Friday, 13 June 2008
More about everyones favourite traitor Vidkun Quisling. I mean. sure, Americans all vote for Benedict Arnold in the polls but does anyone say "what an arnold?"... no my friend, they do not. And thats because he is no Quisling. And you can all say "Judas betrayed Jesus, he is totally a more awesome traitor" but Judas recanted my friends, do you want the number one traitor to be a guy who doesnt even have the reliability to keep up his treachery to the bitter end? That is a quitter, not a traitor.
Vidkun is Norweigan, which you will all know already because he has a funny name. All Norweigans have funny names. He was born of some upper crust Norweigan family, the Quisling name was like Windsor or Kennedy or some famous family from where you are from. They were posh basically, they were probably related to people who famously died in wars or invented books or stuff. I dont really know, whatever Norweigans invented. His father was a pastor, so thats a good start and his mother was an academically respected genealogist. Im not entirely sure what that is, but she probably bred super monsters of some kind.
He was a soldier and went on to work in Russia during the hard years of early communism, helping with Fridtjof Nansen and his efforts. Nansen is the guy who invented the Nansen passport, which was pretty important for letting refugees get through borders and stop being forced to march out of countries until they died. So a pretty good guy.
Quisling then went into politics and his heights in that field went up to serving as defence minister for the centre party. Its not really called that, its called something Norweigan but I cant remember everything, it was something norweigan and I dont have any books at work with me. It was basically a none ideological party that favoured decentralisation, which was ironic given Quislings future views.
In 1933 Hitler had seized power and Fascist Italy had been running along smoothly (or so they presented themselves to the world) since '26. Quisling found the tenous ideology of fascism, especially as expanded upon by Hitler in his book and party broadcasts.
Weirdly, this wasnt that odd at the time. Fascism was feared and a cause for concern to many and the more savvy saw imminent danger, but there was also a school of thought that perhaps it was a politically viable move forward. This was an europe that was just coming out of the idea of absolute Monarchy, it wasnt a massive leap for some.
Anyway, he decided, why not me? Im like Hitler, only not rocking the charlie chan look or having written a popular book or having any of his acheivements or force of personality, I will start my own party on his principals and people will elect me outright Fuhrer. Even if Hitler never managed that and had to circumvent his way in through parliament and then archchancellor'ness.
So he did! He started his own fascist party in may of 33, the Nasjonal Samling (National Unity) one of main tenets of which was his own appointment as Forer (thats Norweigan for leader/fuhrer, but with a funny line through the O, but I dont know how to write those so you will have to imagine that bit) along the lines of the fuhrer prinzip... which was Hitlers tenous explanation for his system of government, a sort of supposed military structure to civilian posts.
It wasnt a big success. In the later 33 election the "vote me to rule you with an iron fist, I AM AWESOME" party got 2%. Mostly farmers (a parallel to Hitler who was big with farmers, damn you evil farmers, why are you so evil?)and some support from the Church, the former due to Quisling having some links with farming communities due to previous political work with them.
Deciding that only having a few months to prepare for that election, it was time to build on that success and really throw pro-nazi and anti-semitism stuff into his party message, really give the people what they want.
Weirdly, people didnt want to hate jews or to side with a scary foreign power with a scary new government. Election results were worse this time. People lost interest and the party went on, but it became about 2 thousand hardcore members. Pretty much the guys really into hating jews and hanging pictures of Hitler on their wall.
Quisling didnt let this hold him back. As the war started, he visited Hitler and assured him repeatedly he could set up a pro fascism government and side with Germany in the war. Hitler wasnt even keen on the idea, possibly seeing that Quisling was about as dynamic and likely to succeed in his goals as a Sloth.
But Hitler's war plans did come to include Norway, with his usual shaky pretexts he invaded in April 9th 1940. Quisling seeing this as his chance had made arrangements (the extent of which arent clear, but apparently Hitler was willing to allow him to form government and have the pretense of power under fascist ideas.) The key being the capturing of King Haakon the Awesome so he could pass power to this new government and maintain a sense of stability to avoid outright rebellion and a messy time consuming war for the Germans.
Quisling though, in a brilliant move, couldnt keep his excitement down and broadcast to the nation that he was now forming a new government, under his control. He announced he was the new prime minister and ordered a stop to all resistance. One slight flaw in all that, he was not the new prime minister yet.
When Haakon skipped the country and refused to empower him, as did the government empowered before he left, this totally undermined any chance he had of that happening and made him a bit of a joke since he could now not become prime minister legitmately. The Germans sighed at him a lot and gave him dirty, superior looks. Saying "Its always the Norweigan that messes up our plans" in German when he is in the room.
Reluctantly and pissed at him, the Germans did eventually place him into power in 1942, though under the German commissioner in charge of Norway and without the neccesary endorsement from the King. To reinforce this total botch up and Quislings part in it... and just to piss him off I think... Terboven (the reichskommisar) placed him as head of Norweigan government with the imaginary title "Minister President" rather than PM. February 1st 1942.
His party had assumed most important government positions not being run directly by the Nazis. All other parties were banned.
He failed to get any serious or respected government figure to take part in the new government under his Unity party. Which was now somewhat ironically named.
He helped establish and encouraged recruitment calls for a Norweigan SS unit. He loved the idea of nordic racial supremacy, you'd think his mother could have probably explained the flaws in those ideas but go figure. He was full of zeal, happily signing the execution of resistance members.
He was generally a total dick. He assisted and helped lay the logistic infrastructure for the deporting of Norweigan jews. Which was the big one that came up in trials later.
He even tried to be more insane and evil than was actually wanted. When stringent German regulations were sent down he would come up with more stringent ones on his own. Reasoning that they should be working harder for the new masters, he volunteered Norway for everything going. He tried to submit a plan that Norweigan citizens be used as cannon fodder and literal shields for tanks and machinery, something totally unworkable and dismissed by german forces, but still amazing someone could acheive.
In actuality, beyond wacky ideas, Quisling wasnt even a good puppet leader. In his early political days he realised he didnt have much character or force of personality and had started representing his views in writing more than anything. Since he wasnt in a position to make doctrine anymore, this was a bit of a pointless skill. And he had counted on an acceptance from the Germans that never came, they were angry at his early blunders and always kept him at arms length. His dreams of ruling came only in name. You could feel sorry for him, but you know, crazy fascist jerk.
Of course, the war didnt quite go so well for the master race. After Britain won the war, with some other guys or something, the tide turned in Norway. Despite being the most occupied German war territory the forces didnt put up much resistance and Quisling was arrested. Tried for treason and executed.
The Norweigan government had no death penalty statute, however one of their first acts when regaining legitmate power after the war was introduce it in preparation for the coming war trials. They put aside years of right to life beliefs because hey, some people just deserve to be shot.
And Vidkun Quisling was definitely one of them.
FUN QUISLING FACT - The use of Quisling as a phrase for traitor came about right as he came to power, coined by the times addressing an article "To Quislings everywhere" and getting a massive positive response to the phrasing. It is used in many european languages as well as English.
FUN QUISLING FACT - He called his house "Gimle" a reference to the place where the survivors of Ragnarok were to live. The sort of douche'y reference the nazis who were into pseudo scandivanian mythology would love. It is now renamed Villa Grande, because seriously, fuck that guy.
FUN QUISLING FACT - One of the anti quisling/nazi resistance movements used to wear a paper clip on their lapels to recognise each other, which is believed to be a Norweigan invention, as a mark of a true believer. That's unbelievably lame and those guys still totally kicked Quisling's ass.
FUN QUISLING FACT - Quisling believed in his own philisophy, he coined Universalism a mixture of various beliefs of christianity and his own views. Why do the crazy ones always want to start religions?
FUN QUISLING FACT - He was given a CBE by the British government for his early good works. After the nazi evil leader stuff it was quickly revoked. Where did it all go wrong Quisling?
Oh right, the nazi thing.
FUN FARMER FACT - All farmers are evil.