Birthday: July 18, 1887
Died At Age: 58
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling
Born in: Fyresdal
Famous as: World war II Norwegian Politician & Military Officer
Spouse/Ex-: Alexandra Voronin, Maria Quisling
father: Jon Lauritz Qvisling
mother: Anna Caroline Qvisling
siblings: Jørgen Quisling
Died on: October 24, 1945
place of death: Oslo
Cause of Death: Execution
Founder/Co-Founder: Nasjonal Samling
education: Norwegian Military Academy
awards: Order of the British Empire
Order of St. Sava
Who was Vidkun Quisling?
Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian army official and a politician, best known as an aid to Hitler’s ‘Nazi Party’ who assisted Hitler in occupying Norway during the Second World War. This act of treachery has earned him the tag of “traitor.” Quisling joined the Norwegian army in 1911. He was later posted as a Norwegian diplomat to the Soviet Russia. He also managed British affairs for some time, and from 1931 to 1933, he served as the minister of defense in the ‘Farmers’ Party’ government in Norway. A keen believer of fascism, he laid down the foundation of his very own fascist party, ‘Nasjonal Samling,’ in 1933. However, his frequent failure in the elections had him rethinking his decisions. At the beginning of the Second World War, he supported the ‘Nazi Party’ and was made the prime minister in 1942, after the Nazi party came to power. He ran a puppet government for Hitler and completely supported the massacre of Jews during the Holocaust. The Quisling regime is hence known as one of the darkest periods in Norway’s political history. Once the war was over, Quisling was sentenced to death, after being found guilty of murders, treason, and embezzlement. His death sentence was carried out on October 24, 1945, in Oslo.
Childhood & Early Life
Vidkun Quisling was born in Fyresdal, Telemark, Norway, into a highly esteemed family on July 18, 1887. His father, Jon Lauritz Quisling was a pastor in the ‘Church of Norway’ and worked as a genealogist. His mother, Anna Caroline Bang, belonged to a rich business family. Soon after marriage, his parents moved to Fyresdal, where Vidkul was born. He was their eldest child.
The letters exchanged between the family members tell quite a lot about Vidkul’s childhood. He was a shy, warm-hearted, and optimistic kid.. He grew up with three younger siblings, two brothers and a sister. The letters also indicate that the family members shared a very warm relationship with each other and that Quisling had a very happy and content childhood.
In 1893, the family had to move to Drammen as Vidkun’s father was supposed to serve as a chaplain there. Vidkun was enrolled at a school in Drammen. The new place did not suit him well and he was bullied because of his obvious Telemark accent. However, the bullying and stress aside, Quisling turned out to be a fairly intelligent student. The family moved once again in 1900 and settled in Skien.
Young Quisling displayed a terrific interest in humanities, especially history, and the natural sciences. He was also an ace student in mathematics, but by the time he finished school, he did not have a clear goal about his future.
The year 1905 witnessed his enrollment at the ‘Norwegian Military Academy.’ This was a result of Quisling securing the first rank among all the 250 applicants that year. The next year, he was transferred to the ‘Norwegian Military College’ and exhibited his brilliance by scoring the highest marks in the history of the college. This feat also had him meeting the King of Norway.
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In November 1911, Quisling joined the army general staff. His views on his country’s policies of being neutral in the First World War contrasted with the viewpoints of the regime.
His study on the Russian political environment had him sent to the Soviet Union in 1918, and his impeccable knowledge about how the Russian regime kept its people under control was appreciated. He soon became the Norwegian military’s expert on Russian affairs. *In 1919, he was sent to Helsinki, Finland, and was made an intelligence officer in the Norwegian embassy there. In the following few years, Quisling made several visits to Ukraine, France, Russia, and Armenia. During his travels as a diplomat, he married a Russian woman.
In 1929, his stint as Britain’s aid had him awarded the ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire.’ He also won several honors in Romania and Yugoslavia for his humanitarian endeavors. In 1929, after 12 years of working as a Norwegian diplomat in various countries, he moved to Norway to start his own political career. However, he had no inside knowledge of how military politics worked.
His conservative and anti-communist political ideology had him becoming the defense minister in 1931, as part of the ‘Agrarian’ government. His first controversial decision was that of harshly shutting down the voices of the workers of hydroelectric plants. His political ambitions heightened further, and he tried his best to bring all the national conservative parties under one umbrella, but failed miserably.
In 1933, he started his own party, the ‘Nasjonal Samling,’ or the ‘National Union,’ which was hugely inspired by Hitler’s fascist regime in Germany. He was also credited as the man who overthrew the Norwegian government, but in reality, it was the ‘Liberal Party’ that had done the job. However, despite Quisling having earned recognition among the Norwegian population, the people of the country never accepted the fascist ideology that he tried to bring to Norway.
Like most of the world, Norwegian voters hated Hitler, and this collective hatred resulted in a major defeat for Quisling’s party in the elections that took place in October 1933. During his speeches, he strongly opposed the forces of capitalization and socialism and proclaimed that only the authoritarian regime could save the country from going bankrupt. He used ‘Nazi’ Germany as an example and credited its rapidly growing financial and military strength to Hitler’s fascist policies.
He attended the Montreux ‘Fascist International Congress,’ in 1934, and met the leaders of the ‘Italian Fascist Party.’ He got more acquainted with Hitler’s party after meeting a top ‘Nazi’ official, Alfred Rosenberg. He established two forces on the lines of the two ‘German paramilitary organizations, the ‘SS’ and the ‘SA.’ Thus, he began to be known as the “Norwegian Hitler.”
His party fared miserably in the 1936 elections and failed to win a single seat in the parliament. These repeated losses had him getting miffed to a great degree, and he started finding ways to make his party come to power.
In an act of great treachery, he met Hitler during the beginning of the Second World War and asked him to occupy Norway. In April 1940, a strong convoy of German military officials took over Norway and asked King Haakon VIII to appoint Quisling as the prime minister and overthrow the democratically elected government.
Finally, in 1942, a puppet government was established, and Quisling was made the prime minister of Norway. He was made to respond to the ‘Third Reich’ Commissioner, Josef Terboven. Several Germans made their way to top positions in the government.
As much as Quisling wanted to establish a strong fascist regime, the people of Norway never quite agreed with his intentions. In 1943, the Norwegian hatred toward Quisling reached its peak when he transferred Norwegian Jews to ‘Nazi’ concentration camps for them to be brutally killed. He openly proclaimed that the country had become a fascist regime and that the royal family held no power any longer. This led to the royal family going into exile.
The ‘Allied’ forces finally managed to penetrate the Norwegian borders and threw the ‘Nazi’ military out of Norway. This brought an end to the fascist ‘National Union’ government and Vidkun Quisling was immediately arrested. He was tried by a council of war and was held guilty of murders and of joining hands with the enemy.
He was eventually sentenced to death. His sentence was carried out on October 24, 1945, at the ‘Akershus Fortress’ in Oslo.
He happens to be one of the most notorious men in the history of Norwegian politics and his named has been deemed synonymous with the word “traitor.”
Vidkun Quisling is said to have married twice in his life. His first wife, Alexandra Andreevna Voronin, was a peddler’s daughter. He is believed to have married Maria Vasilyevna Pasek later, though historians believe there is no documentation of their marriage.