HBU does not know of any uniformed boys' youth groups, except the Boy Scouts, in Norway before the NAZI invasion of April 1940. The Norwegian Government in fact had banned the wearing of political uniforms in 1935 so political parties could not organize uniformed youth units. This changed almost over night after the German invasion when a a virtual riot of adult uniforms appeared. This was especially the case after Hitler officially asppointed Vidkun Quisling "Minister President". The Quisling and the NAZI occupation authorities organized a youth group and tried to recruit older boys for the war effort. Scouting was banned. Few Norwegian boys, but in 1941 Scouting and other youth groups were banned and all Norwegian boys had to join the Nasjonal Samling youth movement, the Umghird.
Norway along with Denmark were the first western European countries invaded and occupied by the NAZIs. As in all the other occupied countries, the Nazi power profited from the support of local sympathisers. In the 1930s, Vidkun Quisling founded the Nasjonal Samling (National Union), a Fascist party that received subsidies from Germany. The Nasjonal Samling (NS) had no real importance in Norwegian politics bedore the German invasion. Quisling, a former Minister of Defense, launched the NS in 1933 after Hitler rose to power in Germany--no coincidence. The NS had no appeal to Norwegians. The Party before the War never even won a local council seat--much less a seat in the national Parliament.
Quisling visited Hitler in Berlin during the winter of 1939-40 (after the occupation of Poland) and pointed out how valuable it would be for Germany to occupy his country. Norway was in fact, early in the War, of emense strtegic importance because with possession of Norway, the German U-boats could much more easily enter the Atlantic. This advantage was rendered moot, however, with the unexpected fall of France in June 1940. Contrary to public opinion, Quisling and the NS played no real role in the April 1940 NAZI invasion, although they were overjoyed by it.
Immediately after the invasion, on the morning of April 9, 1940, Quisling proclaimed himself the new head of the government and ordered the Norwegian armed forces to stop battling the Germans. But Quisling's intervention backfired and stimulated the resistance. Thus, the occupying power quickly realized that--for the time being--Quisling did not serve their interests and they chose to base their administration of the country on a certain
degree of give-and-take with the existing civilian authorities. The Germans eventually declared the Nasjonal Samling the only legal party. The Germans installed Quisling as prime minister ("Minister President") in 1942 and throughout the war he collaborated slavisly with the Nazis. Quisling became the archtype of a local collaborter, achieved the destinction of entering the English language as synnomanous with collaborator or traitor, especially someone who collaborates with the invaders of his country, especially by serving in a puppet government. Although the most notorious, perhaps because he was first, he was not the nost sinister or successful of the subsequent "quislings" that appeared throughout not NAZI-occupied Europe. Quisling was tried and executed after the war.
The Hitler Youth was a German youth movement. The NAZIs organized Hitler Youth units in some neigboring countries where there were Germans living or where there were 'acceptable' Aryan populatioms. Local children, however, ere not allowed to join these groups unless they at least one German parent. We are not sure if this occured in Norway. There do not seem ohave been many German kids. What happened in Norway and other northern Europen countries (Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France) was that Fascist political parties were allowed to form their own youth groups mimmiking the Hitler Youth. This did not occur in Luxembourg because it was annexed to the Reich. These groups with valuable genetic material were invited to participate in HJ summer camps in the Reich. Interestingly, this was notvthe case with the Italian Bailla. We have found no evidence of mixed cmping activitis either in Germny or Italy.
Scouting was popular in Norway before the war. It was a voluntary movement, but quite anumber if boys participated and were very enthusiastic about it. The NAZI occupation authorities in 1941 banned Scouting. There wa a lot of destruction of Scoting books and regalia. The SN and Hirden wanted to wipe out ll traces of Scouting.
The Nasjonal Samling (NS) youth unit was the Umghird. The Hird wasan ancient Norse word meaning the King's followers or liegemen. It was the gebneral term used for the Hirden, the NS equivalent of the NAZI Strom Troopers (SA). And just as the Hitler Youth began as a SA unit, thev Hirden youth group was the Umglird. Adult Hirden units were formed after the NS itself was founded (1933), but before the German invasion never amounted to more than a few hundred members. I'm not sure when the Umghird was founded, but membership in the NS was very small before the 1940 German invasion, so the Ughird would have had no real following before the War. In addition, the Norwegian Government in 1935 had banned the wearing of political party uniforms (1935). Like the Hitler Youth, the Umghird was divided into two units, the Guttehird (boys 10-14 years old) and the Umghird (boys 14-18 years old). As in the Hitler Youth, the primary function for the older boys was to prepare them for and funnel them into military units. This was particularly true of the Umghird as the organization only became a reality after the War had begun. The various NS youth organizations: the Umghird, Unghirdmarinen, Guttehird, and the corespinding girls' organizations (Gjentehird and Småhird) were known collectively as the NS Ungdomsfylking (the NS Youth Front). Participation was at first after the German invasion voluntary, but on March 1, 1941, all physically fit Norwegin children between the ages of 10 and 18 years were required to join. All other Norwegian youth organizations were at that time outlawed and their property seized by the state.
The Umghird in addition to the principal organization which would correspond to the Army, had two destinctive service braches and corresponding uniforms. I'm not sure at what ages Umghird boys could or were transferred to these units. This was based on yhe organization of the German Hitler Youth movement. The principal purpose was to funnel older boys into the different military services. Some 50,000 Norwegians served in the German military during World War II. The lagest number served in the Waffen-SS. How many came through the The Umghird we are not sure. We think the largest number may have come through the SN Hirden.
The Umghird uniform had a seasonal uniform. The Umghird had destinctive summer and winter uniforms, understandable given the harsh Norwegian winter. The summer uniform was a khaki shirt and dark blue shorts. Tholder boys wore a balck tie, the younger ones a green tie. The brassard, worn on the left arm was green with, for the Unghird a silver sun cross and silver swords on red, for the Guttehird the sun cross and swords were brown. Officers wore shoulder rank insignia whichwas identical to that of the Rikshird. Non-commissioned ranks, also wore on the shoulder straps, were green. The winter uniform was a dark blue "battle dress" type of tunic with dark blue ski trousers. Boys wore a dark blue forage cap with both the summer and winter uniform. The cap was worn with a metal NS eagle and sun cross.
Rikmenspoel, Marc and Jason Pipes. "Norwegian Volunteers in the German Wehrmacht in WWII," Eldgrau.com.
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