Norway: Notes: 1940-1945 - Archontology
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Norway: Notes: 1940-1945

German Occupation

Most of Norway was occupied by the armed forces of the German Reich beginning 9 Apr 1940 and ending 9 May 1945. The Norwegian civilian authorities were provisionally placed (19 Apr 1940), in the name of the Reich, under Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, commander of the occupying army. On 24 Apr 1940 Josef Terboven was appointed Reichskommissar für die besetzten norwegischen Gebiete (Reich Commissioner for Occupied Norwegian Regions) by decree of Adolf Hitler (Erlaß des Führers über Ausübung der Regierungsbefugnisse in Norwegen, vom 24. April 1940) [1].

The members of Norwegian parliament, Storting, met 10 Sep 1940 in their party groups to vote on the results of the negotiations with the Germans, which had been conducted by the parliament's Presidency. Despite strong pressure exerted by the Storting board, parliamentarians refused to force King Haakon VII to abdicate. A simple majority of 75 to 55 did agree to suspend him until a peace settlement could be made, but the vote was not binding because (1) it was strictly advisory, (2) numerically it could not have been implemented since a two-thirds majority was needed for a change in the Constitution, and (3) some twenty representatives from northern Norway were not present to cast their votes. The vote did serve as a guideline for the Storting's presidency, whose members persevered in continuing the negotiations.

On 25 Sep 1940, the German authorities acting on the understanding that the monarchy had been abolished and King Haakon VII deposed attempted to provide this step with a sheen of constitutionality by falsely declaring that the Storting had deposed the royal dynasty by a two-thirds majority. The Statsråder, followed by the Minister, became the highest Norwegian authority under the Reichskommissar. A "State Act" on 1 Feb 1942 established the Nasjonal Riksregjering, headed by Vidkun Quisling under the control of the Reichskommissar. In his proclamation of 1 Feb 1942, Quisling referred to the authority of the King and Storting in the 1814 Constitution as being exercised by the Ministerpresident, the new office he assumed.

[1] Reichsgesetzblatt I, No. 74, 26 Apr 1940, pp. 677-678.