Seventy years ago today, in the early hours of 9 April 1940, Germany attacked Norway and Denmark without a declaration of war.
While Denmark had little choice but to capitulate almost immediately, with the loss of sixteen lives, Norway chose to turn down the German ultimatum and continue fighting for two months before the King and government were left with no choice but to go into exile in Britain.
That this protracted campaign was possible was to a large extent due to the sinking of “Blücher” by the fortress of Oscarsborg, an action which delayed the German entry into Oslo and gave the authorities time to escape and take up the fight.
The situation in Denmark changed on 29 August 1943, when the policy of cooperation with the occupiers came to an end, a rupture which implied harsher conditions in that country as well.
Denmark was liberated in the evening of 4 May 1945 (officially the next day), while Norway remained under occupation for a few more days, until the unconditional German surrender on 8 May.
In Denmark, but not in Norway, flags are flown at half mast until noon every 9 April.