Axis History Forum

This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations and related topics hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research, Christoph Awender's WW2 day by dayand Christian Ankerstjerne’s Panzerworld.

Skip to content

If you found the forum useful please consider supporting us. You can also support us by buying books through the AHF Bookstore.

OP Weserübung 1940

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.

OP Weserübung 1940

Postby Wolf on 04 Feb 2013 17:33

What is the latest regarding the German motivation for launching Operation Weserübung...

I have run into a Danish historian who claims that the reason for attack on Norway and Denmark almost entirely rested with the wish of the Kriegsmarine to be able to establish bases in Norway - while all other contributing factors were of minimal importance and sort of used to "sell the idea to Hitler".

True or false?
Wolf
Member
Sweden
 
Posts: 175
Joined: 12 Aug 2002 21:56
Location: Sweden

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby Kingfish on 04 Feb 2013 18:36

More likely the other way around, that of to prevent the British from establishing bases on Norwegian soil and thus completely close off access to the North Sea. Germany's preference would have been for Norway to remain neutral, but the Altmark incident raised concerns that she was not able to defend her own neutrality, and the British didn't care to respect it anyway.
User avatar
Kingfish
Member
United States
 
Posts: 2016
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby merdiolu on 04 Feb 2013 20:18

Admiral Reader and Kriegsmarine was pressuring for invasion of Norway after 1939 autumn actually. Aim was getting naval and air bases to initiate a much easier naval campaign and U-boat warfare against British Isles. British / French intention to pass troops through Narvik to help Finns in Winter War and Altmark Incident were just catalysts for Hitler to take action on his behalf. German Armed Forces were preparing for Weserübung for quite some time.
merdiolu
Member
Turkey
 
Posts: 132
Joined: 07 Jan 2010 00:47

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby phylo_roadking on 04 Feb 2013 20:37

Kersaudy notes that Hitler told Hermann Rauschning five years earlier that "should war break out, one of his first moves would be the invasion of Sweden", for "he could not abandoin the Scandanavian countries to Russian or British influence"....so the area was certainly on his mind then! :wink:

IIRC both issues - British "bases" and the Germans getting them "first" ...were discussed by Hitler and Raeder...and separately Hitler and Rosenberg!...in October 1939 - but Hitler rejected military action at that time....

But with Quisling's arrival in Berlin in mid-December, both men were back in the Chancellery on the 14th of December for ANOTHER meeting...

This went averagely well apparently, no outright promises made...until the discussion came round to Germany's reaction to possible british breaches of Norwegian neutrality; Hitler said Germany would intervene "in good time" to prevent them...then according to Quisling Adolf went into what today we'd describe as one of his carpet-biting frenzies about breeches of Neutrality ;) At this point Jodl noted in his diary that Hitler ordered the first...but absolute minimum...investigation of planning options to be made.

This seems to have sunk firmly into Adolf's mind :wink: He met with Quisling four days later, and seems to have sent Quisling home with "orders" to build up his party, and keep an eye open for the previously-discussed British breeches of Norwegian Neutrality (recorded by Halder in his diary! :P)

At this point however, Hitler was definitely preoccupied with the West, he'd just set another in the long series of dates for the invasion of the West...yet another "winter" one that was going to soon fall by the wayside :P

Raeder AGAIN asked for permission to begin operations against Norway at the end of January...but this was AGAIN rejected by Hitler, on the 29th, stating that in his opinion both Norway and Sweden were firmly resolved to observing a strict neutrality....and that he was still conncentrating on the prospect of events in the West...

HOWEVER - "Studie Nord", the planning investigation, had gone ahead in the meantime, and the first report was given to Hitler on the 20th of January....and he seems to have been impressed with what he saw; the next day he ordered a full plan to be worked up....and gave the operation its name ;)

Now...things went ahead as we know...but interestingly Kersaudy gives some details on the NEXT milepost along the way - the 5th February meeting between the the service representatives that were to form/head the new Sonderstab planning Staff for WESERUBUNG and keitel - because during THAT meeting, Keitel mentions that "we are in possession of information from several sources indicating that the British themselves intend to occupy the Western coast of Norway, in co-operation with the French"

Kersaudy doesn't say who or what these sources...plural!...were :( But from THIS point at least - the race was on!
"People tell me I know damn nothing - I tell them I know damn all!"
User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
United Kingdom
 
Posts: 16875
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby Wolf on 05 Feb 2013 15:11

Kingfish wrote:More likely the other way around, that of to prevent the British from establishing bases on Norwegian soil and thus completely close off access to the North Sea. Germany's preference would have been for Norway to remain neutral, but the Altmark incident raised concerns that she was not able to defend her own neutrality, and the British didn't care to respect it anyway.


It would be interesting to know what source or sources you base this on. I would be especially interesting to know if those sources state why the Germans were afraid of losing access to the North Sea...
Wolf
Member
Sweden
 
Posts: 175
Joined: 12 Aug 2002 21:56
Location: Sweden

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby Wolf on 05 Feb 2013 15:13

merdiolu wrote:Admiral Reader and Kriegsmarine was pressuring for invasion of Norway after 1939 autumn actually. Aim was getting naval and air bases to initiate a much easier naval campaign and U-boat warfare against British Isles. British / French intention to pass troops through Narvik to help Finns in Winter War and Altmark Incident were just catalysts for Hitler to take action on his behalf. German Armed Forces were preparing for Weserübung for quite some time.


Would you agree then that the reason for the invasion of Norway (and Denmark) was the Kriegsmarine desire for bases in Norway?
Wolf
Member
Sweden
 
Posts: 175
Joined: 12 Aug 2002 21:56
Location: Sweden

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby phylo_roadking on 05 Feb 2013 15:20

Would you agree then that the reason for the invasion of Norway (and Denmark) was the Kriegsmarine desire for bases in Norway?


....hand in hand with not wanting the BRITISH to get bases there. The two motivations are both sides of the same coin.
"People tell me I know damn nothing - I tell them I know damn all!"
User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
United Kingdom
 
Posts: 16875
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby fredleander on 05 Feb 2013 15:47

phylo_roadking wrote:Now...things went ahead as we know...but interestingly Kersaudy gives some details on the NEXT milepost along the way - the 5th February meeting between the the service representatives that were to form/head the new Sonderstab planning Staff for WESERUBUNG and keitel - because during THAT meeting, Keitel mentions that "we are in possession of information from several sources indicating that the British themselves intend to occupy the Western coast of Norway, in co-operation with the French"

Kersaudy doesn't say who or what these sources...plural!...were :( But from THIS point at least - the race was on!


As I understand it a British/French intervention in Finland, with forces sent through Norway and Sweden (Narvik and Trondheim), was openly discussed in British newspapers. So that should be no secret for the Germans. Of course, the real purpose was not to come to the aid of Finland but to stop the Swedish iron ore supplies to Germany.

Fred
www.fredleander.com - River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book on Operation Sealion
User avatar
fredleander
Financial supporter
Sweden
 
Posts: 2069
Joined: 03 Dec 2004 20:49
Location: Stockholm

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby phylo_roadking on 05 Feb 2013 15:51

That only really accounts for one of the "several"....
"People tell me I know damn nothing - I tell them I know damn all!"
User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
United Kingdom
 
Posts: 16875
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby Wolf on 05 Feb 2013 18:09

phylo_roadking wrote:....hand in hand with not wanting the BRITISH to get bases there. The two motivations are both sides of the same coin.


Maybe not quite. Norway was neutral during WWI.

And the danish "historian" who I first saw champion the idea that Weserübung was the result of the Kriegsmarine's desire to establish bases in Norway - as the German navy drew upon the experiences of WWI - was very clear on the matter; Weserübung was launched becasue the Germans wanted bases in Norway. But is that true, or is it maybe false?
Wolf
Member
Sweden
 
Posts: 175
Joined: 12 Aug 2002 21:56
Location: Sweden

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby fredleander on 05 Feb 2013 18:32

Wolf wrote:What is the latest regarding the German motivation for launching Operation Weserübung...

I have run into a Danish historian who claims that the reason for attack on Norway and Denmark almost entirely rested with the wish of the Kriegsmarine to be able to establish bases in Norway - while all other contributing factors were of minimal importance and sort of used to "sell the idea to Hitler".

True or false?


I say false. Depends on when this was supoposedly stated. As posted by PR it was a story that developed over time. The obvious vacillations of the Allieds did not improve upon the situation.

Fred
www.fredleander.com - River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book on Operation Sealion
User avatar
fredleander
Financial supporter
Sweden
 
Posts: 2069
Joined: 03 Dec 2004 20:49
Location: Stockholm

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby phylo_roadking on 05 Feb 2013 18:45

Maybe not quite. Norway was neutral during WWI.


1/ With the advent from Day One of submarine warfare....unlike WWI - WWII was likely to be a far different story at sea before it was even fought.

2/ Norway's Neutrality didn't have the same "flavour" as WWI; Koht was more "belligerent" about it (on a foundation of little or no real "strength" to back it up) than his predecessor in WWI; militarily, Norway's just-pre-Dreadnought era WWI navy wasn't as dated as it was twenty years later ;)

3/ The Norwegians (the people rather then the politicians!) had this strange mindset that the Royal Navy would protect it from foreign belligerence in the event of war; Kersaudy mentions this several times...and thus to do this the RN would need bases IN Norway.

4/ As mentioned above, there had been several months' of demands and discussions openly in the British press regarding British/French "intentions" in Norway/Sweden.

But is that true, or is it maybe false?


It's "half" true, in that it's half the story; I don't know if any direct record of the October Hitler-Raeder meeting survives....but there's both Halder's diary record of the content of the discussions in December AND Quisling's own record of the December meeting where this prospect of British incursions was mentioned...

...in fact, the prospect of bases for the KM was specifically NOT mentioned! - as Quisling recorded -

"No infringement of Norwegian neutrality by Germany, on the contrary, Germany has an interest in the strict enforcement of neutrality. A sharp look-out to be held in Norway for any indication of an intended conspiracy with England, and close surveillance to be maintained of all activities in suspected gathering points and points of embarkation in England..."


....with the ONLY mention of German prospective action as -

...as well as inception in Germany of preventative measures to cope with any British attack."
"People tell me I know damn nothing - I tell them I know damn all!"
User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
United Kingdom
 
Posts: 16875
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby phylo_roadking on 05 Feb 2013 19:06

I would be especially interesting to know if those sources state why the Germans were afraid of losing access to the North Sea...


Why would not having possession of Norway loose them access to the North Sea??? After all they did have North Sea frontage without the Baltic transit...Emden? Bremerhaven? Wilhelmshaven? Hamburg??? The Kiel Canal?
"People tell me I know damn nothing - I tell them I know damn all!"
User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
United Kingdom
 
Posts: 16875
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby Wolf on 05 Feb 2013 21:39

phylo_roadking wrote:It's "half" true, in that it's half the story; I don't know if any direct record of the October Hitler-Raeder meeting survives....but there's both Halder's diary record of the content of the discussions in December AND Quisling's own record of the December meeting where this prospect of British incursions was mentioned...

...in fact, the prospect of bases for the KM was specifically NOT mentioned! - as Quisling recorded -


Supposedly - if you study the files of the Kriegsmarine you'll find the true cause of Weserübung, and that being the desire for German bases in Norway. All other reasons for the invasion being subordinated this wish - and being mostly stuff used by Reader et al to "sell the idea to Hitler".

I take it as you find this interpretation of the cause(s) for Weserübung to be false...
Wolf
Member
Sweden
 
Posts: 175
Joined: 12 Aug 2002 21:56
Location: Sweden

Re: OP Weserübung 1940

Postby Wolf on 05 Feb 2013 21:42

fredleander wrote:I say false. Depends on when this was supoposedly stated. As posted by PR it was a story that developed over time. The obvious vacillations of the Allieds did not improve upon the situation.


Fred - what were the main reason/reasons for the German invasion of Norway and Denmark?
Wolf
Member
Sweden
 
Posts: 175
Joined: 12 Aug 2002 21:56
Location: Sweden

Next

Return to WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Trendiction [Bot] and 4 guests