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April 10,1940 – as the events in Norway and Denmark continued to unfold, news reports from throughout Europe were pouring in. Most notable were the reports delivered via Shortwave from Berlin and Rome as well as London. It gave listeners in America a glimpse into how both sides were reporting the war.
One of the names appearing in these news reports is one that would become noted for its infamy and betrayal and come to be a code word for treason over the coming weeks and months. Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian military officer and politician who nominally headed the government of Norway during the occupation of the country by Nazi Germany during World War II. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he attempted to seize power in the world’s first radio-broadcast coup d’état, but failed after the Germans refused to support his government. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Prime Minister of Norway, heading the Norwegian state administration jointly with the German civilian administrator Josef Terboven. His pro-Nazi puppet government, known as the Quisling regime, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling. The collaborationist government participated in Germany’s genocidal Final Solution. Quisling was put on trial during the legal purge in Norway after World War II. He was found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason against the Norwegian state, and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945. The word “quisling” became a byword for “collaborator” or “traitor” in several languages, reflecting the contempt with which Quisling’s conduct has been regarded, both at the time and since his death.
A glimpse into the goings-on in the world, this April 10, 1940 as provided by Radio Berlin and EIAR, Rome English services.