The Second World War and Norway: an important chapter in history

The Svalbard Islands brand, as well as its clothes, including the Nobile N1 jacket, draws inspiration from a country that generally conjures up images of explorers and glacial landscapes with flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. But Norway has also made its mark in history for other enterprises. One example? The role that Norway played during the Second World War is a decisively crucial chapter in the story of this important period. The country was suddenly occupied, without any preliminary declarations of war, by the marine and land forces of the Third Reich. The national soldiers and citizens decided to resist.

Operation Weserübung: the invasion of Norway

At the beginning of the Second World War, Norway, more or less in the same period as Denmark, was invaded by German land and marine forces. In particular, the initial stages of the invasion, which began on 9 April 1940, went by the name of Operation Weserübung (in German: Unternehmen Weserübung, which literally translated means “Operation Weser-Exercise”). The Nazi soldiers of the Third Reich were aiming for the occupation of the Norwegian ports in order to prevent England from blocking them, and to guarantee the German military industry a constant supply of iron, which arrived in Narvik, Norway, from Swedish mines.

The occupation of Norway: the allies

In the Second World War, Norway was one of the countries which decided to resist the assault of Hitler’s Nazi troops. First of all, the country had an army which was more efficient than the enemy, much better prepared and with expert knowledge of the area and its particular characteristics. Mountains, fjords and glaciers made the occupation of Norway much more complicated for the Germans. The Norwegian people, furthermore, were able to count on the support of the allies, the Anglo-French soldiers, even if, shortly after landing, they were forced to depart once more in order to face up to the French campaign launched on the Western front by the German Panzer division.

The proud Norwegian resistance

For five years during the Second World War, Norway was forced to stand up against the enemy presence of Nazi occupation. But between 1940 and 1945, the army and the people carried out a series of opposition activities and initiatives. As well as fighting on the battlefields, the Norwegian resistance was manifested through support for the exiled Norwegian government, without rendering the regime of Vidkun Quisling and the administration of the Reichskommissar Josef Terboven legitimate. Beyond armed forms of resistance, and the defence of the national army, civil disobedience also played an important role. A symbol of Norwegian resistance was the wearing of a paper-clip on the lapel, a sign representing the population’s united stance against Nazi occupation.

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