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New post for Quisling

From our diplomatic correspondent
2 February 1942

London, Sunday
The Germans still have their uses for Quisling. To-day he was made chief of the occupied state of Norway by Terboven, the Reich Commissioner (governor) of Norway, who extended to him the blessings of Hitler, his supreme master.

Quisling and his National Samling (or Norwegian Nazi party) have already, under the close protection of the Germans, set up many of the features of the Nazi state in Norway. He has his own Storm Troops, anti-Jewish laws, and even his own “winter help.” Parliament, the free press, and an honest and unfettered judiciary have disappeared.

Quisling’s position is described as midway between a chief of state and a Premier. In reality he will be figurehead exercising under limited authority the powers of a sub-dictator. The Germans find it convenient to govern Norway through a puppet, though it does not deceive anyone – the Norwegians, the outside world, or even the Germans themselves. A national council of pro-German “yes men” is to be set up, apparently on corporative lines, with the same title as the former Norwegian parliament, or with a similar name. This body will not, of course, be a legislature, but it is stated that it will exercise certain powers over the conduct of the State.

Quisling’s first act as puppet chief of state will be to declare that war between Norway and Germany is at an end. If that were seriously meant Germany might be expected to evacuate Norway, and Norway, as a free sovereign state, would revert to its former neutrality and resume diplomatic relations with other countries. Actually, the main purpose of this fiction appears to be a desire by Quisling to be recognised by Sweden and his government’s representative to become Norwegian minister in Stockholm.

Repudiated by the King
Norway is being assimilated by force and by fraud to Germany, but the Norwegian people (with the exception of Quisling’s small minority) are resisting by every means open to them. The latest reports from Norway indicate the strength of this resistance, for in the last four days alone ten Norwegian patriots have been executed by the Germans.

Meanwhile King Haakon and the Norwegian government in London have repudiated Quisling’s manoeuvre and condemned it as fraudulent. They have also issued a decree degrading the Quislings and depriving them of certain civil rights.

Editorial: puppet rule

2 February 1942

The Nazis are setting up a government in Norway with Quisling as “prime minister.” It is stated that the Nazis hope in this way to economise Nazi manpower and to persuade the world that Norway has accepted the “new order.” Quisling is to occupy King Haakon’s palace. This arrangement may enable the Nazis to cut down their administrative staff in Norway, and no doubt the strain of finding officials for all the occupied countries is beginning to be felt. But it is ridiculous to suppose that the world will be taken in by this pretence of giving Norway a domestic government or that neutrals will treat the government with any respect. The fact that Quisling is to be Norway’s prime minister will be evidence everywhere that the Nazis despair of winning over the Norwegian people. From Nanjing to Norway the world knows a puppet. Quisling already threatens his countrymen: “The Norwegian people,” he says, “need a severe schoolmaster” who knows the people thoroughly and who can teach them national “discipline.” Quisling can make peace with the Nazi Germany whose bayonets support him, but not with Norway herself.

Adolf Hitler at Palace Klessheim near Salzburg, in conversation with Norwegian prime minister Vidkun Quisling, April 1943.
Adolf Hitler at Palace Klessheim near Salzburg, in conversation with Norwegian prime minister Vidkun Quisling, April 1943. Photograph: ullstein bild/Getty Images

Miscellany: Oslo’s Akershus

Edited by “Lucio”
3 February 1942

The Nazis chose an ancient enough site for the “investiture” of their creature Quisling as Führer of the Norway which he has tried so hard to betray. The Akershus, where Sunday’s inglorious ceremony was held, was built as a fortress to protect Oslo in 1299. It was attacked in vain by Sweden eleven years later, by the Danes in 1531, and by the Swedes in 1567 and again in 1718 – always with the same result. In recent times it has been considerably restored and reconstructed and from the outside it now looks a little like a model fortress of the Vauban period. It stands on a low eminence rising immediately from the waterfront and the modern quaysides; on one of its flanks there is (or was) a pleasant, open-air restaurant of the type that lends charm to many Continental cities and from it there is a good view of the immediate port and fiord. Behind run the low walls of a fortress in a vanished sense. It may be doubted whether in all its long history the ancient Akershus has ever housed, even by accident or as prisoner, quite such a despicable creature as the puppet-hero of last Sunday’s ceremony.

Fires and bombs in Norway

From our special correspondent
5 February 1942

Stockholm
Quisling’s promotion was followed quickly by further demonstrations of Norwegian disgust, including, besides the two timebomb explosive fires at the Oslo East and West stations on Sunday, a number of other destructive fires, according to reports from Oslo.

Particular destruction was wrought at a rubber works as Askim and another at Drammen. A fire which did slight damage at the Oslo National Theatre and a bomb exploded in the Storting building. A number of other mysterious large fires preceded Quisling’s elevation in many places, including several buildings at Trondheim and at Bergen.

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