Norwegian history | World War 2 and occupation | Norway

On 9 April 1940, German forces attacked Norway in the early hours of the morning. The Norwegian armed forces attempted to stave off the attack, but they were in no way prepared for this monumental task.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
A man and his Norwegian Dole horse are preparing the soil in early spring. The location is Volvat, Oslo, Norway - and the date is 17 May 1940. Norway has only recently been invaded by German forces. It is presumably the hill of Holmenkollen in the background. | Photo: Esther Langberg - digitaltmuseum.no OB.Z16621 - cc by-sa.
A silent demonstration in Oslo on 17 May 1940. Norway had only recently been invaded by German forces. | Photo: Esther Langberg – Oslo Museum cc by-sa.

World War 2 and occupation | AD 1940 – 1945

King Haakon 7 and the royal family, the parliament, and the government quickly fled the capital Oslo, heading north. Less than 2 months later, the king and his government left the northern city of Tromsø, bound for London, after refusing to accept German demands of surrender. The events during this period are dramatised in the film The King’s Choice.

5 years of occupation and hardship followed for the Norwegian population. The king and the government did what it could to keep up morale from London, and worked in secret to build a resistance movement within Norway’s borders. The covert work of the resistance can be seen dramatised in the film Max Manus: Man of War and the mini-series The Heavy Water War.

In October AD 1944, Soviet forces entered Norway’s northernmost region, Finnmark, heralding the beginning of the end of the war. But the German’s did not give up without a fight: most buildings and infrastructure in the regions of Finnmark and Troms were burned and destroyed, in an attempt to slow the Russians down. Most of the northern population was evacuated south. On 8 May 1945, the German’s capitulated and the leadership of the resistance movement assumed temporary control. King Haakon returned to Oslo on 7 June 1945 and was met by ecstatic crowds.

More than 46,000 Norwegians were punished after the war. 25 people were executed, among them Vidkun Quisling, who was Nazi-Germany’s puppet prime minister, and whose last name has become a noun used all over the world, meaning a traitor.

Once again, the Norwegians took on the task of rebuilding the nation – and a time of great and shared prosperity was in the offing.

Next period: Norwegian history | the post World War 2 era | Norway

Or see the full: History timeline | from stone age to modern era | Norway

BC = before Christ | AD = anno domini = after Christ
Main source: Store norske leksikon – snl.no

Our most recent posts

My Norwegian heritage

Ljå is a Norwegian noun that means a scythe - an old agricultural cutting-tool used when mowing the grass to make hay, or when harvesting the grain crops.
Are you looking for a Norwegian-to-English dictionary that includes old-fashioned words and dialect words? Then Einar Haugen’s book is your best pick.
With the High middle ages came expansion and progress. But everything was about to change, in the most brutal way imaginable.
From the early 1800s and well into the 1900s, Norway was a significant exporter of natural ice. But how did they prevent the ice from melting?
To make sure he could tide the animals over the long and cold winter, the historical Norwegian farmer utilised all available resources.
Uekte and ekte are Norwegian adjectives that in one context means illegitimate and legitimate - as in a child born outside or inside a marriage.
Klippfisk - or klipfish - is fish preserved through salting and drying. Since the early 1700s, the Norwegians have been large-scale klippfisk producers and exporters.
The most significant sections of Norwegian productive soil can be found in the counties of Trøndelag, Hedmark, Oppland and Rogaland.
The modern human has a tendency to judge its forebears and their way of life solely based on the reality of our own time.
The Fjord horse is one of today’s oldest and purest horse breeds. Its historical habitat is Norway's western coast, with its deep fjords and steep mountainsides.
In the olden days, people dressed up warmly and got out onto the fjord or lake to catch their Sunday dinner. Enjoy!
Here are 12 historical photos representing the fascinating Sami culture - with deep roots in the Norwegian and Nordic landscape.
In olden Norway, the farm-animals were sent off to the mountains and forests all summer. With them came a herder to guard them, and a maid to turn their milk into cheese and butter.
The majestic Norwegian mountains can be treacherous - and they steal human lives every year. Study the Norwegian mountain code - and be prepared for your next journey.
The old Norwegian farming society was a self-sufficient and balanced world. Coins and notes were all but an alien concept.
For many, it may come as a surprise that the history of rose painting and its place in Norwegian folk art is not as old as one might think.
On 18 November 1905, after a supportive referendum, the Norwegian parliament unanimously elected the Danish Prince Carl as the country’s new king.
In 1836, milkmaid Kari Moen from the community of Sauherad in Telemark, Norway, was attacked by a bear. She almost lost her life that day.
In this post, we take a look at the layout of the Norwegian farm and its surroundings - and how the land and its resources were utilised.
The wild ocean world of Værøy in Lofoten, Norway, was the birthplace of Mimmi Benjaminsen – born in 1894. Here are some of her childhood memories.
In my childhood, life was simple. And the small joys of Christmas lifted our spirits - and delivered us safely into the new year.

Follow us on social media

Norwegian history