Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Quisling, Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonsson (1887–1945)

Norwegian collaborationist leader with Nazi Germany. Born in Fyresdal, Norway, on 18 July 1887, Vidkun Quisling entered the army in 1911. By 1918, he was Norwegian military attaché in Petrograd, Russia. After holding several administrative posts, in 1931 Quisling became minister of defense. Known as a capable army officer and government official, Quisling became controversial through his support of the German National Socialist Party. In 1933, he helped found the Nasjonal Samling Party, a Norwegian fascist organization. In 1939, on the failure of this party, Quisling met German leader Adolf Hitler and argued for a German occupation of Norway with the object of placing the Nasjonal Samling in power. During the German invasion of Norway in April 1940, Quisling founded a government in which he was minister president.

Quisling's government lasted only one week; the Germans crafted a new ruling body, in which Josef Terboven was Reich commissioner. On 1 February 1942, Quisling managed to attain greater political power as Norway's minister president in a Nasjonal Samling government. He subsequently embarked on a program of Nazification for his country. His policies, which included efforts to convert churches and schools to the principles of National Socialism, met opposition from most of the Norwegian population. Quisling's government was also responsible for transporting more than 1,000 Jews to German concentration camps.

Quisling's government was impeded both by interference from Berlin and by Norwegian partisan resistance. Following the liberation of Norway in May 1945, Quisling was imprisoned in Norway to await trial for war crimes. After maintaining in court proceedings that he had acted for the greater good of Norway, Quisling was found guilty of high treason. He was executed at Akershus Castle in Oslo, Norway, on 24 October 1945. His name has subsequently become synonymous with that of traitor.

Eric W. Osborne


Further Reading
Dahl, Hans Fredrik. Quisling: A Study in Treachery. Trans. Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.; Hoidal, Oddvar K. Quisling: A Study in Treason. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1989.
 

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