Norwegian resistance during ww2

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Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  kaii on Sun 21 Dec 2008 - 0:53

Referring to the recent debate that has arisen in connection with the movie "Max Manus" and the commentary by Erling Fossen, I would be very interested to hear the opinions of the people in this forum;

For those of you that have not read the articles in Aftenposten, the basic point is as follows;
Is the norwegian resistance movement during ww2 overrated? Were their actions nothing more than annoying "boys pranks", with no real impact on the outcome of the war? Were their actions, in fact, criminal offences since they in most cases had civilian clothing and operated in an occupied country?
It is of course, not surprising that Erling Fossen is immediately branded as an NS sympathiser or "revisionist" when he dares to question whether the norwegian resitsance heroes have been rated too highly in relation to other Norwegian war heroes, like for instance the merchant mariners and General Fleischer. We remember the same has happened to Hans Fredrik Dahl and Erling Ulateig when they have dared to question some of the actions of the norwegian resistance movement.

If one reads the official Norwegian war history, one can definitely get the impression that the (entire) war was won by "men on bicycles in Oslo" and that the sabotage on the Vemork plant (although technically not a Norwegian operation) won the entire ww2 and probably also the cold war...

What do you think?
Is it a sensible and "legal" question to ask whether the resistance movement has been overrated, og is it an untimely attack on our war heroes?

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Simon on Mon 22 Dec 2008 - 13:46

It's a difficult question and i'm not sure there's a right answer, it depends on from who's point of view you look at it from.

If you were a German, NS or German supporter, even normal everyday people just trying to get on with their lives then they were terrorists in the same way the IRA is to me or Al quaida is to much of the Western world. The old saying 'one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter' is very true. Had the war gone the other way then there's no doubt they would all today be simply known, if at all, as traitors and terrorists.

Some of them could even be called outright murderers when the liquidations started.

I don't know how the various resistance organisations have been portrayed to the postwar generations in Norway but in the bigger picture they had no effect at all on the outcome of the war. An irritation to the Germans and the local population apart from Vermok, which was certainly of great strategic importance.

The various actions during late '44 early '45 in trying to hinder the redeployment of German troops to the continent did not stop them, they did delay some a little but the Germans had bigger problems with distance, winter, lack of transport, lack of fuel and the greater danger from allied aircraft and u-boats. In any case, those units transferred to the continent could never hope to have any great effect on the outcome of the war. 6 SS-Gebirgs Division Nord, 2 Gebirgs Division, 163, 169, 199, 560 Infantry divisions were all chewed up and spat out by either the Soviets of Western allies. Had these divisions been mechanized and armoured then perhaps they may have made a difference, even if Germany had enough fuel for them, which she didn't, but they weren't.
Had the resistance been successful in stopping the transfer of units to the continent then they would, with hindsight, have saved lives in the long run. German lives.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Simon on Mon 22 Dec 2008 - 20:44

I should also add that it in no way detracts from their bravery or effort in doing whatever they could to fight the enemy.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  AltforNorge on Wed 24 Dec 2008 - 0:28

If we conclude that their effort did not mean very much, this is not their fault. The fault belongs to those who did nothing.

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Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Bob Pearson on Wed 24 Dec 2008 - 14:34

'Evil only succeeds when good men stand still and do nothing'

generally attributed to Edmund Burke et al

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  kaii on Wed 31 Dec 2008 - 1:04

I think some good points have been made in this debate allready. I think most people agree that the efforts of the norwegian resistance (the men on bicylces) movement did not, as such, influence the outcome of the war very much. However, this should not take away any of the admiration and gratitude for the efforts and bravery they showed. As mentioned, all the people that did nothing should feel ashamed, not the ones that tried to do something, however small.

I also think an important point in all this, as also clarified by Erling Fossen afterwards, is that his intention was not in any way to take away credit from the resistance fighters, but also point out that some of the other Norwegian heroes from ww2 have gotten comparably little credit for their efforts - and that this makes it all look like the war was won by "men on bicylces in oslo west".
For instance, and I am sure all readres in this foru would agree, the merchant mariners have not gotten the credit they deserve for their (truly war-winning) efforts.
Likewise, General Fleischer is raraely mentioned in the same league as Genral Ruge when it comes to discussing the heroes of the April-June campaign, although his efforts were, at least, comparable to those of General Ruge.

Thanks to everyone for chipping in their thoughts. Interesting to see what the opinions are, and, from what I can judge, I think there seems to be a consensus among the readers on this matter; The Norwegian resitsnace fighters should continue to be honoured for their efforts, but at the same time there should be more room for those other heroes that have not been brought into the light as much.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Bjørn on Wed 31 Dec 2008 - 15:06

Hello!
A good debate with very good postings!
But: "As mentioned, all the people that did nothing should feel ashamed" - I do not agree fully on that.
Remember that the majority of the population in Norway did as good as they could during the har years of occupation, and it is not right that all those should feel ashamed.

Happy New Year to you all, by the way!

B.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  kaii on Thu 1 Jan 2009 - 5:35

Hi
very true. I used an impresise wording there and stand corrected :-). What i meant to say was that those that should feel ashamed (if any) are the ones that could have done something and chose not to.
I think most people had enough to worry about just securing their daily survival, and should hardly be critisized for not starting a local rebellion against the occupying troops as well as wondering how to feed their kids and heat their houses....

happy New year to all readers fo the forum!

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Simon on Thu 1 Jan 2009 - 18:43

Those that should feel ashamed are those that did nothing until the end and then suddenly became very patriotic once danger had passed. Those that went after women whose only crime had been to fall in love, those that persecuted children because of who their fathers had been and those that saw the Germans as a good business opportunity.

FWIW, i think a film based around Fleischer's 6th Division at Narvik might make a good movie.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Bjørn on Thu 1 Jan 2009 - 20:26

Hello Simon,
that is very true. There were quite some of those.

About Fleischer seems still today to be a controversial person.
There came a very good book on him some years ago, here is a very good article on that: http://www.aftenposten.no/fakta/verdenskrig/article533547.ece

When he was buried in Norway, he recieved no state funeral, and no members of Arbeiderpartiet were present:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Gustav_Fleischer

B.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Simon on Fri 2 Jan 2009 - 22:31

That's all the more reason to do it!

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Fleischer

Post  kaii on Fri 2 Jan 2009 - 22:41

Hi
I can inform you that two scriptwriters I know are currently working on a script for exactly that - a movie to cover the battle of Narvik with General Fleischer and Fylkesmann Gabrielsen as main characters. Also, a project group is working on securing investors to finance the film, which is hoped to have a budget in the region of what Max Manus had (about 50 million NOK).
The Film is projected for release around Christmas 2010. I will let you know of any progress I hear about :-).

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Bjørn on Sat 3 Jan 2009 - 16:25

Hello!
Yes, keep us informed!
As a digression, the son of Gabrielsen was a frontfighter.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Simon on Sun 4 Jan 2009 - 16:44

kaii wrote:Hi
I can inform you that two scriptwriters I know are currently working on a script for exactly that - a movie to cover the battle of Narvik with General Fleischer and Fylkesmann Gabrielsen as main characters. Also, a project group is working on securing investors to finance the film, which is hoped to have a budget in the region of what Max Manus had (about 50 million NOK).
The Film is projected for release around Christmas 2010. I will let you know of any progress I hear about :-).

Excellent news! I hope they do it justice, the exploits of the 6 Division is something the country can be truly proud of....now where do i sign up as an extra? ;-)

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Good news

Post  sepals on Fri 9 Jan 2009 - 1:32

Looking forward to more info on this movie... Please give me more info via my website http://www.sepals.no

I would also recommend a new book coming this spring "Sydfronten" as well as a dvd named "Krigsminner fra Lappland"

More on this here: http://krigshistorie.oppdateringsfabrikken.no/index.php?name=index.html&view=view

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  TTuT on Wed 11 Feb 2009 - 4:42

Sounds really interesting! (I know my girlfriend would disagree Laughing ) I will check out the movie.

kaii wrote:Referring to the recent debate that has arisen in connection with the movie "Max Manus" and the commentary by Erling Fossen, I would be very interested to hear the opinions of the people in this forum;

For those of you that have not read the articles in Aftenposten, the basic point is as follows;
Is the norwegian resistance movement during ww2 overrated? Were their actions nothing more than annoying "boys pranks", with no real impact on the outcome of the war? Were their actions, in fact, criminal offences since they in most cases had civilian clothing and operated in an occupied country?
It is of course, not surprising that Erling Fossen is immediately branded as an NS sympathiser or "revisionist" when he dares to question whether the norwegian resitsance heroes have been rated too highly in relation to other Norwegian war heroes, like for instance the merchant mariners and General Fleischer. We remember the same has happened to Hans Fredrik Dahl and Erling Ulateig when they have dared to question some of the actions of the norwegian resistance movement.

If one reads the official Norwegian war history, one can definitely get the impression that the (entire) war was won by "men on bicycles in Oslo" and that the sabotage on the Vemork plant (although technically not a Norwegian operation) won the entire ww2 and probably also the cold war...

What do you think?
Is it a sensible and "legal" question to ask whether the resistance movement has been overrated, og is it an untimely attack on our war heroes?

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Kosh on Sun 13 Dec 2009 - 19:30

Finn Mikko Laaksonen, a social democrat and a later president of the Finnish Central Association of Union Organizations, served as a volunteer in the German Army in Norway in 1945. His comments on the "resistance" are pretty scathing. He recalls that during those months in Norway, he never encountered a single act of "resistance", except a rumour of glass powder mixed in meat cans...

Second point that must not be forgotten is that according to the international law that was in force during the WW Two, all "resistance" activity by civilians was forbidden and thus illegal, these "resistance fighters" were simply criminals, terrorists, gangsters. In other words, if you want to be treated like civilians, then behave like civilians. Personally, I find people who conduct their fighting among civilians and behind women´s skirts lowest forms of life.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  AltforNorge on Sun 13 Dec 2009 - 23:53

Kosh wrote:Finn Mikko Laaksonen, a social democrat and a later president of the Finnish Central Association of Union Organizations, served as a volunteer in the German Army in Norway in 1945. His comments on the "resistance" are pretty scathing. He recalls that during those months in Norway, he never encountered a single act of "resistance", except a rumour of glass powder mixed in meat cans...

Second point that must not be forgotten is that according to the international law that was in force during the WW Two, all "resistance" activity by civilians was forbidden and thus illegal, these "resistance fighters" were simply criminals, terrorists, gangsters. In other words, if you want to be treated like civilians, then behave like civilians. Personally, I find people who conduct their fighting among civilians and behind women´s skirts lowest forms of life.

Among my duties is the duty to defend your right to have an opinion

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Kosh on Mon 14 Dec 2009 - 3:50

I even downplayed Mikko Laaksonen´s tone a lot. As for the second paragraph, I think too many people forget the fact during WW Two armed resistance by forces that were not clearly recognizable and properly organized was NOT legal. And frankly, all proper armed forces were prepared to deal with them harshly. E.g. British history is full of examples what happened to those who rebelled against the British army.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Bjørn on Tue 15 Dec 2009 - 0:02

Hello!
You write the passage: "Second point that must not be forgotten is that according to the international law that was in force during the WW Two, all "resistance" activity by civilians was forbidden and thus illegal, these "resistance fighters" were simply criminals, terrorists, gangsters. In other words, if you want to be treated like civilians, then behave like civilians. Personally, I find people who conduct their fighting among civilians and behind women´s skirts lowest forms of life."

I must point out that these rules still do excist, and international laws do not protect partisans. I will not judge the activity in Norway during the occupation, as thesabotage actions made then, did not shorten the occupation with a single day, and never was a serious threat to the Germans and thir war efforts. As a symbolic act, however, they were invaluable.

B

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Mathieu on Tue 15 Dec 2009 - 12:15

Hello,

I don't know for Norway, but in the Netherlands many Jews and others were saved by people who hide them in there houses/farms.
Later on in the war there was quite a big organization who help these people with money, food and false papers to survive the war. These part of the resistance made a great contribution to help all those people. But for all the other activities, it didn't harm the German to much. There was also some spionage but unfortunately the British didn't trust the reports from the Dutch resistance. In one case this caused a defeat, August/September the resistance reported that SS units were around Arnhem, these reports were ignored and only a short time later British forces were defeated by Arnhem September 1944.

Hilsen,

Mathieu.

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  Bjørn on Fri 18 Dec 2009 - 20:24

Hello again!
Quite true what you write about the Netherlands. In Denmark, for a first choice, most jews were rescued before deportation. Sad to say, alas, this was not the case in Norway. Norway had a very long tradition in racist matters before the war, and even if the Jews really not are a race at all - but a religion, they were banned in the constitution of 1814. Norway had a long tradition in laws & scientific work about different ethnic groups before the war, like the sami people, gypsies etc.

Again it is most difficult to judge the resistance here, as the symbolic victories were crucial, and in fact, they did not do much harm to the occupying forces.

B

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Re: Norwegian resistance during ww2

Post  AltforNorge on Sat 19 Dec 2009 - 1:30

Bjørn wrote:Hello again!
Quite true what you write about the Netherlands. In Denmark, for a first choice, most jews were rescued before deportation. Sad to say, alas, this was not the case in Norway. Norway had a very long tradition in racist matters before the war, and even if the Jews really not are a race at all - but a religion, they were banned in the constitution of 1814. Norway had a long tradition in laws & scientific work about different ethnic groups before the war, like the sami people, gypsies etc.

Again it is most difficult to judge the resistance here, as the symbolic victories were crucial, and in fact, they did not do much harm to the occupying forces.

B

You are totaly right about Jews being banned in 1814 Constitution. So were also the Christian Jesuit Order. As such the ban was not a ban towards the Jewish people - if such, as you state, do exist. It was a ban towards Jewish and Jesuit religion. This ban was lifted in 1852

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