‘Hitler has missed the bus’ confidentially asserted Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. He spoke too soon. Within days, in April 1940, Germany invaded Norway and a defenceless Denmark, which surrendered within hours. Norway’s subjugation was a more prolonged affair. Although the capital, Oslo, and the southern towns were quickly overrun by German airborne forces, British and French troops were landed at Narvik and Trondheim in the north and briefly held their own against the invaders. Meanwhile the Royal Navy had sunk nine German destroyers. But the end was inevitable, the Anglo-French forces were withdrawn and Norway entered the long night of occupation. Politically, the fall of Norway resulted in Chamberlain’s downfall and his replacement by the elderly but still vigorous Winston Churchill, determined to carry the war through to a victorious conclusion whatever the odds.
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