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Battle for Norway–1940 Campaign (German-1940)

Movie title from title sequence-no caption1,421 words

I’m generally not a fan of World War II books or movies, but I found this 1940 German documentary about the military invasion of Norway informative, interesting, and at times dramatic and exciting. It provides a succinct overview of what in the US is called Operation Weser or Weser Exercise after the German code name for the April 9, 1940 operation. The Occupation itself, which is outside the purview of the film, lasted from April 9, 1940 to May 8 1945, when German resistance to Allied-Communist forces in Europe collapsed.

Admittedly, my interest is partly personal. My mother was the daughter of Norwegian immigrants. German troops established an encampment on the farm near Stavanger from which she derived her surname, and which has been in our family for centuries—as far back as Lutheran parish records exist, to the late 1500s and early 1600s, and no doubt longer than that. This is the area where Leif Erikson’s father Erik the Red was born. My American grandfather who came from there died before the war, however.

Similarly, in mountainous, rugged Gudbrandsdalen, which is mentioned extensively in Snorri Sturluson’s saga Heimskringla (Chronicle of the Kings of Norway) (c. 1230), where my grandmother originated near the Jotunheimen range containing Norway’s tallest peaks, the Occupation was also felt. The film shows the German troops pushing north through the valley. My mother told me that my grandmother, who lived with us when I was a boy, worried about her relatives back home and mailed them care packages, never knowing whether they got through or not.

But I think the film is worth watching on its own merits.

It provides an admirably clear picture of a little-known WWII campaign on the periphery of Europe extending even above the Arctic Circle, between three Northern peoples: the British and Norwegians (and, behind the scenes, the Jews) on one side, and Germans on the other. Fortunately, the fighting was not as savage as on the Eastern Front, resulting in only a few thousand killed altogether (i.e., both sides). Too many, of course, but it could have been worse.

Well-drawn military map-animations and explanatory narration are seamlessly integrated with raw combat cinematography to provide an exceptionally clear picture of the invasion for viewers. Captured British and French footage is also incorporated, depicting some of the fighting from the Allied side. Fighting took place on land, sea, and in the air.

It has often been said that comparative honesty about the military aspects of the war was a hallmark of Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda ministry, and the film bears this out. Few punches are pulled. The enormous challenges posed to the German troops by cold weather, snow, the rugged terrain (to put it mildly), and the tenacious tactics of Norwegian guerrilla fighters are depicted unsentimentally. The German defense of Narvik against elite French troops shows Germans continually retreating until reinforcements finally arrive.

Pushing north through Gudbrandsdalen (yes, that’s ice)

Pushing north through Gudbrandsdalen (yes, that’s ice)

A Swedish blogger hostile to Germany suggested viewing the film in conjunction with Divide and Conquer (1943), which also covered the Nazi invasion of Norway. Made by the Roosevelt Administration’s propaganda arm, the Office of War Information (OWI) as part of its Why We Fight series, it was co-written by Jewish twins Julius and Philip Epstein (Oscar winners for their screenplay for Casablanca) and co-directed by Sicilian-American Frank Capra and Ukrainian-born Jew Anatole Litvak. Comparing the two movies, the Swede felt the American film was “actually worse in terms of propagandistic content.”

Two of the 29 war cinematographers employed in making the film were killed in action. Werner Bohne, a cameraman on Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1934), died when the heavy cruiser Blücher was sunk by the Norwegians in the Oslofjord, April 9, 1940, where it still lies at the bottom. Eberhard von der Heyden, a cameraman on Riefenstahl’s Olympia (1936), also died.

The theme of the film throughout is opposition to Brits more than Norwegians, as the ringing closing line makes clear: “The battle against Britain in Norway has been decided!” (Emphasis added.)

Lost Film

Closing scene: Raising the Reich war flag over the conquered nation

Closing scene: Raising the Reich war flag over the conquered nation

For unknown reasons, Battle for Norway was never shown in Germany. It remained lost for six decades, from 1940 (or 1945) to 2005.

This is the second lost film I have written about for Counter-Currents. The other was Leni Riefenstahl’s little-known first documentary about the 1933 Nuremberg Party rally, Victory of Faith (Der Sieg des Glaubens) (1933-German), lost between 1934 and the 1990s, when a copy surfaced in Britain. (Actually, it is the third lost film if my brief analysis [scroll down] of the filmed record of Richard Burton’s Broadway performance of Hamlet in 1964 is included.)

Lost and rediscovered films are a fascinating topic. A common estimate is that 90 percent of all American silent films and 50 percent of American sound films made before 1950 have been lost. The primary cause of silent film loss was wholesale junking by motion picture studios. Early film stock was chemically unstable (potentially flammable and subject to degradation), expensive to store, vault space was limited, and no thought was given to film preservation.

To cite one example, Clara Bow was one of the most popular actresses of the American silent cinema. Yet 20 of her 57 films are lost, and another 5 are incomplete. Even her most famous film, the highly enjoyable silent romantic comedy It (1927), remained lost until a nitrate copy was discovered in Prague in the 1960s.

Subject to similar vagaries were the programs of Old Time Radio (many lost recordings or live broadcasts that were not recorded) and television (lost or destroyed film stock and, again, live broadcasts never recorded). For example, in the 1970s the 1940s-50s-era kinescope library of the DuMont Television Network, America’s fourth early network, was loaded onto three trucks and dumped into Upper New York Bay.

University of Bergen film historian Jostein Saakvitne regularly combs the online archives of various Internet auction houses for movies and photos pertaining to the German occupation of Norway. In 2005, on the website of a large German auction house specializing in militaria, he found five rolls of nitrate film for sale. The only description was “Battle for Norway,” nothing more. The words quickened his pulse. Could it be the long-lost war documentary? “I couldn’t know, because there was no further information,” Saakvitne later said. He submitted an online bid. To his surprise, he was the only bidder, and the film turned out to be the find of his lifetime.

More than 60 years after its production the movie finally premiered at the Norwegian Film Institute in Oslo in 2006. Interest was so great that organizers scheduled a second showing the same evening to accommodate the demand. Even at the second showing nearly all of the 200 seats in the auditorium were filled.

The film’s image quality is remarkably good considering the instability of the underlying nitrate stock. Existing versions on DVD and the Internet derive from a digital copy made by Ragnar Løvberg of the Norwegian Film Institute. The original nitrate rolls were transferred to mountain storage facilities belonging to the Norwegian National Library in Mo i Rana, 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle, before being returned to Germany.

Battle for Norway is a compelling account of a major WWII campaign seen from the other side. It should prove of special interest to Germans and people of German descent, Norwegians and people of Norwegian descent, and Scandinavians generally.

For those particularly fascinated by WWII military campaigns, I would probably bump the rating up from *** to ***1/2 (using Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide system of BOMB to **** by half-star increments).

Kampf um Norwegen – Feldzug 1940 (Battle for Norway – 1940 Campaign) (1940-German) ***

B&W, 1 hr., 21 mins.

Presented by UFA

Produced by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht)

Directed by Dr. Martin Rikli (Swiss) and Dr. Werner Buhre (Austrian)

Cameramen: Josef Asenkerschbaumer, Werner Bohne†, Josef Dietze, Kurt Eckhardt, Max Endrejat, Dr. Frank, Karl Freymann, Gerhard Garms, Eberhard von der Heyden†, Paul Hinrichs, Walter Hrich, Werner Hundhausen, Heinz von Jaworsky, Bernhard Juppe, Kling, Herbert Lander, Gustav Lantschner, Bruno Lötsch, Ullrich Nolte, Heinz Paxmann, Paul Schmökel, Hermann Stöß, Otto Tober, Hugo Urban, Weid, H. Winterfeld, Karl Heinz Witte, Károly Kurzmayer, Herbert Thallmayer.

Original musical score by Franz R. Friedl, who composed scores for a number of German films between 1934 and 1958, including The Eternal Jew (Der ewige Jude) the same year.

DVD: International Historic Films, Chicago. Release date: March 21, 2013. Switchable English and German sound tracks with optional English subtitles.

Viewable on YouTube: German narration with English subtitles.

Viewable at the Internet Archive: German language only, no subtitles.



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  1. Norwegian
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Great movie indeed. I got to see it when it was “new” in 2007 or -08. It even has a short clip of the actual bombing of my home town, just a few seconds that is, but still pretty interesting as it is filmed from inside the cockpit of the actual bomber planes.

    Hamiltons articles are always interesting, and I’m looking forward to his next piece.

  2. Carl
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    “On the wrong side?” Who cares ? For all the combatant peoples, WWII and its history is like the Iliad-everyone was pretty brave.

    Only one sneaky, traitorous bunch should hang their heads in shame.

  3. Heidrun:)
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    “My mother told me that my grandmother, who lived with us when I was a boy, worried about her relatives back home and mailed them care packages, never knowing whether they got through or not.”
    It implies to me that us Germans took yer care packages. It’s negative toward our occupation. Maybe we took some packages but with reason. If a mother takes candy from a child, it’s for the childs own good, if we took some packages it may have been because the receiver was fighting against us (not just us germans but unknowingly also against his own people, the norwegians) or they got damaged in freight during the fighting but never out of malice or to starve the norwegian people.
    This is just one example of the undertone.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted December 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      For uttering false generalizations about CC based on a single article and for a general jerk/troll tone, I am banning you as a commentator.

    • Sandy
      Posted December 23, 2013 at 3:06 am | Permalink

      It implies to me that us Germans took yer care packages.
      Just for the record my Uncle Joe who was a POW once told me that the Gerries always made sure that they got their Red Cross care packages which kept them alive. The prisoners shared the food with with the guards. My Uncle said that they were always hungry at the camp in Eastern Poland but that there just wasn’t any food and that the guards only got fed slightly better than the prisoners. At the end of the war the guards and the prisoners raced each other back west away from the advancing Soviets.

      • Peter
        Posted December 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Everybody was hungry, not just prisoners. Food was in short supply for the German people too.

        German civilians and soldiers were treated horribly after WW II and the mass murder of at least one million civilians by burning them alive in their cities was a war crime.. The Americans weren’t innocent either. Ike, that great “German-American” ( I’d be interested in his whole background) said “God I hate the Germans” and withheld food (it was available) from the German soldiers starving and dying from exposure. Estimates are one million German soldiers died from deliberate maltreatment. Everything has been done to cover up what Americans and British did and the lies about what the Germans did are written into law.

        This can’t be blamed on the Americans (except to the degree they decided to enter the war), but on a personal note, my uncle was a soldier that was beaten and mistreated for several years after the war when the French used the Germans as slave labor in their mines.

  4. Peter
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to watch this film as soon as I find a good internet connection. I’m in the process of reading David Irving’s “Churchill’s War”, a free download from his website and he covers the invasion of Norway in depth.

    The USA invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and ten or twenty more countries because it claims it was protecting US interests (which would be funny if it didn’t involve so much death and destruction). Germany actually did invade Norway to protect German interests and Germany’s very existence. David Irving goes into detail regarding Winston Churchill’s warmongering. He footnotes where in the archives he found the evidence showing powerful and wealthy Jews such as Bernard Waley-Cohen, Henry Strakosch and others bankrolling Churchill’s rise to power and how this indebtedness to them shaped his policies. More recently Patrick Buchanan wrote his book “Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War” in which he demonstrates that Germany did not want war in the west and he focuses in on Chamberlain’s “blunder” when he signed a pact with Poland promising to come to their aid in the event of a German attack on them. But this is misleading. Chamberlain didn’t want war and Churchill, Jews and others warmongering and statements were portraying Chamberlain as a weakling and he felt forced to give Poland this guarantee.

    From David Irving’s “Churchill’s War”

    In his search for an initiative, his eyes had lit upon Narvik, the ice-free port in northern Norway through which Sweden plied her iron ore trade with Germany during the winter when her own Baltic port of Lule was icebound. Until Lule reopened each spring, the iron ore ships had to hug the coastal waters of Norway as they headed south to Germany. At an ad- miralty staff meeting on September 18 somebody, probably Churchill himself, recommended halting those iron ore shipments even if it meant violating Norwayís neutrality. On the following day he put to the war cabinet a scheme for mining Norwegian waters.

    ‘Given the total lack of discretion as to the plans discussed at the Allied conferences,’ Admiral Darlan wrote as the awful disaster unfurled, ‘the German high command could scarcely
    have failed to know of our decision.’ The indiscretions were legion. Churchillís nephew Giles Romilly, a Beaverbrook reporter, had been sent ahead to Narvik – a treason, Hitler called it, ‘typical of his American-Jewish journalistic character.’ Late in March 1940 German agents had eavesdropped on the French prime minister assuring a foreign diplomat that ‘in the next few days the Allies would be triggering decisive and momentous events in Northern Europe.’ On the thirtieth Mr Churchill had broadcast that Britain would no longer tolerate pro-German interpretations of neutrality – the Allies would fight the war wherever they had to, however little their desire to extend it to other theatres. Alerted by these and other indiscretions, on April 2 Hitler had ordered Norway invaded in the darkness before dawn on the ninth.

    All of Germany’s attacks on foreign countries in the west were to protect Germany from invasion. They all occurred after France and England declared war on Germany in 1939. Germany attacked France half a year later while England’s troops were pouring into France in preparation for the attack on Germany. The fighting had already begun at sea.

    No one ever discusses England and the Soviet Union’s attack on Iran in 1941, the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland, Romania and then Poland in conjunction with Germany or England’s invasion of Iceland in 1940.

    • Peter
      Posted December 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      The last two paragraphs were my commentary. The paragraphs prior to that are quoted from Irving’s book.

  5. Sandy
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    Heidrun, You wrote that you feel that your grandparents and us germans in general are disrespected so you can’t donate while I feel that Counter-Currents is far too pro German and too pagan and yet I support it financially. Email Greg privately and he will confirm it,
    I was born after the war and my father being an electrical engineer was “essential something or other”and was required to support the war industry at home so never served in the war and was disinherited because of it ( so i have to work for a living – bummer). His Member of Parliament spent the war years in jail because he asked too many awkward questions.
    There is no such thing as being on the wrong side in a war. Soldiers just follow orders and don’t really have much of a clue. Hell, 50 years on and we are still arguing over who shot JFK.
    In short, this site is far to German for me but I respect it for what it is doing and support it wholeheartedly. Don’t sweat the details and focus on the big picture. The common soldier could do no more against Eisenhower’s death camps than I, or you, can do against abortion, homosexuality, immigration or usury. Or Hollywood, I hasten to add. My uncle Joe was taken prisoner in 1940 and spent the war in camps and yet after the war bought and drove German cars. I never heard him say a bad word about the Gerries. That war is over; the next is being fought now. Feel free to join us.

    • Peter
      Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      “That war is over; the next is being fought now. Feel free to join us.”

      I’m the son of Germans and I like the website a lot. But, although the war may be over Germany still gives huge sums of money, free submarines and other aid annually to Israel and individual Jews. Germany was divided and butchered and is still occupied. It lost a huge amount of territory not just in WW II, but WW I also. Not to mention Austria. Now the Czechs and Poles can put a US missile defense system on former German territory and Germany has no say in the matter. Maybe they’ll point the missiles at Iran (I have no idea why they would), maybe Russia, maybe Germany.

      It’s crucial that what happened in WW II be understood, especially if you’re interested in winning the next one. Instead of European ethnic groups fighting each other in Europe as in WW II, it appears they’re setting the conditions for Europeans to be fighting the non-European immigrants to their own countries in the future. Not that this is necessary, but they have shown the ability to promote hatred, disharmony and war when they want to.

  6. Dutch
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Have a look at these secret UK government documents, to verify that it were the British and French who plotted for kicking WW2 off first, in Norway, in an attempt to deprive the Germans of essential iron ore:

    The film is fascinating, thank you, but it was likely not shown in Germany, because the Germans had no interest in whipping up war fever. The British Foreign Office recorded no less then 16 German attempts for peace offers, including the last desperate attempt, the flight of Rudolf Hess.

    • Sandy
      Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      in an attempt to deprive the Germans of essential iron ore.
      WWI would have been the six month war that was expected except that the same problem existed. The war supplies did not run out on schedule and another little internecine war became a very much larger inferno. Rear Admiral Consett and Captain Daniel, RN, looked into this phenomenon after the war and in 1923 published The Triumph of Unarmed Forces and documented how “the merchants” of Sweden, Britain, America, Denmark, Iceland and Austria kept the German war machine fueled and the profits rolling in.

  7. Dutch
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    The official story about WW2 is that Germany without provocation conquered Europe and Russia. Fortunately there were notoriously noble Soviets, Americans, British, etc. around who stood up against this evil and brought things under control again, end good, all good.

    The reality is a little different. If one were to describe the essence of WW2 in one sentence, that sentence would be: “WW2 was the gang rape of Germany by useful idiote Poland, France, still in the Versailles mode, Britain, via Churchill as a tool of international jewry, and the coming globalist powers USA and USSR, cleverly exploiting inner European rivalry”.

    The truth about WW2 is hidden in the allied archives. Maybe Putin will someday open his archives to deal the final blow against ZOG-Washington and prepare for a Paris-Berlin-Moscow alliance. But the final truth is already leaking from an archive from a country that accidently was caught in the eye of the storm of WW2: Finland.

  8. Walter
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    I think you are expressing your bitter feelings in the wrong place. I think that I can say that the attitude at and around Counter Currents is that of the realization of the unmitigated desaster the two wars were and that they heralded the most severe crisis to ever face European Man. Germany constituted the spiritual and intellectual center of the West- des Abendlandes, if you think in Spenglerian terms-and its smashing had to incur the most severe consequences for all peoples of European worldview. How can you live when your heart is ripped out of your chest? If a pro-white, nordic worldview had exerted an influence in Roosevelt’s administration and if England had not played its self-destructive old and tired game of self-centered power politics, but rather adopted a pan-European view, neither the first, nor the second war would have occurred. The war was terrible and its wounds in German hearts will take many generations to heal, but the crisis following the desastrous smashing of Germany-_ will not use the term “victory” for that event- is not just a German one; through the blindness of the leading western politicians of that time all western people are in deadly peril of destruction, now.

  9. Axe of Perun
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Interesting movie and informative commentary by one of the best writters on this site.
    I know it’s out of topic, but I have a little request/proposal to Andrew: ” Would it be possible for you to review Norwegian TV documentary called HJERNVASK/Brainwashing. Sociologist/comedian Harald Eia exposed Norwegian sociologists, especialy people from NIKK, gender equality institute as complete frauds and charlatans. Hjernvask was broadcasted on Norwegian State TV and made such a furor, that Nordic Council of Ministers has decided to defund and close down the NIKK- Nordic Gender Institute.
    I warmly recommend Hjernvask to all of you interested in questions about Race, feminism, gay/straight, violence, nature/nurture, gender equality paradox, …It’s not just interesting but also very funny.

    • Andrew Hamilton
      Posted December 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      You’re the second person who has made this request.

      I have not seen the series, but after it was brought to my attention the first time I looked (cursorily) into its background.

      Hjernevask (Brainwashing or Brainwash) was a 7-part documentary series broadcast on Norwegian state television (NRK) in 2010. It was inspired in part by Jewish writer Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate, and Pinker is also one of the show’s participant-interviewees. Other interviewees whose names US readers may recognize include Robert Plomin, Richard Nisbett, Richard Lynn, and Charles Murray. Apart from some Jews, most interviewees appear to be Norwegian.

      My impression is that the program takes an HBD-oriented perspective. Each episode is about 38 minutes long, which is the problem for me: that’s 4.5 hours of viewing time, plus, of course, the time necessary to write the review. It’s difficult for me to squeeze that in, especially if it’s HBD/Steven Pinker-type material. However, I will put it on my list of possible reviews. I can’t promise anything, however.

      In the meantime, if there are readers who would like to sample the series, it is available online with English subtitles. The episodes are: male-female differences, heritability versus a cultural basis for IQ, homosexuality, violence and aggression, sex, race, and the heritability of personality. If you have any thoughts about what you see, please post them here, or in the comment section of one of my future articles.

      Apparently part of the show’s interest is that it displayed Establishment cultural determinists in a less than flattering light.

      • Axe of Perun
        Posted December 26, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Thanks for your answer.
        We should learn a lot from this Norwegian comedian. He just asked a dozen of innocent questions, but the consequences for Gender Egalitarians were dire: their unscientific theory colapsed as a house of cards. We know that science, biology, truth are on our side. Ridicule can be our most potent weapon against our PC enemies.

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