Kampf um Norwegen (1940)

We Swedes are mainly envious of Norwegians for two reasons. One is their oil. The other is the obvious pride and joy that they show every May 17th, their National Day.

The reason, of course, why they celebrate with so much more abandon than we will when our turn comes in a couple of weeks, is that they had to fight for their freedom. Sweden has been more or less independent for the past 1000 years or so, and we have not even been at war since 1814, when we forced Norway into the so-called union between the two countries. The Norwegians only gained independence from Sweden in 1905.

And even then, their troubles were not over. In April 1940, Germany attacked with no previous provocation. After a short campaign, Norway had to surrender after two months and remained occupied until the end of the war in 1945.

One of the nice things about the Internet Archive is that it is not restricted to American films. Thus, while the World War II propaganda has a large predominance of American and Allied material, you can also find a good share of the Nazi perspective. One such German propaganda film is Kampf um Norwegen, which tells the German story of the campaign against Norway. The film has an interesting history. For some reason, it was never released in Germany and was believed lost until a copy turned up at an Internet auction in 2005.

Kampf um Norwegen (1940)

As a historical document, the film is of course as questionable as any war-time propaganda. The events shown are basically truthful, as far as I can tell with my limited knowledge about the invasion, but everything is told from the German point of view and giving German reasons for the events.

Even so, the film is still very significant today, for at least two reasons. One is that it contains unique photography from the war, much of it dramatic. The other is that it may serve to broaden our perspective not so much of the conflict in question but of propaganda in general. Even though this film is light when compared with other war-time propaganda, I nevertheless believe that it can teach us a number of valuable lessons.

The film is entirely in German and there are no subtitles. But even if you do not understand German, it should be relatively easy to understand what is going on by looking at the pictures. The documentary film sequences are also interrupted by excellent map animations showing troop movements, and which will facilitate comprehension a good deal.

It is possible that this film is best enjoyed when seen together with its American counterpart, Divide and Conquer, Part I (1943), which is actually worse in terms of propagandistic content.

Kampf um Norwegen (1940)

Kampf um Norwegen
Download link
Year: 1940
Language: German (no subtitles)
Running time: 1 h 21 min
Directors: Martin Rikli, Werner Buhre
Image quality: Good
Resolution: Medium (704×512)
Sound quality: Good
Best file format: Cinepack (1.5 G)

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