Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Happens in Norway Stays in Norway

The Duel by John Lucaks.
Audiobook. Stupid last name for the author. I am only a few chapters in, so I will write briefly about my thoughts on the Norway campaign. I had learned earlier in a World War II class about the Soviets invading Finland and how disastrous that was for the Russians. But I did not realize how much it affected Hitler, Churchill and Chamberlain. Hitler looked at the war in Finland as evidence that Scandinavia was a crucial must for the war in Europe. Norway exported must needed steel and iron, so Hitler decided to blitz on up north. Churchill, who was not yet Prime Minister, but instead, in charge of the Admiralty, foresaw Hitler's move and countered it by pushing the Royal Navy in strategic ports and bays. Hitler proved to be much more genius that Churchill thought. The Germans began by invading Denmark, taking the capital and capturing the king. Next, they went to Norway, but in the dead of night and much further north than Churchill expected.
By chance, a man standing watch in one of the bays saw a shadow moving across the water. He shot an ancient canon from the previous world war in the direction and actually hit the German ship's artillery storage room. The flames made the ship visible and some torpedos finished the ship off. Thanks to this chance canon shot, the Norwegien king was notified and taken out of the capital and into safety.
Norway was still taken, however, from the northern ports that weren't considered. What is interesting is the reaction of the British people. By all accounts, Churchill was the one who schemed up the plan. Granted he needed Chamberlain's approval, but he was the shot caller. The fall of Norway, however, fell onto Chamberlain's shoulders. Instead of being blamed for his own blunder, Churchill was exhaulted as the anti-Chamberlain: the man who would actually stand up to Hitler. Churchill even tried to take the blame but no one would listen. Soon, that fat baby of a man would become Prime Minister in Great Britain's darkest hour.
Call me a jock, but this reminds of me of when a quarterback is not producing very good results and the fans demand the back up quarterback, even though it may not be the former's fault. It was probably a bad offensive line or poor receiving. Luckily, in the case of Great Britain in 1940, Winston Churchill lived up to his task and took on Hitler when no one else would.

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