Photo: Bill Frymire/ Masterfile/ NTB scanpix

Norway and World War 2

Norway was occupied by German forces from 9 April 1940 until 8 May 1945 when World War 2 ended. The Norwegian government and all it was in charge of was taken over by the German occupiers. The German forces were able to use Norway’s ice-free harbours to control the North Atlantic ocean. This also helped them to protect their supply of iron ore from Sweden and stop Britain and the Allies from using this metal to make weapons to use against them.

Suddenly Norway was no longer a free country and life became hard. There was strict rationing on everything from food and clothes to toys and furniture. People fished, hunted or farmed what land they had, and bred pigs, rabbits and chickens for food. City parks were divided up for people to grow their own vegetables such as potatoes and cabbages. As in other occupied countries, Norwegians were not allowed to move about freely or to show patriotic feelings. During these years, singing the national anthem and flying the flag of Norway were banned. Click here for more details about life in Norway during the war.

Fortunately, the Royal Family managed to escape Norway without being captured. King Haakon carried on running his government-in-exile from London. He also made radio broadcasts back to Norway to give his people hope they would once again live in a free nation.

Click here to read about what it was like to be a child in Norway during World War II.


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Did You Know?

Britain was a great ally to Norway during the war, and it's to say thank you for this that Norway sends a big Christmas tree to London's Trafalgar Square every year.