Iron, Norway, the fall of Neville Chamberlain, and synchronicity

At a restaurant in my neighborhood yesterday, a friend and I were discussing Lynne Olson’s marvelous book, Troublesome Young Men. Olson tells the largely unknown story of the heroic Tory dissidents who risked their careers to bring down the vain, vengeful, dictatorial appeaser Neville Chamberlain (who continued to appease Germany even after Britain declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939), and replace him with Winston Churchill, thus saving Britain and Western civilization. I was telling my friend how the immediate cause of Chamberlain’s fall, on May 10, 1940, was his government’s disastrous conduct of the failed Norway campaign aimed at preventing the German conquest of Norway, which began on April 9, 1940, simultaneously with the German conquest of Denmark, which took twelve hours.

We then left the restaurant and walked around the neighborhood, looking at the bronze statue of Memory in Straus Park and the wonderful Beaux Arts apartment buildings along Riverside Drive and West End Avenue with their iron grill work. We got into a conversation about the Bronze Age and the Iron Age and the differences between iron and bronze: why did the Iron Age succeed the Bronze Age; which metal or alloy was stronger for military purposes; which was cheaper to make; and so on.

Today I went back to the same restaurant for a solitary afternoon meal, then sat on the Broadway island reading the chapter of Troublesome Young Men (which I had previously skipped) about Hitler’s invasion of Norway. I found out why he invaded Norway, which I never knew before. The Germans had been transporting iron ore from Sweden to Germany via Norway’s coastal waters, and the English had been attacking those iron ore shipments. So, in order to secure the iron ore he needed for his military machine, Hitler invaded Norway.

To simplify this long story: my friend and I had a conversation about the Norway campaign; then we had a totally unrelated conversation about iron; then I found out the next day that the reason for the Norway campaign was a struggle over iron.

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LA writes:

The above-linked entry about the statue of Memory (here it is again) analyzes in detail another synchonicity experience, and also (by synchronicity) touches on the feminist degradation of men.

Peter F. writes:

I am a historian of many years experience, specialized in the study of World War Two. My late father served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters as an enlisted man and non-commissioned (petty) officer of the U.S. Navy; my mother—now 84—is Danish by birth and survived the Nazi occupation of her homeland. All of her brothers (she was the youngest of six children, of whom three were male) and her father were in the Underground, as were some (now elderly) Danish friends of our family who now reside in the U.S. So, I was exposed to the memories of that time at a very young age—hence my interest in history.

Even today, Danes and Norwegians of a certain age resent their Swedish counterparts a bit for remaining neutral during the war. There is still a chip on the shoulder, you might say. My mother spoke often of the “Heroes of Telemark,” the brave Norwegian Special Operations Executive (SOE) commandos who destroyed the Norsk Hydro heavy water plant at Ryuken, Telemark in 1943—thus crippling the German atomic bomb program.

The Norwegians of that time were a different breed than those of today, who cringe before the Muslims invited into their nation. Recently, police statistics for Oslo disclosed that one hundred percent of rape-assaults (Norway’s law distinguishes between date rape and assault-type rape) for the last year were committed by Islamic “immigrants.” Yet, these marauders are still invited into Norway! The Norwegians have become Eloi, have they not?

For the Danish part, perhaps the most famous resistance operation of the war was the RAF low-level bombing raid on Shell House, then the Gestapo HQ for Copenhagen, in March, 1945. The raid freed many captured resistance members when bombs skipped into the lobby and lower floors blasted open the doors of cell blocks in the upper floors, where most of the important Danish prisoners were being held. However, the success came at a terrible cost when a Royal Air Force Mosquito bomber was hit and crashed into a near-by Catholic school, killing many children.

If this period interests you, there is a very good, though somewhat obscure, book called “The Sixth Floor” by Robin Reilly (1969). The next-most famous would be the operation to smuggle physicist Niels Bohr out of Denmark and to England, thence to the United States where he would work on the Manhattan Project. That, too, was the work of the British SOE [?].

The Danes face many of the same problems with Muslims that the Norwegians do, but seem to have a bit more of a spine in dealing with them. Perhaps that is my “Danish pride” talking, but I hope not….

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 21, 2012 06:55 PM | Send

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