‘In a state which recognises equality before the law one cannot accept that one political leader sentences another to death.’ The entire legal apparatus assembled to judge Vidkun Quisling was drawn from his avowed enemies. The Norwegian patriot was inevitably sentenced to death by firing squad.
October 1, 1938: “Europe is standing on the brink of the greatest tragedy in the history of the human race: a new world war, that may involve the doom of our entire civilisation.” – Vidkun Quisling
June 27, 1936: “Such a war between Great Britain and Germany would be catastrophic for Norway. Norway cannot and will not march, except when our own liberty and our own boundaries are in danger. We therefore demand a strong and unconditional vindication of Norway’s neutrality, and that the neutrality and the peace of the realm be secured through the strengthening of our military defence, quickly and effectively.” – Vidkun Quislin
“We, in Nasjonal Samling, therefore endeavoured to do all in our power to create peace and mutual understanding between these two great kindred peoples. We worked for a union of all Nordic peoples, in a Great Bond of Peace, of Scandinavians, of Britons, Germans and Netherlanders. At the National Congress of Nasjonal Samling in 1936, we made the matter one of the chief points of our policy. However, when the people stood at the crossroads they chose Barabbas.’ – Vidkun Quisling
‘He (Quisling) could never imagine that the Western Powers would be so stupid as to open Europe to the Russian hordes. He regarded Churchill as a practical politician of the greatest stature, a warlord, who was perhaps even more unscrupulous than Hitler, when it was a question of furthering the interests of his country; but that Churchill should be a party to delivering Europe to communism was a shattering disillusionment to Quisling. Churchill had for years been quite as anti-bolshevistic as Quisling or Hitler, and he also was a staunch supporter of the classical English policy on foreign affairs, namely, the balance of power.
If Hitler failed to break the back of bolshevism, there was still the belief that the western Powers would clip its claws, or at least contain it within the old Russian boundaries. The reverse situation meant that the death sentence would be passed on eastern and central Europe, and even Norway would be put into an extremely dangerous position, as a close neighbour of Russia.” – Franklin Knudsen.
“The British were adept at committing atrocities leaving evidence to suggest partisan responsibility. German retaliation often resulted in inflaming tension: “It is sufficient to call to mind how the ‘voice of London’ sparkled with enthusiasm every time it reported new German reprisals, executions and deportations. Then one may say to oneself: In every truth, the Norwegian heroic saga has still unwritten chapters.” – Franklin Knudsen.
“The men of the Nuremberg Court came to an agreement beforehand to bar evidence that might have been awkward for the allies. I am left with the unfortunate feeling that something similar may have happened in connection with the Quisling trial. I do not say that it did happen, but that the trial leaves that impression with one who perhaps possesses certain qualifications for evaluating the facts of the trial.” – Lord Hankey, Politics, Trials and Errors.
THE LAST WORD: “Do not handicap yourself with the idea of revenge, for the trend of things will revenge your wrong not only upon the individuals responsible for your persecution, but on the society that has permitted this lawlessness.” – Vidkun Quisling’s final words to his friends and party members.
AND SO DIED A VIKING
(1) Memoirs of Prime Minister Paul Reynard of France: La France a sauve
(2) Winston Churchill, 11th, November, 1938
(3) I Was Quisling’s Secretary, Britons Publishing Company, 1967
(4) The Second World War, vol.2. Winston Churchill
(5) History of the Second World War, Liddell Hart.
(6) History of the Second World War, Liddell Hart
(7) ‘Judge Not’, p.22
(8) I Was Quisling’s Secretary, Britons Publishing Company, 1967
Footnote: H. Franklin Knudsen’s Norwegian father was British Consul in Norway, his grand-uncle the Norwegian Prime Minister and his mother’s father an Englishman. The young Knudsen was privately educated in England at a school ‘frequented by the sons of Ambassadors and Viceroys.’
A video-slide-show in honour of Vidkun Quisling: