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Norway — Hitler’s Northern Utopia

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On April 12, 1934, an exceptionally beautiful spring day, Adolf Hitler arrived in Norway aboard the Deutschland, a new pocket battleship, on a brief and unpublicized vacation. It was his first trip abroad since becoming Germany’s chancellor a year earlier. He was accompanied by Admiral Erich Raeder, the commander of the German navy, and Werner von Blomberg, the minister of defence. Hitler and his companions never ventured beyond the Sogne fjord on Norway’s west coast.

Six years later, on April 9, Germany invaded Norway, seizing its major coastal towns within hours. Refusing to surrender, King Haakon VII and members of the government fled into exile in Britain.

Germany appointed Josef Terboven, a Nazi district official in Essen, as head of the civilian occupation regime. General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst would be the commander of German military forces. Vidkun Quisling, a former defence minister and the leader of Norway’s fascist party, was named to lead a puppet government.

As Despina Stratigakos writes in Hitler’s Northern Utopia: Building the New Order in Occupied Norway (Princeton University Press), Norway would be a template, a testing ground, for the Greater German Reich, “a new racial empire based on the collaboration of Nordic peoples.”

Obsessed by race, the Nazis regarded Norwegians as racially superior to Germany and admired their Viking origins. In his instructions to Terboven, Hitler told him, “You will give me no greater pleasure than by making........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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