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Translation of document 004-PS
The Political Preparation of the Norway Action
(The enclosures mentioned in the report have been omitted from this paper since they are only relative to specific matters. The complete report including appendices has been submitted to the Deputy of the Fuehrer by Reichsleiter Rosenberg on 17 June 1940)
The Office of Foreign Relations [Aussenpolitisches Amt] of the National Socialist Party (NSDAP) has had contact with Vidkun Quisling, leader of the Nasjonal Samling in Norway, for years. The director of the “Office North” [Amt Norden] of the office of Foreign Relations — later victim of a fatal accident — paid him (Quisling) a personal visit on one of his trips to Scandinavia.
When in 1939 the general political situation was beginning to grow critical Quisling gave the Office of Foreign Relations an estimate of the situation and his opinion about the possible intentions of Great Britain with relation to Scandinavia in case of conflict (Great Britain's) with the German Reich. Prior to the convention of the Nordic Association [Nordische Gesellschaft] in Luebeck, Quisling was received by Reichsleiter Rosenberg in Berlin. He ( Quisling) pointed out the decisive geopolitical importance of Norway in the Scandinavian region and the advantages gained by the Power in control of the Norwegian coast in case of conflict between the German Reich and Great Britain. He further explained the extraordinarily clever, democratic and particularly anglo-saxon propaganda which had been accepted favourably by almost the entire nation, also because of Norway’s economic dependence on the seas and therefore on England. Since he did not believe that the small nations would remain neutral in case of conflict--as had been the case in the World War of 1914 — but was convinced that they would become involved in one way or the other he requested support for his party and press in Norway, basing his request on the “pangermanic” ideology. Reichsleiter Rosenberg also requested Director [Amtsleiter] Scheidt to arrange a meeting between Quisling and his Deputy Hagelin with State Secretary [Staatssekretaer] Koerner, bearing in mind that this matter might be of particular interest to General Field Marshall Goering with regard to air strategy. This meeting with the State Secretary Koerner did take place. At the same time Staff Director [Stabsleiter] Schickedanz, directed by Reichsleiter Rosenberg, submitted the attached memorandum to Reich Minister and Chief of the Chancellery Reichsminister und Chef der Reichskanzlei Lammers for the information of the Fuehrer by the end of June 1939 (Enclosure No. 1).
After the Luebeck convention Director [Amtsleiter] Scheidt took a vacation trip to Norway to further pursue this matter. His observations are found in the attached report (Enclosure No. 2). Even during his presence in Germany Quisling had requested a short, pertinent training program for reliable party functionaries especially selected by him. This request was granted by Reichsleiter Rosenberg. In August 1939 a 14 day course was held at the School of the Office for Foreign Relations of the NSDAP [Aussenpolitisches Schulungshaus der NSDAP] in Berlin for 25 followers of the Nasjonal Samling who had been selected by Quisling.
In September Burgermeister Dr. Winkler revealed that he had been charged with the financial aspects of Quisling’s request by General Field Marshal Goering through State Secretary Koerner. The outbreak of war and the beginning of the Polish campaign delayed the decisions (Enclosure No. 3). A further reminder of Reichsleiter Rosenberg to General Field Marshal Goering in the course of a talk about the importance of Norway in connection with the matters set forth originally by Quisling had no practical results.
At the same time political tension increased in Norway as Russian activity made itself felt in the Baltic regions. Of this Quisling kept the office (APA) informed through his deputies in Germany. The outbreak of the Russo-Finnish war at the end of November helped to further increase the anti- German currents in all Scandinavia and played into the hands of the anglo-saxon propaganda which was now building up to full strength. Greater Germany was represented as a secret ally of Soviet Russia and as the real culprit in Finland’s misfortune. At the same time the Western Powers promised Finland military support which could only be supplied via Norway and Sweden. The possibility of a plan by Great Britain to occupy Norway and possibly Sweden to effectively close the blockade against Greater Germany and further to gain convenient air bases against Germany began to take shape under the pretence of altruistic help to Finland. Its aim was to involve also the Nordic Nations in a conflict against Greater Germany. Quisling informed the office (APA) about these new possibilities shaping on the political scene, acting through his deputy in Germany.
As the activities of the Allies became more and more noticeable in Norway Quisling again came to Germany to voice his fears. He was received by Reichsleiter Rosenberg in the early part of December and he again presented his ideas. Firmly convinced that in the long run a genuinely neutral position in the great conflict would become impossible for the small nations and in his in faith in the victory of Greater Germany in this conflict Which also was an ideological one, Quisling considered it his duty. Supported as he as by a small but determined minority-to tie Norway’s fate to that of a Greater Germany as the new centre of strength of a nordic-germanic life community.
We knew that his courageous group was the only pro-German Party. His deputy in Germany, Hagelin, had also arranged for a talk between Quisling and Grand Admiral Raeder which took place about this time. During a report to the Fuehrer Reichsleiter Rosenberg again mentioned Norway. He particularly pointed out her importance in the case of England deciding to occupy Norway with the tacit consent of the Norwegian Government, for the purpose of strengthening the blockade and under the pretence of help for Finland. Grand Admiral Raeder, too, upon his request, was called to the Fuehrer in connection with his talks with Quisling. As a result of these steps Quisling was received by the Fuehrer for personal instructions on the 16th of December and again on the 18th of December. During this interview the Fuehrer emphasized repeatedly that the most preferable attitude of Norway as well as all of Scandinavia would be one of complete neutrality. He lad no intentions to enlarge the theatres of war to draw other nations into the conflict. If, however, the enemy were preparing an enlargement of the zones of war with the aim to further throttle and threaten the Greater German Reich then, of course, he would be obliged to arm against such steps. Then the Fuehrer promised Quisling financial support for his movement based on the pangermanic ideology and for the purpose of combatting the increasing enemy propaganda. The military matters of the questions were now transferred to a special military staff which assigned special missions to Quisling and heard his opinions (Encl. No. 29). The political treatment was to be handled by Reichsleiter Rosenberg, expenses were to be carried by the Foreign Office Auswaertiges Amt and Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs [Reichsminister vom Aussenpolitischen Amt] was to be kept informed at all times. Maintenance of liaison with Quisling was assigned to Director [Amtsleiter] Scheidt who, as matters developed further, was attached to the Naval Attache in Oslo, Commander [Korvettenkapitaen] Schreiber. Strictest secrecy was ordered for the entire matter.
Then, in January, during a conference between Reichsleiter Rosenberg and Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop it was decided to appropriate to Quisling an initial sum of 200000 Goldmark. This money was to be taken to Oslo, in two installments, by the liaison agent Scheidt where it was to be handed to Quisling. In the Foreign Office [Auswaertiges Amt] Privy Councilor [Geheimrat] Von Grundherr was the only one to be told of this arrangement (Encl. No. 3).
As shown in the attached documentary memoranda Quisling’s reports transmitted by his deputy in Germany Hagelin concerning the possibility of active intervention of the Western Powers in Norway with consent of the Norwegian Government became more and more alarming. These reports continuously supplemented with more and more accurate confirmations by Quisling’s confidants were in certain contrast with the opinions of the German Legation in Oslo. The Legation believed in the neutral intentions of the Norwegian Government of that time, the Nygardsvold, and was further convinced that the Government would take arms in defence of its neutrality policy. The Foreign Office [Auswaertiges Amt] held the same opinion as is shown in the attached documentary memorandum dated January 8 which is the result of a talk between Director [Amtsleiter] Scheidt and Privy Councilor [Geheimrat] Von Grundherr (Encl. 8). It is of special interest that Hagelin, Quisling’s Deputy in Germany, whose intimate connection with Quisling was not known in Norway succeeded in getting a foothold in the circles of the Nygardsvold Government. Thus he heard the uncolored opinions of the members of the Government who conducted themselves like a secret Norwegian-Anglophile society.
In the documentary memorandum of January 13 he relates the opinions expressed to him by two Norwegian Ministers. The gist of the opinions was that Germany had already lost the war and that Norway-if only because of its large Merchant Marine-could not do other than favour England in her politics, in war even more so than in peace. And further that the entire nations agreed with this policy (Encl. 9). During the night of February 16 to 17 the English raided the “Altmark” in the Joessingsfjord. The reaction of the Norwegian Government to the Altmark-affair seemed to indicate that certain secret arrangements had been made between the Norwegian Government and the Allies. This was further emphasized in Director Scheidt’s consolidated report covering January 20th to February 20th (Encl. No. 11) after he had received Hagelin’s report. Hagelin had overheard the conversation between two members of the Storting during which one member said to the other that the actions of the two commanders of the Norwegian torpedo boats had been a “prearranged affair The same report also refers to the English demands for air bases in Norway and for freedom of trade in the Norwegian Waters It goes on to say that although the Norwegian Government refused those demands it was agreed that violations by the English would be answered with paper protests only. Such reports, and confirmations thereto were time and again supplied through Quisling. In complete contrast to those opinions the German Legation, even after the Altmark Affair, relied fully upon the good will of the Norwegians. The Ambassador cited the signing of the Norwegian-German trade agreement as weighing heavily in favour of his point of view. He already considered the Norwegian Government Nygardsvold somewhat dependent on the Greater German Reich (Encl. Nos. 11 and 12). All these reports were currently submitted to the Fuehrer by Reichsleiter Rosenberg. Quisling always emphasised that more than 90% of the country was behind England and that he only represented a minority which, however, was chosen by virtue of its intuition to take charge later on as representatives of a new Norwegian nation.
Apart from financial support which was forthcoming from the Reich in currency, Quisling had also been promised a shipment of material for immediate use in Norway such as coal and sugar. Additional help was promised. The shipments were to be conducted under cover of a new Trade Company to be established in Germany or through especially selected existing firms while Hagelin was to act as consignee in Norway. Hagelin had already conferred with the respective Ministers of the Nygardsvold Government as for instance the Minister of Supply and Commerce [Versorgungs-und Handelsminister] and had been assured permission for the import of coal. At the same time the coal transports were to serve possibly to supply the technical means necessary to launch Quisling’s political action in Oslo with German help. It was Quisling’s plan to send a number of selected, particularly reliable men to Germany for a brief military training course in a completely isolated camp. They were then to be detailed as area and language specialists to German Special Troops who were to be taken to Oslo on the coal barges to accomplish a political action. Thus Quisling planned to get hold of his leading opponents in Norway including the King, to prevent all military resistance from the very beginning. Immediately following this political action and upon an official request of Quisling to the Government of the German Reich the military occupation of Norway was to take place. All military preparations were to be completed previously. Though this plan contained the great advantage of surprise it also contained a great number of dangers which could possibly cause its failure. For this reason it received a quite dilatory treatment while, at the same time, it was not disapproved as far as the Norwegians were concerned.
In February, after a conference with General Field Marshal Goering, Reichsleiter Rosenberg informed the Secretary in the Office of the Four Year Plan [Ministerialdirektor im Vierjahresplan] Wohlthat only of the intention to prepare coal shipments to Norway to the named confidant Hagelin. Further details were discussed in a conference between Secretary Wohlthat, Staff Director Schickedanz and Hagelin. Since Wohlthat received no further instructions from the General Field Marshal, Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop-after a consultation with Reichsleiter Rosenberg-consented to expedite these shipments through his office. Based on a report of Reichsleiter Rosenberg to the Fuehrer it was also arranged to pay Quisling ten thousand English pounds per month for three months commencing on the 15th of March to support his work. This money was to be paid through liaison agent Scheidt.
Meanwhile Hagelin, through his connection in Norway as trusted agent of the Norwegian Navy, had been commissioned with the purchase of German AA-guns (Flaks) through the German Navy Ministry. Through this connection he gained more and more insight into the actual ideas and intentions of the Norwegian Nygardsvold Government and into the Allied preparations which had already started in Norway. While in Germany on the 20th of March to attend conferences regarding the delivery of the German AA guns, he made a detailed report about the increasing activities of the Allies in Norway, tolerated by the Nygardsvold Government. According to his reports the Allies were already checking the Norwegian coastal towns for landing and transport possibilities. He also stated that the French Commandant Kermarrec who was charged with this reconnaissance had a confidential talk with Colonel Sunolo, Commandant of Narvik, who is a follower of Quisling; during the course of the talk he told him of the Allied intentions to land motorized troops in Stavanger, Dronthoim and possibly also at Kirkenes and to occupy the airport at Sola (Encl. no. 14)
At the same time Hagelin increased his oral and written warnings regarding the confidential agreements between the Allied and the Norwegian Governments stipulating that in case of an Allied occupation of coastal towns the Norwegian Government would not go beyond paper protest, as was the case in the Altmark Affair. And again, in his report of March 26 (Encl Nos 15 and 16) he pointed out that the speech of the Norwegian Foreign Minister Koht dealing with Norwegian neutrality and containing some protests was not being taken seriously either in London by the English nor in Norway by the Norwegians. It was well known that the Government had no intentions to take a stand against England. However, to keep up appearances towards Germany up to the last minute the Norwegian Government intended to issue an order to fire. This was to demonstrate that everything within their power had been done. There was a continuous series of conferences between the King, the Commanding Admiral, the Crown Prince and the newly appointed Minister of War Ljundberg who had been placed in office at the special request of England as early as January. A person close to the King as well as the commanding Admiral explained to Hagelin that the above mentioned actions by England were quite unavoidable since she knew that she could only win the war if she were in control of the Norwegian ports. Furthermore England feared a German counterblow which was not to be allowed to materialize. The Norwegian Government was also notified by London that Germany intended to mine the waters between Jutland and the Norwegian coast. Based on a message from England this plan was revealed on or about March 15 during a secret session of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Storting by Foreign Minister Koht. As a matter of fact, during the course of the military preparations for the occupation of Norway this plan had been adopted by the German military authorities and to this day it is a mystery how this plan got to London. In view of all this news Quisling could no longer back his earlier advice to continue watching the development of the situation in Norway. He now had to point out that any further delay would mean a grave risk. The above was probably the most decisive report ever to be submitted here by Hagelin. Reichsleiter Rosenberg immediately transmitted it to the Fuehrer (Encl. No. 15).
While still in Berlin Hagelin was requested by Colonel Schmundt to make speedy arrangements for a conference between Quisling and a Colonel of the General Staff, at some neutral location. This conference was held in Copenhagen in the beginning of April.
In confirmation of all this information coming from Quisling and his confidants and in contrast to the opinion held up to the end by German Legation in Oslo and by the Foreign Office, the Allies, on April 8th. initiated their first major blow as an introduction to their intended occupation of Norway. During the night from the 7th. to the 8th. Of April they mined the Norwegian coast and made public announcement of this act. Norway’s reaction, consistent with the reports always received by the Office of Foreign Relations [Aussenpolitisches Amt] of the NSDAP, was nothing more than protests on paper growing weaker by the hour. Then, after proper preparations and by command of the Fuehrer Greater Germany undertook the counterblow in the morning of April 9th. and occupied the most important Norwegian airfields and seaports.
Reports about the further political developments in Norway proper are found in the appended documentary memorandum (Encl. Nos. 18 to 30).
After the success of the occupational operations in Norway seemed assured the Fuehrer called for Reichsleiter Rosenberg for a short talk before lunch, on April 25th. He oriented him (Rosenberg) about the developments of the military action in Norway where the English Auxiliary Corps had just suffered a decisive defeat combined with the capture of important documents and plans. He further revealed to Reichsleiter Rosenberg that he had based this most daring decision which was now approaching successful completion on the continuous warnings of Quisling as reported to him by Reichsleiter Rosenberg. And that it actually happened in the Drontheimfjord that behind the stern of the last German Troop Transport there appeared the bow of the first English destroyer which convoyed the Allied Troop Transport fleet. This destroyer was wiped out by the German Navy.
Berlin, 15 June 1940