Archive for April 9th, 2008

After Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, the War entered something of a quiet phase.  The French and British, having often endured Adolf Hitler’s bluster and threats, expected their opponent’s territorial ambitions to continue unabated.  When the Winter of 1939/40 passed without any major action, the Allies started to get a little cocky, referring to this time as the “Sitzkrieg”.  On the 5th of April, British PM Chamberlain gave his famous “Hitler has missed the bus” speech.  Four days later, on April 9, 1940, the German dictator responded…

…with an invasion of Denmark and Norway.  Both countries were considered neutral, though one could make a case that Norway rather played up to both sides, allowing the German transport ship Altmark (carrying British prisoners) sanctuary in Norwegian waters, then subsequently allowing the British Navy into those same waters to commandeer the Altmark, then allowing the British to mine their territorial waters just one day prior to Germany’s action.

Denmark, sitting right on the German border, stood no chance of victory, and the Danish military resisted for only a couple hours before calling it quits.  Before a full day had passed, German forces marched into Copenhagen, and all was over.  Norway, on the other hand, would prove a tougher nut to crack.  The Germans wanted Norway as staging areas for their maritime war with Britain.  Britain wanted to prevent that, as well as put Germany’s iron-ore shipments (coming out of Sweden via Trondheim) in jeopardy.

For the first time since the start of war, the German military would face real resistance.

Recommended Reading – Snow Treasure – Ok, ok…yeah, it’s a children’s story. But it’s based on a true story.  I ordered it from one of those “book-order-sheet-thingies” when I was in grade school, and I read it numerous times.  It’s probably been 30 years, but I still remember how much I liked it.  Order it for your kids, or somebody else’s kids, but take a peek at it yourself before you give it away.

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