October 24th, 2008 Headsman
On this date in 1945, eponymous Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling was shot at Oslo’s Akershus Fortress for high treason.
Just deserts for his efforts as chief of the fascist party Nasjonal Samling to aid the Nazi conquest of his home country. Quisling interrupted a radio broadcast on April 9, 1940 to proclaim himself Prime Minister* and order cooperation with invading Germans.
Although Quisling’s lack of popular support compromised his value even as a puppet, he remained as Minister President of Norway through the war — a crucial tool in Germany’s counter-encirclement jousting with Britain, nicely explained at the outset of Frank Capra’s American propaganda flick Why We Fight:
He enjoyed public regard commensurate with his station.
A 1944 cartoon in Sweden (which remained tenuously neutral and unoccupied during the war) indicates that Quisling had already made his name a byword for treachery. The caption reads:
“I am Quisling.”
“And the name?”
Norway had abolished capital punishment in 1905, but its government-in-exile reinstated it expressly for dealing with high-level collaborators.
Though Quisling himself may have deserved this and worse, the justice and legality of so doing has been controversial ever since.
The site of Quisling’s execution. Some other shots from his trial are in this 60-year Norwegian-language retrospective.
* Thought to be the first on-air putsch in history.
Also on this date
- 1690: An infanticide, a coiner, and a highwayman
- 1865: Paul Bogle
- 1922: Emil Schutte
- 1943: Leonard Siffleet, beach beheading
- 1415: Bardolph, Hal's friend
- Daily Double: Agincourt