Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9: Never Forget

Today is an important day in the history of Norway, as it marks the 70th anniversary of an event that would have a major impact on Norway’s national identity as a country that believed in freedom and independence above all else.

On April 9, 1940 Nazi Germany launched Operation Weserübung, the full invasion of Norway. By the end of the day, citizens of Norway would see German warships in the fjords leading to Oslo and hear the voice of Vidkun Quisling making the first-ever radio-effected coup d'etat. In memorial coverage of the invasion, Aftenposten recently wrote that, “Norway was woefully unprepared for the attack by the forces of Adolf Hitler. Norway had been neutral during World War I but reports of its horrors gave rise to widespread pacifism in Norway that extended through the 1930s. By the time Hitler’s aggression was finally recognized, it was too late to build up a military defense.”

It was a dark day for Norwegians to be sure.

But today, 70 years later, the event is memorialized in places like Oscarborg fortress and elsewhere throughout Norway. Many Norwegians are participating in some form of ceremony today, in remembrance of the events that kicked off Norway’s now famous resistance movement which led to the eventual reclaiming of their homeland. Additionally, Norway’s state archives, the Riksarkivet marked the anniversary by releasing thousands of pages of war documents, which reveal new details about the resistance effort, the deportation of Norwegian Jews and plans by Vidkun Quisling to set up a Norwegian Aryan colony in the former Soviet Union.

Events like this should never be forgotten, if for no other reason than to prevent them from happening again. That said, I’d like everyone reading this today to join Norwegians around the world in taking a moment to pause in reflection of the horrors of what happened in 1940, and during the war years that followed.

Sons of Norway members in New York in 1940, drawing up papers for a formal protest of Germany's invasion of Norway.

If Norway circa World War II, or its resistance movement are of interest to you, I highly recommend you check out the October 2008 issue of Viking magazine, or click here to read stories from the resistance that we posted on the blog last year. There's also some great articles over at on the remembrance and the release of war documents this year.


Anonymous said...


De 4 årstidene said...

We never forget. I`m to young, but we still "remembering" this day.

You wrote earlyer about you grandparents/great-grandparents who was settlers in Baltic. I`m doing some geneology search in Baltic. My husbands great grandmother emigrated and lived in Baltic. She was from Sør-Trøndelag, a village south of Trondheim. Wonder what Surename your great grandparens had?

Good blog :-) Next will be 17.Mai?

Ingrid bloggar said...

Hi, Greetings from a Norwegian living in Sweden. Nice to see your comitment to Norway and Norwegian History.