Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling (ˈʋɪdkʉn ˈkʋɪʃlɪŋ; 18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945) was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

 in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President
A minister-president is the head of government in a number of European countries or subnational governments, in which a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government prevails, who presides over the council of ministers...

, working with the occupying forces
Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany
The occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany started with the German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, and ended on May 8, 1945, after the capitulation of German forces in Europe. Throughout this period, Norway was continuously occupied by the Wehrmacht...

. His government, known as the Quisling regime
Quisling regime
The Quisling regime, or the Quisling government are common names used to refer to the collaborationist government led by Vidkun Quisling in occupied Norway during the Second World War. The official name of the regime from 1 February 1942 until its dissolution in May 1945 was Nasjonale regjering...

, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling, the party he had founded in 1933. The collaborationist
Collaborationism is cooperation with enemy forces against one's country. Legally, it may be considered as a form of treason. Collaborationism may be associated with criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, which may include complicity with the occupying power in murder, persecutions,...

 government participated in Germany's Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

. Quisling was put on trial during the post-war legal purge in Norway
Legal purge in Norway after World War II
When the occupation of Norway ended in May 1945, several thousand Norwegians and foreign citizens were tried and convicted for various acts that the occupying powers sanctioned...

 and found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

. He was executed by firing squad
Execution by firing squad
Execution by firing squad, sometimes called fusillading , is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war.Execution by shooting is a fairly old practice...

 at Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress or Akershus Castle is a medieval castle that was built to protect Oslo, the capital of Norway. It has also been used as a prison.- Construction :...

, Oslo, on 24 October 1945. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, quisling
Quisling is a term used in reference to fascist and collaborationist political parties and military and paramilitary forces in occupied Allied countries which collaborated with Axis occupiers in World War II, as well as for their members and other collaborators.- Etymology :The term was coined by...

became a synonym for traitor.

The son of a Church of Norway
Church of Norway
The Church of Norway is the state church of Norway, established after the Lutheran reformation in Denmark-Norway in 1536-1537 broke the ties to the Holy See. The church confesses the Lutheran Christian faith...

 pastor, Quisling blended Christian fundamentals, scientific developments and philosophy into a new theory he called Universism. Before going into politics, he proved himself in the military, joining the General Staff in 1911 and specialising in Russian affairs. He was posted to Russia in 1918, and worked with Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth a champion skier and ice skater, he led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, and won international fame after reaching a...

 during the 1921 famine
Russian famine of 1921
The Russian famine of 1921, also known as Povolzhye famine, which began in the early spring of that year, and lasted through 1922, was a severe famine that occurred in Bolshevik Russia...

 in the Ukraine
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

, returning to Russia to work with Frederik Prytz in Moscow. When Prytz left in 1927, Quisling stayed on as the Norwegian diplomat responsible for managing British diplomatic affairs. For these services he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

, though the honour was later rescinded. He returned to Norway in 1929, and served as Minister of Defence
Minister of Defence (Norway)
The Norwegian Minister of Defence is a Councillor of the Council of State and Chief of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, the position has existed since the Secretary of the Army and Secretary of the Navy was combined into the Minister of Defence...

 during the Agrarian governments (1931–33). Although Quisling achieved some popularity after his attacks on the political left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

, his party never polled well and was little more than peripheral at the time of his 1940 coup.


Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was born on 18 July 1887 in Fyresdal
Fyresdal is a municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Vest-Telemark. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Moland. The municipality of Moland was established on 1 January 1838 . In 1879, the name was changed to...

, in the Norwegian county of Telemark
is a county in Norway, bordering Vestfold, Buskerud, Hordaland, Rogaland and Aust-Agder. The county administration is in Skien. Until 1919 the county was known as Bratsberg amt.-Location:...

. He was the son of Church of Norway
Church of Norway
The Church of Norway is the state church of Norway, established after the Lutheran reformation in Denmark-Norway in 1536-1537 broke the ties to the Holy See. The church confesses the Lutheran Christian faith...

 pastor and genealogist Jon Lauritz Quisling (1844–1930) and his wife Anna Caroline Bang (1860–1941). The family name derives from Quislinus, the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

ised name of the village of Kvislemark in Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

, Denmark, from which the Quislings had migrated in the 17th century, later marrying into the respected Bakka family of Telemark county. Having two brothers and a sister, the young Quisling was "shy and quiet but also loyal and helpful, always friendly, occasionally breaking into a warm smile". From 1893 to 1900, his father was a chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

 for the Strømsø
Strømsø is a brough of Drammen, in Buskerud county, Norway. Strømsø is located at the southern side of the river Drammenselva. Until about 1600, Stømsø was an island surrounded by the Drammenselva, but was later made landfast. In 1728 Strømsø was granted rights as a trade center by the king, and...

 borough in Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

. Here, Vidkun went to school for the first time. He was bullied by other students at the school for his Telemark dialect, but proved a successful student. In 1900, the family moved to Skien
' is a city and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Skien. Skien is also the administrative centre of Telemark county....

 when his father was appointed provost
Provost (religion)
A provost is a senior official in a number of Christian churches.-Historical Development:The word praepositus was originally applied to any ecclesiastical ruler or dignitary...

 of the city.

Academically Quisling proved talented both in humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

, particularly history, and natural sciences; he specialised in mathematics. At this point, however, his life had no clear direction. In 1905, Quisling enrolled at the Norwegian Military Academy
Norwegian Military Academy
The Norwegian Army Academy was established in 1750. It is the oldest university-level educational institution in Norway, and one of the oldest active military academies in the world. Krigsskolen primarily educates officers for the Norwegian Army. There are separate academies for the Royal...

, having received the highest entrance examination score of the 250 applicants that year. Transferring in 1906 to the Norwegian Military College
Norwegian Military College
The Norwegian Military College was a military educational institution in Norway.It was established on 16 February 1817, with headquarters at Akershus Fortress...

, he graduated with the highest score since the college's inception in 1817, and was rewarded by an audience with the King. On 1 November 1911, he joined the army General Staff. Norway was neutral in the First World War; Quisling detested the peace movement, though the high human cost of the war did temper his views. In March 1918, he was sent to Russia as an attaché at the Norwegian legation
A legation was the term used in diplomacy to denote a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy. Where an embassy was headed by an Ambassador, a legation was headed by a Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary....

 in Petrograd
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, to take advantage of the five years he had spent studying the country. Though dismayed at the living conditions he experienced, Quisling nonetheless concluded that "the Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s have got an extraordinarily strong hold on Russian society" and marvelled at how Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 had managed to mobilise Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 forces so well; by contrast, in granting too many rights to the people of Russia, the Kerensky
Alexander Kerensky
Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky was a major political leader before and during the Russian Revolutions of 1917.Kerensky served as the second Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government until Vladimir Lenin was elected by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets following the October Revolution...

 government had brought about its own downfall. When the legation was recalled in December 1918, Quisling became the Norwegian military's expert on Russian affairs.


In September 1919, Quisling departed Norway to become an intelligence officer with the Norwegian delegation in Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, a post that combined diplomacy and politics. In the autumn of 1921, Quisling left Norway once again, this time at the request of explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth a champion skier and ice skater, he led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, and won international fame after reaching a...

, and in January 1922 arrived in the Ukrainian
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

 capital Kharkov to help with the humanitarian relief effort there. Highlighting the massive mismanagement of the area and the death toll of approximately ten thousand a day, Quisling produced a report which attracted aid and demonstrated his administrative skills as well as his dogged determination to get what he wanted. On 21 August, he married the Russian Alexandra Andreevna ("Asja") Voronina, the young and inexperienced daughter of a pedlar. Alexandra wrote in her memoirs that Quisling declared his love for her, but based on his letters home and investigations undertaken by his cousins, it appears that there was never any question of romantic involvement between the two. Quisling merely seems to have wanted to lift the girl out of poverty by providing her with a Norwegian passport and financial security.

Having left the Ukraine in September 1922, Quisling and Asja returned to Kharkov in February 1923 to prolong aid efforts, with Nansen describing Quisling's work as "absolutely indispensable". Quisling found the situation much improved and, with no fresh challenges, found it a more boring trip than his last. He did however meet Maria Vasiljevna Pasetsjnikova , a Ukrainian more than ten years his junior. Her diaries from the time "indicate a blossoming love affair" during the summer of 1923, despite Quisling's marriage to Asja the year before. Quisling apparently married Pasetsjnikova in Kharkov on 10 September 1923, although no legal documentation has been discovered. Quisling's biographer, Dahl, believes that in all likelihood the second marriage was never official. Regardless, the couple behaved as though they were married, and celebrated their wedding anniversary. Soon after the wedding, the aid mission came to an end and the trio left the Ukraine, and from the summer of 1923 onwards they planned to spend a year in Paris. Maria wanted to see Europe; Quisling wanted to get some rest following bouts of stomach pain that had lasted all winter.

Paris, Ukraine and Norway

The stay in Paris required a temporary discharge from the army, which Quisling slowly grew to understand was permanent: army cutbacks meant that there would be no position available for him when he returned. Quisling devoted much of his time in the French capital to study, reading works of political theory and working on his philosophical project, which he called Universism. On 2 October 1923 he persuaded the Oslo daily newspaper Tidens Tegn
Tidens Tegn
Tidens Tegn is a former Norwegian newspaper, issued in Oslo from 1910 to 1941.-Editors:The founder and first editor-in-chief of Tidens Tegn was Ola Thommessen, who edited the newspaper until 1917. Thommessen had recently left the editor chair of Verdens Gang in protest, bringing much of Verdens...

to publish an article he had written calling for diplomatic recognition
Diplomatic recognition
Diplomatic recognition in international law is a unilateral political act with domestic and international legal consequences, whereby a state acknowledges an act or status of another state or government in control of a state...

 of the Soviet government. Quisling's own stay in Paris did not last as long as planned, and in late 1923 he started work on Nansen's new repatriation
Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin following a war...

 project in the Balkans, arriving in Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

 in November. He spent the next two months travelling constantly with his wife Maria. In January she returned to Paris to look after Asja, who took on the role of the couple's foster-daughter; Quisling joined them in February.

In the summer of 1924, the trio returned to Norway where Asja subsequently left to live with an aunt in Nice and never returned. Although Quisling promised to provide for her well-being, his payments were irregular, and over the coming years he would miss a number of opportunities to visit. Back in Norway, and to his later embarrassment, Quisling found himself drawn into the communist Norwegian labour movement. Among other policies, he fruitlessly advocated a people's militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 to protect the country against reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 attacks, and asked members of the movement whether they would like to know what information the General Staff had on them with no response. Although this brief attachment to the extreme left seems unlikely given Quisling's later political direction, Dahl suggests that, following a conservative childhood, he was by this time "unemployed and dispirited ... deeply resentful of the General Staff ... [and] in the process of becoming politically more radical". Dahl adds that Quisling's political views at this time could be summarised as "a fusion of socialism and nationalism", with definite sympathies for the Soviet regime in Russia.

Russia and the rouble scandal

In June 1925, Nansen once again provided Quisling with employment. The pair began a tour of Armenia, where they hoped to help repatriate native Armenians via a number of projects proposed for funding by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

. Despite Quisling's substantial efforts, however, the projects were all rejected. In May 1926, Quisling found another job with long-time friend and fellow Norwegian Frederik Prytz in Moscow, working as a liaison between Prytz and the Soviet authorities who owned half of Prytz's firm Onega Wood. He stayed in the job until Prytz prepared to close down the business in early 1927, when Quisling found new employment as a diplomat. British diplomatic affairs in Russia were being managed by Norway, and he became their new legation secretary. In the autumn of 1928, Maria joined him, and a massive scandal broke when Quisling and Prytz were accused of using diplomatic channels to smuggle millions of roubles onto the black markets. This much-repeated claim would later be used to support a charge of "moral bankruptcy
Moral bankruptcy
Moral bankruptcy is a synonym for immorality that has gained popular usage in the fields of business and politics, in which it specifically implies some instance of political corruption or corporate crime...

", but neither it nor a claim that Quisling spied for the British has ever been substantiated.

The harder line now developing in Russian politics led Quisling to distance himself from Bolshevism. The Soviet government had rejected outright his Armenian proposals, and obstructed an attempt by Nansen to help with the 1928 Ukrainian famine. Quisling took these rebuffs as a personal insult; in 1929, with the British now keen to take back control of their own diplomatic affairs, he left Russia. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to Britain, an honour revoked by King George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

 in 1940. By this time, Quisling had also collected the Romanian Crown Order
Order of the Crown (Romania)
The Order of the Crown is a chivalric order set up on 14 March 1881 by King Carol I of Romania to commemorate the establishment of the Kingdom of Romania...

 and the Yugoslav Order of St Sava for his earlier humanitarian efforts.

Final return to Norway

Having spent nine of the previous twelve years abroad, but with no practical experience in party politics outside the Norwegian army, Quisling returned to Norway in December 1929, bringing with him a plan for change which he termed Norsk Aktion ("Norwegian Action"). The planned organisation consisted of national, regional and local units with the intention of recruiting in the style of the Soviet Communist Party. Like Action Française
Action Française
The Action Française , founded in 1898, is a French Monarchist counter-revolutionary movement and periodical founded by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois and whose principal ideologist was Charles Maurras...

of the French right, it advocated radical constitutional changes. The Parliament of Norway (Storting), was to become bicameral with the second chamber made up of Soviet-style elected representatives from the working population. Quisling focused more on organisation than the practicalities of government; for instance, all members of Norsk Aktion were to have their own designation in a militaristic hierarchy.

Quisling next sold a large number of antiques and works of art that he had acquired cheaply in post-revolutionary Russia. His collection stretched to some 200 paintings, including works claimed to be by Rembrandt, Goya, Cézanne and numerous other masters. The collection, including "veritable treasures", had been insured for almost 300,000 krone
Norwegian krone
The krone is the currency of Norway and its dependent territories. The plural form is kroner . It is subdivided into 100 øre. The ISO 4217 code is NOK, although the common local abbreviation is kr. The name translates into English as "crown"...

. In the spring of 1930 he again joined up with Prytz, who was back in Norway. They participated in regular group meetings that included middle-aged officers and business people, since described as "the textbook definition of a fascist
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 initiative group", through which Prytz appeared determined to launch Quisling into politics.

After Nansen died on 13 May 1930, Quisling used his friendship with the editor of the Tidens Tegn newspaper to get his analysis of Nansen onto the front page. The article was entitled "Politiske tanker ved Fridtjof Nansens død" ("Political Thoughts on the Death of Fridtjof Nansen") and was published on 24 May. In the article, he outlined ten points that would complete Nansen's vision as applied to Norway, among them "strong and just government" and a "greater emphasis on race and heredity". This theme was followed up in his new book, Russia and Ourselves, which was serialised in Tidens Tegn during the autumn of 1930. Advocating war against Bolshevism, the openly racist book catapulted Quisling into the political limelight. Despite his earlier ambivalence, he took up a seat on the Oslo board of the previously Nansen-led Fatherland League. Meanwhile, he and Prytz founded a new political movement, Nordisk folkereisning i Norge (Rise of the Nordic people in Norway), with a central committee of 31 and Quisling as its fører
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

—a one-man executive committee—though Quisling seems to have had no particular attachment to the term. The first meeting of the league took place on 17 March 1931, stating the purpose of the movement was to "eliminate the imported and depraved communist insurgency".

Defence minister

Quisling left Nordisk folkereisning i Norge in May 1931 to serve as defence minister in the Agrarian government of Peder Kolstad
Peder Kolstad
Peder Ludvik Kolstad was a Norwegian politician from the Agrarian Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1931 until his death in 1932.-References:...

, despite being neither an Agrarian nor a friend of Kolstad's. He had been suggested to Kolstad for the post by Thorvald Aadahl
Thorvald Aadahl
Thorvald Aadahl was a Norwegian newspaper editor, novelist and playwright, born in Rødenes. He was chief editor of the newspaper Nationen from 1913 to 1942, and chaired the Norwegian Press Association from 1931 to 1934.-References:...

, editor of the Agrarian newspaper Nationen
Nationen is a Norwegian daily newspaper, founded in 1918. It has a circulation of approximately 14,000 and primarily targets farmers and the agriarian sector, with focus on district politics, farming, commentaries and features. It is based in Oslo, with offices in Trondheim and Fagernes, and edited...

, who was in turn influenced by Prytz. The appointment came as a surprise to many in the Parliament of Norway. Quisling's first action in the post was to deal with the aftermath of the Battle of Menstad
Battle of Menstad
The Menstad conflict was a Norwegian policing and political débâcle on 8 June 1931 at Norsk Hydro's Menstad plant, near Skien in the Norwegian province of Telemark....

, an "extremely bitter" labour dispute, by sending in troops. After narrowly avoiding criticism by the left wing over his handling of the dispute, and the revelation of his earlier "militia" plans, Quisling turned his attention to the perceived threat posed by communists. He created a list of the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition leadership, who had been the alleged agitators at Menstad; a number of them were eventually charged with subversion
Apache Subversion is a software versioning and a revision control system distributed under a free license. Developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation...

 and violence against the police. Quisling's policies also resulted in the establishment of a permanent militia called Leidangen
Leidangen was an organisation for volunteer military education in Norway. The organisation was started in 1931, and had its background in various 1920s volunteer organisations such as the Society Guard. Leidangen differed from the former, in that Leidangen was integrated fully into Norway's...

which, unlike the body he had previously planned, was to be counter-revolutionary. Despite the ready availability of junior officers in the reserve following defence cuts, only seven units were established in 1934, and funding restrictions meant that the enterprise included less than a thousand men before it faded away. Sometime during the period 1930–33, Quisling's first wife, Asja, received notice of the annulment of her marriage to him.

In mid-1932 Nordisk folkereisning i Norge was forced to confirm that although Quisling remained in the cabinet, he would not become a member of the party. They further stated that the party programme had no basis in fascism of any kind, including the National Socialism model. This did not dampen criticism of Quisling, who remained constantly in the headlines, although he was gradually earning a reputation as a disciplined and efficient administrator. After he was attacked in his office by a knife-wielding assailant who threw ground pepper in his face on 2 February 1932, some newspapers, instead of focusing on the attack itself, suggested that the assailant had been the jealous husband of one of Quisling's cleaners; others, especially those aligned with the Labour Party, posited that the whole thing had been staged. In November 1932, Labour politician Johan Nygaardsvold
Johan Nygaardsvold
Johan Nygaardsvold was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1935 to 1945 , as head of the cabinet Nygaardsvold.-Political career:...

 put this theory to Parliament, prompting suggestions that charges of slander be brought against him. No charges were brought, and the identity of the assailant has never been confirmed. Quisling later indicated it was an attempt to steal military papers recently left by Swedish Lieutenant Colonel Wilhelm Kleen. The so-called "pepper affair" served to polarise opinion about Quisling, and government fears grew concerning reasonably open Soviet elements in Norway who had been active in promoting industrial unrest.

Following Kolstad's death in March 1932, Quisling retained his post as defence minister in the second Agrarian government under Jens Hundseid
Jens Hundseid
Jens Hundseid was a Norwegian politician from the Agrarian Party. He was a member of the Norwegian parliament from 1924 to 1940 and Prime Minister of Norway from 1932 to 1933....

 for political reasons, though they remained in bitter opposition throughout. Just as he had been under Kolstad, Quisling was involved in many of the spats that characterised Hundseid's government. On 8 April that year, Quisling had a chance to defend himself over the pepper affair in Parliament, but instead used the opportunity to attack the Labour and Communist
Communist Party of Norway
The Communist Party of Norway is a political party in Norway without parliamentary representation. It was formed in 1923, following a split in the Norwegian Labour Party. The party played an important role in the resistance to German occupation during the Second World War, and experienced a brief...

 parties, claiming that named members were criminals and "enemies of our fatherland and our people". Support for Quisling from right-wing elements in Norwegian society rocketed overnight, and 153 distinguished signatories called for Quisling's claims to be investigated. In the coming months, tens of thousands of Norwegians followed suit and Quisling's summer was full of speeches to packed political rallies. In Parliament, however, Quisling's speech was viewed as political suicide; not only was his evidence weak, but questions were raised as to why the information had not been handed over much sooner if the revolutionary threat were so serious.

Popular party leader

Over the course of 1932 and into 1933, Prytz's influence over Nordisk folkereisning i Norge weakened and lawyer Johan Bernhard Hjort assumed the leadership role. Hjort was keen to work with Quisling because of his new-found popularity, and they devised a new programme of right-wing policies including proscription of revolutionary parties including those funded by foreign bodies such as Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

, the suspension of the voting rights for people in receipt of social welfare, agricultural debt relief, and an audit of public finances. In 1932, during the Kullmann Affair
Olaf Kullmann
Olaf Bryn Kullmann was a Norwegian naval officer and peace activist.-Early life and career:He was born in Stord in the county of Hordaland, Norway. He was a son of vicar and school manager Jakob Kullmann and Ingeleiv Kristine Mæland...

, Quisling turned on the prime minister for questioning his hard-line stance over pacifist agitator Captain Olaf Kullmann
Olaf Kullmann
Olaf Bryn Kullmann was a Norwegian naval officer and peace activist.-Early life and career:He was born in Stord in the county of Hordaland, Norway. He was a son of vicar and school manager Jakob Kullmann and Ingeleiv Kristine Mæland...

. In a memorandum laying out his proposals for economic and social reform distributed to the entire cabinet, Quisling called for the prime minister to stand down. As the government began to collapse, Quisling's personal popularity reached new heights; he was referred to as "man of the year", and there were expectations of forthcoming electoral success.

Despite the new programme, some of Quisling's circle still favoured a cabinet coup. He later said he had even considered the use of force to overthrow the government but, in late February, it was the Liberal Party that brought them down. With the assistance of Hjort and Prytz, Nordisk folkereisning i Norge quickly became a political party, Nasjonal Samling (NS, literally "National Unity"), ready to contest the forthcoming October election. Quisling was mildly disappointed and would have preferred to head a national movement, not just one of seven political parties. Nasjonal Samling soon afterwards announced it would support candidates from other parties if they supported its key aim of "establishing a strong and stable national government independent of ordinary party politics". Although not an overnight success in the already crowded political spectrum, the party slowly gained support. With its Nazi-inspired belief in the central authority of a strong Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

, as well as its powerful propaganda elements, it gained support from many among the Oslo upper classes, and began to give the impression that "big money" lay behind it.

Increased support also materialised when the Bygdefolkets Krisehjelp (Norwegian Farmers' Aid Association) sought financial aid from Nasjonal Samling, who in turn gained political influence and a useful existing network of well-trained party officers. Quisling's party never managed a grand anti-socialist coalition, however, in part because of competition from the Conservative Party for right-wing votes. Though Quisling remained unable to demonstrate any skill as an orator, his reputation for scandal nonetheless ensured that the electorate were aware of Nasjonal Samlings existence. As a result, the party showed only moderate success in the October elections
Norwegian parliamentary election, 1933
-Results:- References :...

, with 27,850 votes—approximately two per cent of the national vote, and about three and a half per cent of the vote in constituencies where it fielded candidates. This made it the fifth largest party in Norway, out-polling the Communists but not the Conservative, Labour, Liberal or Agrarian parties, and failing to secure a single seat in Parliament.

Fører of a party in decline

After the underwhelming election results, Quisling's attitude to negotiation and compromise hardened. A final attempt to form a coalition of the right in March 1934 came to nothing, and from late 1933, Quisling's Nasjonal Samling began to carve out its own form of national socialism. Without a leader in Parliament, however, the party struggled to introduce the constitutional reform bill needed to achieve its lofty ambitions. When Quisling tried to introduce the bill directly, it was swiftly rejected, and the party went into decline. In the summer of 1935, headlines quoted Quisling telling opponents that "heads [would] roll" as soon as he achieved power. The threat damaged the image of his party irreparably, and over the following few months several high-ranking members resigned, including Kai Fjell
Kai Fjell
Kai Breder Fjell was a Norwegian painter, printmaker and scenographer.- Biography :Fjell was born on a farm in the village Skoger near Drammen, Norway. His father was the farmer and painter Conrad Bendiks Fjeld....

 and Quisling's brother Jørgen.

Quisling began to familiarise himself with the international fascist movement, attending the 1934 Montreux Fascist conference
1934 Montreux Fascist conference
The Fascist International Congress was a meeting held by deputies from a number of European Fascist organizations. The conference was held on 16–17 December 1934 in Montreux, Switzerland...

 in December. For his party, the association with Italian fascism
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 could not have come at a worse time, so soon after headlines of illegal Italian incursions into Abyssinia
Abyssinia Crisis
The Abyssinia Crisis was a diplomatic crisis during the interwar period originating in the "Walwal incident." This incident resulted from the ongoing conflict between the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Ethiopia...

. On his return trip from Montreux, he met Nazi ideologue and foreign policy theorist Alfred Rosenberg
Alfred Rosenberg
' was an early and intellectually influential member of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart; he later held several important posts in the Nazi government...

, and though he preferred to see his own policies as a synthesis of Italian fascism and German Nazism, by the time of the 1936 elections, Quisling had in part become the "Norwegian Hitler" that his opponents had long accused him of being. Part of this was due to his hardening anti-Semitic stance, associating Judaism with Marxism, liberalism and, increasingly, anything else he found objectionable, and part as a result of Nasjonal Samlings growing similarity to the German Nazi Party. Despite receiving an unexpected boost when the Norwegian government acceded to Soviet demands to arrest Leon Trotsky, the party's election campaign never gained momentum. Although Quisling sincerely believed he had the support of around 100,000 voters, and declared to his party that they would win an absolute minimum of ten seats, Nasjonal Samling managed to poll just 26,577, fewer than in 1933 when they had fielded candidates in only half the districts. Under this pressure, the party split in two, with Hjort leading the breakaway group; although fewer than fifty members left immediately, many more would drift away during 1937.

Dwindling party membership created many problems for Quisling, especially financial ones. For years he had been in financial difficulties and reliant on his inheritance, while increasing numbers of his paintings were found to be copies when he tried to sell them. Vidkun and his brother Arne sold one Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

 painting for just four thousand dollars, believing it to be a copy and not the fifty thousand dollar artwork they had once thought it to be, only to see it reclassified as an original and revalued at a hundred thousand dollars. In the difficult circumstances of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, even originals did not raise as much as Quisling had hoped. His disillusionment with Norwegian society was furthered by news of the planned constitutional reform
Constitution of Norway
The Constitution of Norway was first adopted on May 16, 1814 by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll , then signed and dated May 17...

 of 1938, which would extend the parliamentary term from three to four years with immediate effect, a move Quisling bitterly opposed.

Coming of war

In 1939 Quisling turned his attention towards Norway's preparations for the anticipated European war, which he believed involved a drastic increase in the country's defence spending to guarantee its neutrality. Meanwhile, Quisling's support for Hitler in a future conflict appeared to be growing. Despite condemning Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

, he sent the German leader a fiftieth birthday greeting thanking him for "saving Europe from Bolshevism and Jewish domination". In 1939, Quisling contended that, should an Anglo-Russian alliance make neutrality impossible, Norway would have "to go with Germany". Invited to the country in the summer of 1939, he began a tour which took in a number of German and Danish cities. In Germany he was received particularly well, with funds promised to boost Nasjonal Samlings standing in Norway and hence to spread pro-Nazi sentiment. When war broke out on 1 September, Quisling felt vindicated by both the event and the immediate superiority displayed by the German army. He remained outwardly confident that, despite its size, his party would soon become the centre of attention.

For the next nine months, Quisling continued to lead a party that was at best peripheral to Norwegian politics. He was nonetheless active, and in October 1939 he worked with Prytz on an ultimately unsuccessful plan for peace between Britain, France and Germany and their eventual participation in a new economic union. Quisling also mused on how Germany ought to go on the offensive against her then-ally the Soviet Union, and on 9 December travelled to Germany to present his multi-faceted plans. After impressing German officials, he won an audience with Hitler himself, scheduled for 14 December, whereupon he received firm advice from his contacts that the most useful thing he could do would be to ask for Hitler's help with a pro-German coup in Norway, which would allow the Germans to use Norway as a naval base. Thereafter official Norwegian neutrality would be maintained for as long as possible, and finally the country would be allowed to fall under German rather than British control. It is not clear how much Quisling himself understood about the tactical implications of such a move and he instead relied on his future Minister of Domestic Affairs Albert Hagelin
Albert Viljam Hagelin
Albert Viljam Hagelin was a Norwegian businessman and opera singer who became the Minister of Domestic Affairs in the Quisling regime, the puppet government headed by Vidkun Quisling during Germany's World War II occupation of Norway....

, who was fluent in German, to put the relevant arguments to German officials in Berlin during pre-meeting talks, even though Hagelin was prone to damaging exaggeration at times. Quisling and his German contacts almost certainly went away with different views as to whether or not they had agreed upon the necessity of a German invasion.

On 14 December 1939, Quisling met Hitler. The German leader promised to respond to any British invasion of Norway (Plan R 4
Plan R 4
Plan R 4 was the World War II British plan for an invasion of the neutral state of Norway in April 1940. Earlier the British had planned a similar intervention with France during the Winter War.-Background:...

), perhaps pre-emptively, with a German counter-invasion, but found Quisling's plans for both a Norwegian coup and an Anglo-German peace overly optimistic. Nonetheless, Quisling would still receive funds to bolster Nasjonal Samling. The two men met again four days later and afterwards Quisling wrote a memorandum in which he explicitly told Hitler that he did not consider himself a National Socialist. As German machinations continued, Quisling was intentionally kept in the dark; he was also incapacitated by a severe bout of illness, probably nephritis
Nephritis is inflammation of the nephrons in the kidneys. The word "nephritis" was imported from Latin, which took it from Greek: νεφρίτιδα. The word comes from the Greek νεφρός - nephro- meaning "of the kidney" and -itis meaning "inflammation"....

 in both kidneys, for which he refused hospitalisation. Although he returned to work on 13 March 1940, he remained ill for several weeks. In the meantime, the Altmark Incident
Altmark Incident
The Altmark Incident was a naval skirmish of World War II between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany, which happened on 16 February 1940. It took place in what were, at that time, neutral Norwegian waters...

 made sure that the German Supreme Command's planning for intervention in Norway continued apace. Hitler himself remained in two minds over whether an occupation of Norway should require an invitation from the Norwegian government. Finally, Quisling received his summons on 31 March, and reluctantly travelled to Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 to meet with Nazi intelligence officers who asked him for information on Norwegian defences and defence protocols. He returned to Norway on 6 April and, on 8 April, the British Operation Wilfred
Operation Wilfred
Operation Wilfred was a British naval operation during World War II that involved the mining of the channel between Norway and her offshore islands in order to prevent the transport of swedish iron ore through neutral Norwegian waters to be used to sustain the German war effort...

 commenced, bringing Norway into the war. With Allied forces in Norway, Quisling expected a characteristically swift German response.

German invasion and coup d'état

In the early hours of 9 April 1940, Germany invaded Norway
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

 by air and sea, intending to capture King Haakon VII
Haakon VII of Norway
Haakon VII , known as Prince Carl of Denmark until 1905, was the first king of Norway after the 1905 dissolution of the personal union with Sweden. He was a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg...

 and the government of Prime Minister Johan Nygaardsvold
Johan Nygaardsvold
Johan Nygaardsvold was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1935 to 1945 , as head of the cabinet Nygaardsvold.-Political career:...

. However, alert to the possibility of invasion, Conservative President of the Parliament C. J. Hambro arranged for their evacuation to Hamar
is a town and municipality in Hedmark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Hedmarken. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Hamar. The municipality of Hamar was separated from Vang as a town and municipality of its own in 1849...

 in the east of the country. The cruiser Blücher
German cruiser Blücher
Blücher was the second of five heavy cruisers of the German Kriegsmarine, built after the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles. Named for Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, the victor of the Battle of Waterloo, the ship was laid down in August 1936 and launched in...

, carrying most of the personnel intended to take over Norway's administration, was sunk by cannon fire and torpedoes from Oscarsborg Fortress
Oscarsborg Fortress
Oscarsborg Fortress is a coastal fortress in the Oslofjord, close to the small town of Drøbak. The fortress is situated on two small islets, and on the mainland to the west and east, in the fjord and was military territory until 2003 when it was made a publicly available resort island...

 in the Oslofjord
The Oslofjord is a bay in the south-east of Norway, stretching from an imaginary line between the Torbjørnskjær and Færder lighthouses and down to Langesund in the south to Oslo in the north....

. The Germans had expected the government to surrender and to have its replacement ready; neither happened although the invasion itself continued. After hours of discussion, Quisling and his German counterparts decided that an immediate coup was necessary, though this was not the preferred option of either Germany's ambassador Curt Bräuer
Curt Bräuer
Curt Bräuer was a German career diplomat.Born in Breslau, in what is modern-day Poland, Bräuer entered service in the German foreign ministry in 1920. At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Bräuer was posted at the German embassy in Paris. Later that year, Bräuer was named as envoy to...

 nor the German Foreign Ministry.

In the afternoon, Quisling was told by German liaison Hans Wilhelm Scheidt that should he set up a government it would have Hitler's personal approval. Quisling drew up a list of ministers and, although it had merely relocated some 50 kilometres (31.1 mi) to Elverum
is a town and municipality in Hedmark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Østerdalen. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Elverum...

, accused the legitimate government of having "fled". Meanwhile, the Germans occupied Oslo and at 17:30 Norwegian radio ceased broadcasting at the request of the occupying forces. With German support, at approximately 19:30, Quisling began his broadcast, proclaiming the formation of a new government and revoking an earlier order to mobilise against the Nazi invasion. He still lacked legitimacy, and two orders—one to a friend in the military (Colonel Hans S. Hiorth, the commanding officer of the army regiment at Elverum) to arrest the government and another to the Oslo chief of police
Kristian Welhaven
Kristian Welhaven was a Norwegian police officer. He was chief of police of Oslo for 27 years, from 1927 to 1954. He was a leading force in establishing an organized Norwegian intelligence service before World War II, and in re-establishing it after the war...

—were ignored. At 22:00 Quisling resumed broadcasting, repeating his earlier message and reading out a list of new ministers. Hitler lent his support as promised and recognised the new Norwegian government under Quisling within 24 hours. Norwegian batteries were still firing on the German invasion force, and at 03:00 on 10 April Quisling acceded to a German request to halt the resistance of the Bolærne
Bolærne is an archipelago in the outer part of Oslofjord, in the municipality Nøtterøy in Vestfold, Norway. The islands have a total land area of 2.6 km². The largest island, Midtre Bolærne, covers 1.1 km². The islands have been inhabited from the 16th century. There was a coastal...

 fortress. As a result of actions such as these it was claimed at the time that Quisling's seizure of power in a puppet government had been part of the German plan all along.

Quisling now reached the high-water mark of his political power. On 10 April, Bräuer travelled to Elverum where the legitimate Nygaardsvold government now sat. On Hitler's orders, he demanded that King Haakon appoint Quisling head of a new government, thereby securing a peaceful transition of power. Haakon refused and let it be known that he would sooner abdicate than appoint any government headed by Quisling. Hearing this, the government unanimously voted to support the king's stance, and urged the people to continue their resistance. With no popular support, Quisling was no longer of use to Hitler. Germany retracted her support for his rival government, preferring instead to build up its own independent governing commission. In this way, Quisling was manoeuvred out of power by Bräuer and a coalition of his former allies, including Hjort, who now saw him as a liability. Even his political allies, including Prytz, deserted him. In return, Hitler would write to Quisling thanking him for his good faith efforts, to prevent him from losing face (such that he could become a future Norwegian leader) and guaranteeing him some sort of position in the new government. The transfer of power on these terms was duly enacted on 15 April, with Hitler still confident that the Administrative Council
Administrative Council (Norway)
The Administrative Council was a council established by the Supreme Court to govern Norway. The council was established on 15 April 1940, replacing Quisling's First Cabinet, and sat until 25 September, when it was replaced by the Reichskommissariat Norwegen headed by Josef Terboven. The council...

 would receive the backing of the king. Quisling's domestic and international reputation both hit new lows, casting him as both a traitor and a failure.

Head of the government

Once the king had declared the German commission unlawful, it became clear that he would never be won over. An impatient Hitler appointed German Josef Terboven
Josef Terboven
Josef Antonius Heinrich Terboven was a Nazi leader, best known as the Reichskommissar during the German occupation of Norway.-Early life:...

 as the new Norwegian Reichskommissar
Reichskommissar , in German history, was an official gubernatorial title used for various public offices during the period of the German Empire and the Nazi Third Reich....

on 24 April, reporting directly to him. Despite Hitler's assurances, Terboven wanted to make sure that there would be no room in the government for Nasjonal Samling nor its leader Quisling, with whom he did not get on. Terboven eventually accepted a certain Nasjonal Samling presence in the government during June, but remained unconvinced about Quisling. As a result, on 25 June, Terboven forced Quisling to step down as leader of the Nasjonal Samling and take a temporary leave of absence in Germany. Quisling remained there until 20 August, with Rosenberg and Admiral Raeder
Erich Raeder
Erich Johann Albert Raeder was a naval leader in Germany before and during World War II. Raeder attained the highest possible naval rank—that of Großadmiral — in 1939, becoming the first person to hold that rank since Alfred von Tirpitz...

, whom he had met on his earlier visit to Berlin, as negotiators on his behalf. In the end he returned "in triumph", having won Hitler over in a meeting on 16 August. The
Reichskommissar would now have to accommodate Quisling as leader of the government, then allow him to both rebuild Nasjonal Samling and bring more of his men into the cabinet. Terboven complied and addressed the Norwegian people in a radio broadcast whereupon he asserted that Nasjonal Samling would be the only political party tolerated in the future.

As a result, by the end of 1940 the monarchy had been suspended although the Parliament of Norway and a body resembling a cabinet remained.
Nasjonal Samling, the only pro-German party, would be cultivated, but Terboven's Reichskommissariat would keep power in the meantime. Quisling would serve as acting prime minister and ten of the thirteen "cabinet" ministers were to come from his party. He set out on a programme of wiping out "the destructive principles of the French Revolution", including pluralism and parliamentary rule. This reached into local politics, whereby mayors who switched their allegiance to Nasjonal Samling were rewarded with much greater powers. Investments were made in heavily censored cultural programmes, though the press remained theoretically free. To bolster the survival chances of the Nordic genotype
The genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual usually with reference to a specific character under consideration...

, contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 was severely restricted. Quisling's party experienced a surge in membership to a little over 30,000, but despite his optimism it was never to pass the 40,000 mark.

On 5 December 1940, Quisling flew to Berlin for negotiations over the future of Norway. By the time he returned on 13 December, he had agreed to raise volunteers to fight with the German Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 (SS). In January, SS head Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 travelled to Norway to oversee preparations. Quisling clearly believed that if Norway supported Nazi Germany on the battlefield, there would be no reason for Germany to annex her. To this end, he opposed plans to have a German SS brigade loyal only to Hitler installed in Norway. In the process, he also toughened his attitude to the country harbouring the king-in-exile, Britain, which he no longer saw as a Nordic ally. Finally, Quisling aligned Norwegian policy on Jews with that of Germany, giving a speech in Frankfurt on 26 March 1941 in which he argued for compulsory exile, but warned against extermination
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

. In May, Quisling was shattered by the death of his mother Anna, as the pair had been particularly close. At the same time, the political crisis over Norwegian independence deepened with Quisling threatening Terboven with his resignation over the issue of finance. In the end, the Reichskommissar agreed to compromise on the issue, but Quisling had to concede on the SS issue: a brigade was formed, but as a branch of Nasjonal Samling.

Meanwhile, the government line hardened, with Communist Party leaders arrested and trade unionists intimidated. On 10 September 1941 Viggo Hansteen
Viggo Hansteen
Harald Viggo Hansteen was a Norwegian lawyer who was executed by the Nazis during the five-year Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany. -Biography:...

 and Rolf Wickstrøm
Rolf Wickstrøm
Rolf Wickstrøm was a Norwegian labour activist and a victim of the German occupation of Norway during World War II.-Biography:...

 were executed and many more imprisoned following the milk strike
Milk strike
The milk strike was a strike in Nazi occupied Oslo on 8 and 9 September 1941. It led to strong reprisals from the German occupiers, in the form of martial law, court-martial, mass arrests, two executions and several long-term jail sentences.-Start:...

 in Oslo. Hansteen's execution was later seen as a watershed moment, dividing the occupation into its more innocent and more deadly phases. The same year the state police, abolished in 1937, was reestablished to assist the Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 in Norway, and radio sets were confiscated across the country. Although these were Terboven's decisions, Quisling agreed with them and went on to denounce the government-in-exile as "traitors". As a result of the toughened stance, an informal "ice front" emerged, with Nasjonal Samling supporters ostracised from society. Quisling remained convinced this was an anti-German sentiment that would fade away once Berlin had handed power over to Nasjonal Samling. The only concessions he won in 1941, however, were having the heads of ministries promoted to official ministers of the government and independence for the party secretariat.

Finally, in January 1942, Terboven announced that the German administration would be wound down. Soon afterwards he told Quisling that Hitler had approved the transfer of power, scheduled for 30 January. Quisling remained doubtful it would happen since Germany and Norway were in the midst of complex peace negotiations that could not be completed until peace had been reached on the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

, while Terboven insisted that the Reichskommissariat would remain in power until such peace came about. Quisling could nevertheless be reasonably confident that his position within the party and with Berlin was unassailable, even if he was unpopular within Norway—something he was well aware of. After a slight postponement, an announcement was made on 1 February 1942, detailing how the cabinet had elected Quisling to the post of Minister-President
A minister-president is the head of government in a number of European countries or subnational governments, in which a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government prevails, who presides over the council of ministers...

 of the national government. The appointment was accompanied by a banquet, rallying and other celebrations by Nasjonal Samling members. In his first speech, Quisling committed the government to closer ties with Germany. The only change to the Constitution was the reinstatement of the ban on Jewish entry into Norway, which had been abolished in 1851.

Minister President

His new position gave Quisling a security of tenure he had not previously enjoyed, although the Reichskommissariat remained outside his control. A month later, in February 1942, Quisling made his first state visit to Berlin. Although it was a productive trip in which all of the key issues of Norwegian independence were discussed, Goebbels
Goebbels, alternatively Göbbels, is a common surname in the western areas of Germany. It is probably derived from the Old Low German word gibbler, meaning brewer...

 in particular remained unconvinced of Quisling's credentials, noting that it was "unlikely" he would "ever make a great statesman". Back at home, Quisling was now less concerned about Nasjonal Samlings membership and even wanted action to clean up the membership list, including purging it of drunkards. On 12 March, Norway officially became a one-party state. Gradually, criticism of, and resistance to, the party was criminalised, though Quisling expressed regret for having to take this step. He had genuinely hoped that every Norwegian would freely come around to accept his government.

This optimism was short-lived. In the course of the summer of 1942, Quisling lost any ability he may have had to sway public opinion, by attempting to force children into the Nasjonal Samlings Ungdomsfylking youth organisation. This was modelled on the Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

 and prompted a mass resignation of teachers from their professional body and churchmen from their posts, along with large-scale civil unrest. His attempted indictment of bishop Eivind Berggrav
Eivind Berggrav
Eivind Josef Berggrav was a Norwegian Lutheran bishop, primarily known as Primate of the Church of Norway and remembered for his unyielding resistance against the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II.-Background:Berggrav was born in Stavanger, Norway...

 proved similarly controversial, even amongst his German allies. Quisling now toughened his stance, telling Norwegians that they would have the new regime forced upon them "whether they like it or not". On 1 May, the German High Command noted that "organised resistance to Quisling has started", and Norway's peace talks with Germany stalled as a result. Furthermore, on 11 August, Hitler postponed any further peace negotiations until the war had ended. Quisling was admonished and learned that Norway would not get the independence he so greatly yearned for. As an added insult, for the first time he was forbidden to write letters directly to Hitler.

Quisling had earlier pushed for a corporate alternative to the Parliament of Norway (Storting), which he called a Riksting. It would comprise two chambers, the Næringsting (Economic Chamber) and Kulturting (Cultural Chamber). Now, in advance of Nasjonal Samlings eighth and last national convention on 25 September and becoming increasingly distrustful of professional bodies, he changed his mind. The Riksting became an advisory body while the Førerting (Fører Council) and parliamentary chambers were now to be independent bodies subordinate to their respective ministries. After the convention, support for Nasjonal Samling, and Quisling personally, ebbed away slowly but surely. Increased factionalism and personal losses, including the accidental death of fellow politician Gulbrand Lunde, were compounded by heavy handed German tactics, such as the shooting of ten well-known residents of Trøndelag
Trøndelag is the name of a geographical region in the central part of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag. The region is, together with Møre og Romsdal, part of a larger...

 and its environs in October 1942
Martial law in Trondheim in 1942
During the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, the occupying powers imposed martial law in Trondheim and surrounding areas effective October 6, 1942 through October 12, 1942. During this time, 34 Norwegians were murdered by extrajudicial execution...

. In addition, the
lex Eilifsen ex-post facto law of August 1943, which led to the first death sentence passed by the regime and was widely seen as a blatant violation of the Constitution, and a sign of Norway's increasing role in the Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

, would destroy everything the convention had achieved in terms of boosting party morale.
With government help and Quisling's personal engagement, Jews were registered in a German initiative of January 1942. On 26 October, German forces, with help from the Norwegian police, arrested 300 registered male Jews in Norway and sent them to concentration camps, most in Berg
Berg, Norway
Berg is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Skaland. The municipality faces the Atlantic Ocean on the west side of the island of Senja. The largest urban area in Berg is the village of Senjahopen...

 and manned by the Hird, the paramilitary wing of Nasjonal Samling. Over-65s were quickly released by the Norwegian government. Most controversially, the Jews' property was confiscated by the state. On 26 November, the detainees were suddenly deported, along with their families. Although this was an entirely German initiative—Quisling himself was left in the dark, though government assistance was provided—Quisling led the Norwegian public to believe that the first deportation of Jews, to camps in Poland, was his idea. A further 250 were deported in February 1943 and it remains unclear what the party's official position was on the eventual fate of the 759 Norwegian deportees. However, there is evidence to suggest that Quisling honestly believed the official line throughout 1943 and 1944, that they were awaiting repatriation to a new Jewish homeland
Madagascar Plan
The Madagascar Plan was a suggested policy of the Nazi government of Germany to relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar.-Origins:The evacuation of European Jews to the island of Madagascar was not a new concept...

. Meanwhile, Quisling believed that the only way he could win back Hitler's respect would be to raise volunteers for the now-faltering German war effort, and he committed Norway wholeheartedly to German plans to wage total war
Total war
Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

. For him at least, after the German defeat at Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 in February 1943, Norway now had a part to play in keeping the German empire strong. In April 1943 Quisling delivered a scathing speech attacking Germany's refusal to outline its plans for post-war Europe. When he put this to Hitler in person, the Nazi leader remained unmoved despite Norway's contributions to the war effort. Quisling felt betrayed over this postponement of Norwegian freedom, an attitude that only waned when Hitler eventually committed to a free post-war Norway in September 1943.

Quisling tired of the war during its last years. In 1942 he had passed 231 laws, but the annual total decreased to 166 in 1943 and 139 in 1944; social policy was the one area that received significant attention. He realised Germany faced eventual defeat, but public optimism remained obligatory, as was the case with all of Hitler's allies. By the autumn, Quisling and Mussert in Holland could be happy that they had at least survived. In 1944, the weight problems Quisling had been having during the preceding two years also eased. Despite all the defeatism, Nasjonal Samlings position, albeit with its ambiguous relationship to the Reichskommissariat, was unassailable. The Germans exerted increasing control over law and order in Norway, following their deportation of the Jews with deportation of Norwegian officers, and finally attempted to deport students from the University of Oslo
University of Oslo
The University of Oslo , formerly The Royal Frederick University , is the oldest and largest university in Norway, situated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The university was founded in 1811 and was modelled after the recently established University of Berlin...

. Even Hitler was incensed by the scale of the arrests. Quisling became entangled in a similar debacle in early 1944 when he forced compulsory military service on elements of the Hird, causing a number of members to resign to avoid being drafted.

On 20 January 1945, Quisling made what would be his final trip to visit Hitler. He promised Norwegian support in the final phase of the war if Germany agreed to a peace deal that would remove Norway's affairs from German intervention. This proposal grew out of a fear that as German forces retreated southwards through Norway, the occupation government would have to struggle to keep control in northern Norway. In the event, to the horror of the Quisling regime, the Nazis decided on a scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 policy in northern Norway, going so far as to shoot Norwegian civilians who refused to evacuate the region. The period was also marked by increasing civilian casualties from Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 air raids, and mounting resistance to the government
Norwegian resistance movement
The Norwegian resistance to the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany began after Operation Weserübung in 1940 and ended in 1945. It took several forms:...

 within occupied Norway. The meeting with the German leader proved unsuccessful and upon being asked to sign the execution order of thousands of Norwegian "saboteurs", Quisling refused, an act of defiance that so enraged Terboven, who was acting on Hitler's orders, that he stormed out of the negotiations. On recounting the events of the trip to a friend, Quisling broke down in tears, convinced that the Nazi refusal to sign a peace would preserve his reputation as a traitor.
Quisling spent the last months of the war trying to prevent Norwegian deaths in the showdown that was developing between German and Allied forces in Norway. The regime also worked for the safe repatriation of Norwegians held in German prisoner-of-war camp
Prisoner-of-war camp
A prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of combatants captured by their enemy in time of war, and is similar to an internment camp which is used for civilian populations. A prisoner of war is generally a soldier, sailor, or airman who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or...

s. Privately, Quisling had long accepted that National Socialism would be defeated, and Hitler's suicide on 1 May 1945 left him free to pursue publicly his chosen end-game, a naïve offer of a transition to a power-sharing government with the government-in-exile. On 7 May, Quisling ordered that the police should not offer armed resistance to the Allied advance, except in self-defence, even against overt members of the Norwegian resistance movement. The same day, Germany announced it would surrender unconditionally, making Quisling's position untenable. A realist, Quisling met military leaders of the resistance on the following day to discuss the manner in which he was to be arrested. Eventually, Quisling declared that whilst he did not want to be treated as a common criminal, he did not want preferential treatment compared to his Nasjonal Samling colleagues. He also argued that he could have kept his forces fighting until the end, but had chosen not to so as to avoid turning "Norway into a battlefield". Instead he had tried to ensure a peaceful transition and in return, the resistance offered full trials for all accused Nasjonal Samling members after the war and the leadership agreed he could be incarcerated in a house rather than a prison complex.

Arrest, trial and legacy

The civil leadership of the resistance, represented by lawyer Sven Arntzen
Sven Arntzen
Sven Arntzen was a Norwegian barrister. He was also the acting director general of the Norwegian Prosecuting Authority from 1945 ot 1946, and played an important role in the legal purge in Norway after World War II....

, demanded Quisling be treated like any other murder suspect and, on 9 May, Quisling and his ministers had no option but to turn themselves in to police. Quisling was transferred to a cell 12 in Møllergata 19
Møllergata 19
Møllergata 19 is an address in Oslo, Norway where the city's main police station and jail was located. The address gained notoriety during the German occupation from 1940 to 1945, when the Nazi security police kept its headquarters here...

, the main police station in Oslo. The cell was equipped with a tiny table, a sink, and a hole in the wall for a toilet bucket. After ten weeks being constantly watched to prevent suicide attempts in police custody, he was transferred to Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress or Akershus Castle is a medieval castle that was built to protect Oslo, the capital of Norway. It has also been used as a prison.- Construction :...

 and awaited trial as part of the legal purge
Legal purge in Norway after World War II
When the occupation of Norway ended in May 1945, several thousand Norwegians and foreign citizens were tried and convicted for various acts that the occupying powers sanctioned...

. Despite initially losing weight and suffering from polyneuritis, his strong constitution meant that he soon started working hard on his case with Henrik Bergh
Henrik Bergh
Henrik Arnold Thaulow Bergh was a Norwegian lawyer and politician, born in Oslo, a barrister at the Supreme Court of Norway. He is known for his defence of Vidkun Quisling during the trial for treason in 1945.-Further reading:...

, a lawyer with a good track record but largely unsympathetic, at least initially, to Quisling's plight. Bergh did, however, believe Quisling's testimony that he had tried to act in the best interests of Norway, and decided to use this as a starting point for the defence. Initially Quisling's charges related to the coup, including his revocation of the mobilisation order, to his time as Nasjonal Samling leader and to his actions as Minister President, such as assisting the enemy and illegally attempting to alter the constitution. Finally, he was accused of Eilifsen's murder. Whilst not contending the key facts, he denied all charges on the grounds that he had always worked for a free and prosperous Norway, and submitted a sixty page response. On 11 July, a further indictment was brought, adding a raft of new charges, including more murders, theft, embezzlement and, most worrying of all for Quisling, the charge of conspiring with Hitler over the 9 April occupation of Norway.
The trial opened on 20 August 1945. Quisling's defence rested on downplaying his unity with Germany and stressing that he had fought for total independence, something that seemed completely contrary to the recollections of many Norwegians. From that point on, wrote biographer Dahl, Quisling had to tread a "fine line between truth and falsehood", and emerged from it "an elusive and often pitiful figure". He misrepresented the truth on several occasions and the entirely truthful majority of his statements won him few advocates in the country at large, where he remained almost universally hated. In the later days of the trial Quisling's health suffered, largely as a result of the number of medical tests to which he was subjected, and his defence faltered. The prosecution's powerful final speech placed responsibility for the Final Solution being carried out in Norway at the feet of Quisling, using the testimony of German officials. The prosecutor Annæus Schjødt
Annæus Schjødt
Annæus Schjødt was a Norwegian lawyer. He is best known as the prosecutor of Vidkun Quisling.-Personal life:...

 called for the death penalty, using laws that had been introduced by the government-in-exile in October 1941 and January 1942.
Erudite speeches by both Bergh and Quisling himself could not change the outcome, and when the verdict was announced on 10 September, Quisling was convicted of all charges except a handful of minor ones. For the numerous crimes of which he was found guilty, he was sentenced to death. The death penalty itself was justified in particular largely on claims that his design for Norway was to have it at best "a vassal state under Germany". An October appeal to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Norway
The Supreme Court of Norway was established in 1815 on the basis of the Constitution of Norway's §88, prescribing an independent judiciary. It is located in Oslo and is Norway's highest court...

 was rejected. The court process was judged to be "a model of fairness" in a commentary by author Maynard Cohen. After giving testimony in a number of other trials of Nasjonal Samling members, Quisling was executed by firing squad
Execution by firing squad
Execution by firing squad, sometimes called fusillading , is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war.Execution by shooting is a fairly old practice...

 at Akershus Fortress at 02:40 on 24 October 1945. His last words before being shot were: "I'm convicted unfairly, and I die innocent". After his death his body was cremated, leaving the ashes to be interred in Fyresdal.

His widow Maria lived in Oslo until her death in 1980. They had no children; on her death she donated all their Russian antiques to a charitable fund that operates in Oslo to this day. For most of his later political career Quisling lived in a mansion on Bygdøy
Bygdøy or Bygdø is a peninsula on the western side of Oslo, Norway. Administratively, Bygdøy belongs to the borough of Frogner.Bygdøy has several museums, like the Kon-Tiki Museum, which shows all year long the legendary expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl; the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History ; the...

 in Oslo that he called "Gimle
In Norse mythology, Gimlé was a place where the survivors of Ragnarök were to live. It is mentioned in the Prose Edda and Völuspá and described as the most beautiful place on Earth, more beautiful than the Sun....

", after the place in Norse mythology
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

 where survivors of the great battle of Ragnarok
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is a series of future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures , the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water...

 were to live. The house, now called Villa Grande, is today a Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 museum. The Nasjonal Samling movement was completely wiped out as a political force in Norway, though Quisling himself has become one of the most written about Norwegians of all time.


How Quisling came across in public was often a product of who was recounting events. To his supporters, Quisling was regarded as a conscientious administrator of the highest order, knowledgeable and with an eye for detail. They believed that, balanced and gentle to a fault, he cared deeply about his people and maintained high moral standards throughout. To his opponents, Quisling was unstable and undisciplined, abrupt, even threatening. Quite possibly he was both, at ease among friends and under pressure when confronted with his political opponents, and generally shy and retiring with both. During formal dinners he often said nothing at all except for the occasional cascade of dramatic rhetoric. Indeed, he did not react well to pressure and would often let slip over-dramatic sentiments when put on the spot. Normally open to criticism, he was prone to assuming larger groups were conspiratorial.

Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung
Johan Galtung
Johan Galtung is a Norwegian sociologist and the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. He founded the Peace Research Institute Oslo in 1959, serving as its Director until 1970, and established the Journal of Peace Research in 1964...

 described Quisling as a mini-Hitler, with a CMT (chosenness-myth-trauma) complex, or alternatively megalo-paranoia, more often diagnosed in modern times as narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity...

. He was "well installed in his personality", but unable to gain a following among his own people as the population did not provide a mirror for Quisling's ideology; in short, he was "a dictator and a clown on the wrong stage with the wrong script". As quoted by Dahl, psychiatrist Professor Gabriel Langfelt stated that Quisling's ultimate goals "fitted the classic description of the paranoid
Paranoia [] is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself...

Megalomania is a psycho-pathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence. 'Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs'...

c more exactly than any other case [he had] ever encountered."

During his time in office, Quisling would rise early, often having completed several hours of work before arriving at the office at 9:30 to 10:00. He liked to intervene in virtually all government matters, reading all letters addressed to him or his chancellery personally and marking a surprising number as actionable. Party members did not receive preferential treatment. Although Quisling was independently minded and made several key decisions on the spot, unlike his German counterpart he liked to follow procedure and his government remained "a dignified and civilised" affair throughout. He rejected German racial supremacy
Master race
Master race was a phrase and concept originating in the slave-holding Southern US. The later phrase Herrenvolk , interpreted as 'master race', was a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic peoples, one of the branches of what in the late-19th and early-20th century was called the Aryan race,...

 and instead saw the Norwegian race as the progenitor of northern Europe, tracing his own family tree in his spare time. He did not, however, share in the wartime hardships of his fellow Norwegians, though many gifts went unused and he did not live extravagantly. He also took a personal interest in the administration of Fyresdal, where he was born.


As the son of a Church of Norway
Church of Norway
The Church of Norway is the state church of Norway, established after the Lutheran reformation in Denmark-Norway in 1536-1537 broke the ties to the Holy See. The church confesses the Lutheran Christian faith...

 pastor Quisling was brought up a Lutheran Christian, and became interested in religion and metaphysics, eventually building up a library that included the works of Spinoza and Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

, Hegel and Schopenhauer, although he appears to have had little time for more modern philosophers. Though he was only an amateur philosopher, he kept up with developments in the realm of quantum physics, and blended the two into a new religion he called Universism (or Universalism), loosely based on Christianity. His original writings stretched to a claimed two thousand pages on the topic. He borrowed the term Universism from a textbook on Chinese philosophy, and described how his philosophy "followed from the universal theory of relativity, of which the specific and general theories of relativity are special instances". Quisling wanted universism to be the official state religion of his new Norway.

His magnum opus
Magnum opus
Magnum opus , from the Latin meaning "great work", refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, or composer.-Related terms:Sometimes the term magnum opus is used to refer to simply "a great work" rather than "the...

was to be divided into four parts: an introduction; a description of mankind's apparent progression from individual to increasing complex consciousnesses; a section on his tenets of morality and law; and a final section on science, art, politics, history, race and religion. The conclusion was to be entitled "The World's Organic Classification and Organisation" but the work remained unfinished; generally Quisling worked on it little during his time in politics. Biographer Hans Fredrik Dahl describes this as "fortunate" since Quisling would "never have won recognition" as a philosopher.

During his trial and particularly after being sentenced, Quisling became interested once more in Universism. He saw the events of the war as part of the move towards the establishment of God's kingdom of earth, and justified his actions in those terms. During the first week of October he wrote a fifty-page document entitled Universistic Aphorisms, which represented "an almost ecstatic revelation of truth and the light to come, which bore the mark of nothing less than a prophet". The document was also notable for its attack on the materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

 of National Socialism and its rejection of the racism and anti-Semitism to which he had previously subscribed. In addition, he simultaneously worked on a sermon, "Eternal Justice", which reiterated his key beliefs, including reincarnation.

Quisling as a noun

During World War II, the word quisling became synonymous with traitor. The term was coined by the British newspaper The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

in its leader of 15 April 1940, entitled "Quislings everywhere." The editorial asserted,
To writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor... they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters. Aurally it contrives to suggest something at once slippery and tortuous.
The noun has survived and for a while during and after World War II, the back-formed
In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating a new lexeme, usually by removing actual or supposed affixes. The resulting neologism is called a back-formation, a term coined by James Murray in 1889...

verb to quisle (ˈkwɪzəl) was used. One who was quisling was in the act of committing treason.
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