king haakon vii

King Haakon VII

I didn’t know the story of King Haakon VII—democratically elected king of Norway!—and his noble opposition to the German National Socialist invasion of the Kingdom of Norway in 1940 until today. That such such heroism existed in the twentieth century gives me great hope for humanity.

When the Germans invaded Norway in the spring of 1940, overwhelming it in terms of numbers and technology, the king led the opposition, rallying his people to resist.

His brother, King of Denmark, did just the opposite, accepting Nazi rule, while the Swedish king did much in his power to help Hitler project his evil throughout northern Europe.

From one of the few remaining radio stations—itself, somewhat hiding in a mountainous, rural region—Haakon spoke to the Norwegians.

I am deeply affected by the responsibility laid on me if the German demand is rejected. The responsibility for the calamities that will befall people and country is indeed so grave that I dread to take it. It rests with the government to decide, but my position is clear. For my part I cannot accept the German demands. It would conflict with all that I have considered to be my duty as King of Norway since I came to this country nearly thirty-five years ago.

The decision is yours. But if you choose to accept the German demands, I must abdicate. For, I cannot appoint Quisling as prime minister.

Amen.

Books on the topic discussed in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

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