Nasjonal Samling

Nasjonal Samling (Norwegian pronunciation: [nɑʂʊˈnɑːl ˈsɑmlɪŋ], NS; literally "National Rally") was a Norwegian far-right party active from 1933 to 1945. It was the only legal party of Norway from 1942 to 1945. It was founded by former minister of defence Vidkun Quisling and a group of supporters such as Johan Bernhard Hjort – who led the party's paramilitary wing (Hirden) for a short time before leaving the party in 1937 after various internal conflicts. The party celebrated its founding on 17 May, Norway's national holiday, but was founded on 13 May 1933.

Nasjonal Samling
Founder and leaderVidkun Quisling
Secretary GeneralRolf Jørgen Fuglesang
Founded13 May 1933
Dissolved8 May 1945
NewspaperFritt Folk
Youth wingNS Ungdomsfylking
Paramilitary wingHirden
Membership (1943)44,000
Fascist corporatism[5]
Norwegian nationalism
Political positionFar-right[6]
ReligionLutheranism (official)[7]
Colours     Red      Gold
SloganHeil og Sæl!
("Health and Happiness")[8]
Party flag
Flag of Nasjonal Samling

Pre-war politics

The party never gained direct political influence, but it made its mark on Norwegian politics nonetheless. Despite the fact that it never managed to get more than 2.5% of the vote and failed to elect even one candidate to the Storting, it became a factor by polarising the political scene.[12] The established parties in Norway viewed it as a Norwegian version of the German Nazis, and generally refused to cooperate with it in any way. Several of its marches and rallies before the war were either banned, or marred by violence when communists and socialists clashed with the Hird.

A significant trait of the party throughout its existence was a relatively high level of internal conflict. Antisemitism, anti-Masonry, and differing views on religion, as well as the party's association with the Nazis and Germany were hotly debated, and factioned the party. By the time the Second World War broke out, the party had been reduced to a political sect with hardly any real activity.

Strong belief in Norse Paganism, Romantic nationalism and totalitarianism dominated NS ideology. It also relied heavily on Nordic symbolism, using Vikings, pre-Christian religion and runes in its propaganda and speeches. It asserted that its symbol (shown at the head of this article), a golden sun cross on a red background (colours of the coat of arms of Norway), had been the symbol of St. Olaf, painted on his shield.[13]

During the German occupation

When Germany invaded Norway in April 1940, Quisling marched into the studios of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation studios in Oslo and made a radio broadcast proclaiming himself Prime Minister and ordering all anti-German resistance to end immediately. However, King Haakon VII, in unoccupied territory along with the legitimate government, let it be known he would abdicate rather than appoint any government headed by Quisling. The existing government refused to step down in Quisling's favour or serve under him, and confirmed that resistance was to be continued. With no popular support, the German forces of occupation quickly thrust Quisling aside. In April 1940 the party probably only had a few hundred members, but membership rose to 22,000 in December the same year, and peaked with 43,400 in November 1943.[14]

After a brief period with a civilian caretaker government (Administrasjonsrådet) appointed by the Supreme Court, the Germans took control through Reichskommissar Josef Terboven. He appointed a government responsible to himself, with most ministers from the ranks of Nasjonal Samling. However, the party leader, Quisling, was controversial in Norway as well as among the occupiers, and was denied a formal position until 1 February 1942, when he became "minister president" of the "national government". Other important ministers were Jonas Lie (also head of the Norwegian wing of the SS from 1941) as minister of police, Gulbrand Lunde as minister of "popular enlightenment and propaganda", and the opera singer Albert Viljam Hagelin, who was Minister of Home Affairs. The NS administration had a certain amount of autonomy in purely civilian matters, but it was in reality controlled by the Reichskommissar as "head of state", subordinate only to Adolf Hitler.


The post-war authorities proscribed the party and prosecuted its members as collaborators. Nearly 50,000 were brought to trial, approximately half of whom received prison sentences. The authorities executed Quisling for treason as well as a few other high-profile NS members, and prominent German officials in Norway, for war crimes. The sentences' lawfulness has been questioned, however, as Norway did not have capital punishment in peace-time, and the Norwegian constitution at the time stipulated that capital punishment for war crimes had to be carried out during actual wartime.

Another issue of post-war treatment has been the ongoing Hamsun debate in Norway. The internationally renowned author Knut Hamsun, although never a member, was a well-known NS sympathiser.[15] After the war, Hamsun was, however, deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, and the issue of his links to the party has never been properly resolved. Hamsun's status as a Nobel Prize laureate and probably the best-known Norwegian author next to Henrik Ibsen also results in his ties to NS being a touchy subject, as many feel the valuation of Hamsun's literature should not be marred by constant debate about whether or not he was a fascist.

Uniforms and insignia

From left to right: Party leadership uniforms, insignia, rank insignia, decorations, uniforms of leadership candidates, and of Germanske SS Norge.

Nasjonal Samling NS Aarbok 1944 s121 (uniformer) Politisk fører
Nasjonal Samling NS Aarbok 1944 s133 (uniformer) Partiets emblemer
NS Aarbok 1944 s135 Solkorset
Nasjonal Samling NS Aarbok 1944 s134 uniformer Utmerkelser
Nasjonal Samling NS Aarbok 1944 s127 (uniformer) Føreraspirant Germ. SS Norge

Parliamentary elections

Date Votes Seats Position Size
# % ± pp # ±
1933 27,850 2.2% + 2.2
0 / 169
Steady 5th
1936 26,577 1.8% + 1.8
0 / 169
Steady 6th


  1. ^ Garau, Salvatore (2015). Routledge (ed.). Fascism and Ideology: Italy, Britain, and Norway. p. 153.
  2. ^ Blinkhorn, Martin (2003). Routledge (ed.). Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe. p. 242.
  3. ^ Fladmark, J.M.; Heyerdahl, Thor (2015). Routledge (ed.). Heritage and Identity: Shaping the Nations of the North. p. 22.
  4. ^ Riff, Michael A. (1990). Manchester University Press (ed.). Dictionary of Modern Political Ideologies. p. 41.
  5. ^ Costa Pinto, Antonio. Fascism and Corporatism.
  6. ^ Killer personifies rise of new far-right.
    Financial Times. Authors - Robin Wigglesworth and Quentin Peel. Published 24 July 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  7. ^ Hassing, Arne (2014). University of Washington Press (ed.). Church Resistance to Nazism in Norway, 1940-1945. pp. 100–103.
  8. ^ Store norske leksikon: heil
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Tor Myklebost, They Came as Friends (1943), p. 43
  13. ^ John Randolph Angolia, David Littlejohn, C. M. Dodkins, Edged weaponry of the Third Reich (1974), p. 133
  14. ^ Pryser, Tore (25 September 2015). "Nasjonal Samling" (in Norwegian). Store norske leksikon.
  15. ^ Monika Žagar, Knut Hamsun: The Dark Side of Literary Brilliance (2009), p. 182

Further reading

  • Larsen, Stein Ugelvik. "Charisma from Below? The Quisling Case in Norway." Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 7#2 (2006): 235-244.
  • Larsen, Stein Ugelvik, "The Social Foundations of Norwegian Fascism 1933-1945: An Analysis of Membership Data" in Stein Ugelvik Larsen, Bernt Hagtvet, and Jan Petter Myklebust, eds. Who were the fascists: social roots of European fascism (Columbia University Press, 1980).
  • Hayes, Paul M. (1966). "Quisling's Political Ideas". Journal of Contemporary History. 1 (1): 145–157. doi:10.1177/002200946600100109. JSTOR 259653.
  • Hayes, Paul M. (1971). Quisling: the career and political ideas of Vidkun Quisling, 1887–1945. Newton Abbot, United Kingdom: David & Charles. OCLC 320725.
Albin Eines

Albin Konrad Eines (9 June 1886 – 19 May 1947) was a Norwegian newspaper editor and politician for the Labour and Communist Labour parties. He later became a Nazi, working for Norwegian and German Nazis during the Second World War.

Alf Whist

Alf Larsen Whist (6 August 1880 – 16 July 1962) was a Norwegian businessperson and politician for Nasjonal Samling.

Axel Heiberg Stang

Axel Heiberg Stang (February 21, 1904 – November 11, 1974) was a Norwegian landowner and forester who served as councillor of state in the Nasjonal Samling government of Vidkun Quisling, and later as minister.

Cally Monrad

Ragnhild Caroline Monrad (31 July 1879, Gran, Oppland – 23 February 1950) was a Norwegian singer, actress and poet. She was particularly known as a concert and opera singer. She was a member of the Nazi party Nasjonal Samling, and theatre director at Det Norske Teatret from 1942 to 1945, during the German occupation of Norway.

She was sentenced to one year imprisonment in 1947.

Einar Hoffstad

Einar Hoffstad (4 September 1894 – 25 July 1959) was a Norwegian encyclopedist, newspaper editor, writer and economist. He remains best known as the editor of the encyclopedia Merkantilt biografisk leksikon and the business periodical Farmand. Although initially a classic liberal, Hoffstad embraced fascism and collectivism at the beginning of the Second World War.

Finn Thrana

Finn Thrana (8 March 1915, Søndre Land – 21 January 2006) was a Norwegian barrister and civil servant for Nasjonal Samling.

He was a jurist by education, having graduated from the Royal Frederick University in 1938. From the same year he worked as a junior solicitor in Gjøvik. He was a member of Quisling's Fascist party Nasjonal Samling from 1934.In 1940, after the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany had started, Nasjonal Samling became the only legal party in Norway. In the autumn of 1940 Thrana negotiated for his party with the Norwegian Agrarian Association. In 1941 he was hired as assistant secretary in the Secretariat of the Government, and in 1942 he was promoted to secretary of the government. In this position, he had responsibility for the government's protocols, public announcements and job appointments. He also had responsibility for the office that reviewed pleas in criminal cases. From 1944 he was the Nasjonal Samling Führer in the county of Oppland. The German occupation ended on 8 May 1945, and Thrana promptly lost his position.

In the post-war legal purge in Norway, Thrana was sentenced to 15 years of penal labour. He was released on 1 August 1950.After the war he helped Vidkun Quisling, who was sentenced to death, write his will. He was also Maria Quisling's trustee after her death. In 1951 he was hired in the Norwegian Tax Administration, and in 1955 he opened his own lawyer's office which he operated until retiring at the age of 80. From 1966 he had access to work with Supreme Court cases, and worked in this field until his retirement.Thrana was also involved in "alternative" history writing about the Nazis in World War II. In 2001 he released the book Vi ville et land som var frelst og fritt. Med Nasjonal samling under okkupasjonen 1940–45. The book got an unfavourable review from Yngvar Ustvedt in Verdens Gang, who gave it a "dice throw" of 1 (worst). Historian Ole Kristian Grimnes regarded the book as a personal defence document, but added that one could benefit from reviewing the legal purge in Norway after World War II, which Thrana criticized, again. In late 2005 Thrana submitted parts of the Quisling archives to the National Archival Services of Norway. He died in January 2006.

Fritt Folk

Fritt Folk ("Free People") was a Norwegian newspaper, published in Oslo. It was the official organ of the fascist party Nasjonal Samling, and came to prominence during the Second World War.


Fronten (English: The Front) was a Norwegian newspaper.

It was published by national socialist Eugen Nielsen from 1932 to 1940. In the beginning, it was published biweekly, but gradually this became more sporadic. Nielsen's primary interest, which was reflected in the publications, was attacking freemasonry.Nielsen cooperated with the short-lived National Socialist Workers' Party of Norway (Norges Nasjonalsosialistiske Arbeiderparti), and was, therefore, critical to the rivalling national socialist party Nasjonal Samling. With Nasjonal Samling seizing power in Norway in the autumn of 1940, during the German occupation of Norway, Fronten eventually ceased to exist. Nielsen continued as an Anti-Masonry consultant for the Sicherheitsdienst.

Harald Damsleth

Harald Damsleth (August 16, 1906 – March 1, 1971) was a Norwegian cartoonist, illustrator and ad-man. He is best known for his posters for Nasjonal Samling (NS) during World War II.


Hirden (the hird) was a uniformed paramilitary organisation during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, modelled the same way as the German Sturmabteilungen.

Jens Hundseid

Jens Falentinsen Hundseid (6 May 1883 – 2 April 1965) was a Norwegian politician from the Agrarian Party. He was a member of the Norwegian parliament from 1924 to 1940 and Prime Minister of Norway from 1932 to 1933.

Hundseid felt forced to join Nasjonal Samling who supported the Nazis in 1940, a choice he later called "cowardly". In the legal purge in Norway following World War II he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Pardoned in 1949 he lived a recluse in Oslo until his death in 1965.

Johan Bernhard Hjort

Johan Bernhard Hjort (25 February 1895 – 24 February 1969) was a Norwegian supreme court lawyer. Having joined the law firm of Harald Nørregaard in 1932, he continued the firm after World War II as Advokatfirmaet Hjort, which today is one of Norway's leading law firms. Hjort was also noted for his involvement with the fascist party, Nasjonal Samling, in the 1930s, but left the party in 1937 and became an active member of the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II. He was imprisoned by the Nazis and is credited with saving the lives of many prisoners through his involvement with the White Buses. After World War II, he rose to become one of Norway's preeminent lawyers, and was noted for his defence of gay rights and controversial artists, as chairman of the Riksmålsforbundet language society, and as a liberal public figure.

Jonas Lie (government minister)

Jonas Lie (31 December 1899 – 11 May 1945) was a Norwegian councillor of state in the Nasjonal Samling government of Vidkun Quisling in 1940, then acting councillor of state 1940–1941, and Minister of Police between 1941 and 1945 in the new Quisling government. Lie was the grandson of the novelist Jonas Lie and the son of the writer Erik Lie.

NS Månedshefte

NS Månedshefte ('NS Monthly Pamphlet') was a Norwegian periodical.

It was published on a monthly basis from 1941 to 1945 by the national socialist party Nasjonal Samling (NS), which held power during the German occupation of Norway. It contained ideological topics and political commentary. It was edited by Gunnar Næss and later Einar Syvertsen.

Ole Michael Ludvigsen Selberg

Ole Michael Ludvigsen Selberg (7 October 1877 – 11 December 1950) was a Norwegian mathematician and educator. He was born in Flora. He was married to Anna Kristina Brigtsdatter Skeie, and the father of Sigmund, Arne, Henrik and Atle Selberg. His thesis from 1925 treated the theory of algebraic equations. Three of his sons became professors of mathematics, and one was professor of engineering. During the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany Selberg was a member of the Nazi party Nasjonal Samling. He is also known for his large collection of mathematics literature, which has later been donated to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Quisling regime

The Quisling regime or Quisling government are common names used to refer to the fascist collaborationist government led by Vidkun Quisling in German-occupied Norway during the Second World War. The official name of the regime from 1 February 1942 until its dissolution in May 1945 was Nasjonale regjering (English: National Government). Actual executive power was retained by the Reichskommissariat Norwegen, headed by Josef Terboven.

Given the use of the term quisling, the name Quisling regime can also be used as a derogatory term referring to political regimes perceived as treasonous puppet governments imposed by occupying foreign enemies.

Sverre Riisnæs

Sverre Parelius Riisnæs was a Norwegian jurist and public prosecutor who was born 6 November 1897 in Vik, Sogn county and died 21 June 1988 in Oslo. He was a member of the collaborationist government Nasjonal Samling in occupied Norway during World War II and a Standartenführer (Colonel) in the Schutzstaffel.

Thorstein Fretheim

Thorstein John Ohnstad Fretheim (10 May 1886 – 29 June 1971) was a Norwegian acting councillor of state in the NS government of Vidkun Quisling 1940–1941, and minister 1941–1945. Fretheim was a district veterinary by profession. In the post-war legal purges he was convicted of treason and sentenced to 20 years of forced labour, being pardoned in 1951.

Vidkun Quisling

Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling (; Norwegian: [ˈvɪdkʉn ˈkvɪslɪŋ] (listen); 18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945) was a Norwegian traitor, military officer and politician who nominally headed the government of Norway during the occupation of the country by Nazi Germany during World War II. He first came to international prominence as a close collaborator of explorer Fridtjof Nansen, organizing humanitarian relief during the Russian famine of 1921 in Povolzhye. He was posted as a Norwegian diplomat to the Soviet Union, and for some time also managed British diplomatic affairs there. He returned to Norway in 1929, and served as Minister of Defence in the governments of Peder Kolstad (1931–32) and Jens Hundseid (1932–33), representing the Farmers' Party.

In 1933, Quisling left the Farmers' Party and founded the fascist party Nasjonal Samling (National Union). Although he achieved some popularity after his attacks on the political left, his party failed to win any seats in the Storting and by 1940 it was still little more than peripheral. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he attempted to seize power in the world's first radio-broadcast coup d'état, but failed after the Germans refused to support his government. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Prime Minister of Norway, heading the Norwegian state administration jointly with the German civilian administrator Josef Terboven. His pro-Nazi puppet government, known as the Quisling regime, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling. The collaborationist government participated in Germany's genocidal Final Solution.

Quisling was put on trial during the legal purge in Norway after World War II. He was found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason against the Norwegian state, and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945. The word "quisling" became a byword for "collaborator" or "traitor" in several languages, reflecting the contempt with which Quisling's conduct has been regarded, both at the time and since his death.

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