Vidkun Quisling

See: Quisling (disambiguation) for how this word is used.

Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssn Quisling (July 18, 1887 - October 24, 1945) was a Norwegian fascist politician and officer. He held the office of Minister President of Norway from February 1942 to the end of World War II, while the elected social democratic cabinet of Johan Nygaardsvold was exiled in London. Quisling was tried for high treason and executed by firing squad after the war. His name has become an eponym for traitor.

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Vidkun Quisling

Quisling had a mixed and relatively successful background, having achieved the rank of major in the Norwegian army (some years before he had become the country's best ever war academy cadet upon graduation), and worked with Fridtjof Nansen in the Soviet Union during the famine in the 1920s, as well as having served as defense minister in the agrarian government 1931-1933. He was son of the Lutheran priest and well-known genealogist Jon Lauritz Qvisling and both of his parents belonged to some of the oldest and most distinguished families of Telemark.

On May 17, 1933, the Norwegian Constitution Day, Quisling and state attorney Johan Bernhard Hjort formed Nasjonal Samling ("National Unity"), the Norwegian fascist party. Nasjonal Samling had an anti-democratic, Fhrerprinzip-based political structure, and Quisling was to be the party's Frer (Norwegian: 'Leader', equivalent of the German 'Fhrer'), much like Adolf Hitler was for the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) in Germany. The party went on to have modest successes; in the election of 1933, four months after the party was formed, it garnered 27,850 votes, following support from the Norwegian Farmer's Aid Association, with which Quisling had connections from his time as a member of the Agrarian government. However, as the party line changed from a religiously rooted one to a more pro-German and anti-Semitic hardline policy from 1935 onwards, the support from the Church waned, and in the 1936 elections, the party got approximately 50,000 votes. The party became increasingly extremist, and party membership dwindled to an estimated 2000 members after the German invasion, but by 1945 it had 45,000 members.

When Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, Quisling became the first person in history to announce a coup d'etat during a news broadcast, declaring an ad-hoc government during the confusion of the invasion, hoping that the Germans would support it. The background for this action was the flight northwards of the King and the government. Quisling had visited Adolf Hitler in Germany the year before and was liked by Hitler, so Quisling's belief that the Germans would back his government was not entirely unfounded. However, Quisling had low popular support, and the Quisling government lasted only five days, after which Josef Terboven was installed as Reichskommissar, the highest official in Norway, reporting directly to Hitler. The relationship between Quisling and Terboven was tense, although Terboven, presumably seeing an advantage in having a Norwegian in a position of power to reduce resentment in the population, named Quisling to the post of Minister President in 1942, a position the self-appointed Frer assumed in 1943, on February 1.

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Vidkun Quisling stayed in power until he was arrested May 9, 1945, in a mansion on Bygdy in Oslo which he called Gimle after the place in Norse mythology where the survivors of Ragnarok were to live.

Quisling, along with two other Nasjonal Samling leaders, Albert Viljam Hagelin and Ragnar Skancke, were convicted for high treason and executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress. In later days these sentences have been controversial, since the capital punishment was reintroduced to the Norwegian legal system during the end of the war, by the exile government, to handle the post war trials.

Maria Vasilijevna, Quisling's Russian wife, lived in Oslo until her death in 1980. They had no children.

The term "Quisling" has become a synonym in some European languages, including English, for traitor, particularly one who collaborates with invaders. The term was coined by the British newspaper Daily Mail.


In Norwegian:

  • Dahl, Hans Fredrik (1991). "Quisling - En frer blir til." Oslo: Aschehoug. (BIBSYS (
  • Dahl, Hans Fredrik (1992). "Quisling - En frer for fall." Oslo: Aschehoug. (BIBSYS (
  • Borgen, Per Otto (1999). "Norges statsministre." Oslo: Aschehoug. (BIBSYS (

See also

da:Vidkun Quisling de:Vidkun Quisling eo:Vidkun QUISLING fi:Vidkun Quisling he:וידקון קוויזלינג ja:ヴィドクン・クヴィスリング ko:비드쿤 크비슬링 hu:Vidkun Quisling lb:Vidkun Quisling nn:Vidkun Quisling no:Vidkun Quisling pl:Vidkun Quisling sv:Vidkun Quisling


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