Order the spring issue here

The art of renewing an enemy image

Enemy or ally? The communist resistance movement in Norway
Forfatter: Frode Færøy
Forlag: Dreyer (Norge)
Both in Norway and among the allies there were forces that would have the communists stronger into the resistance struggle. But the later Labor Party leaders kept them out.

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

MODERN TIMES has chosen two different readings of the book on the history of communism in Norway.

Already in the title of the book a suspicion is ushered in: Enemy or ally? And after reading some pages in the first chapter, it becomes clear that the title points to attitudes in the bourgeois resistance movement in Norway. Could the Communists be considered allies, or could they be considered opponents? This is author and historian Frode Færøy's starting point and overall problem. Enemy or ally? is based on his thesis in history at the University of Oslo.

Conservatives please. In the book, Faroe Island, chapter by chapter, commutes between three different environments: the Oslo-based, consisting of Circuit and Milorg; London Government; and the Norwegian official authorities in Sweden. In addition to these three, the LO environment in Stockholm has been carefully studied. 

Through his meticulously referential tone, Færøy maps a red thread of attitudes to communists in the various environments. A great contradiction becomes apparent between the Social Democrats and other actors the author has studied: The Social Democrats, whether they were in Kretsen, Milorg, London or Stockholm, were negative to the Communists, a attitude they maintained throughout the war. These were all young labor party members who will be central to Gerhardsen's post-war government apparatus. (In the background, the father figure and still the leadership figure Martin Tranmæl also stroll.)

The British and Americans want to use the communist resistance movement for guerrilla operations in Norway. In both cases, Oscar Torp and Trygve Lie stop the initiatives.

In contrast, the Circuit's bourgeois representatives, the English allies in London, the British military command and British and American politicians, all of whom are far more positive to the Communists. The British want to use the communist resistance movement early in guerrilla operations in Norway, and eventually the Americans. In both cases, the ministers Oscar Torp and Trygve Lie are stopping
tiativene. In the circle is Halvard Lange, and before him, Einar Gerhardsen, who both warn strongly against closer cooperation with the communists.

The one-party state. In the autumn of 1942, Jens Christian Hauge became head of Milorg. Then it will be, once and for all, put an end to a long-expressed wish from NKP teams, which many allied representatives have long shared: that the party should have a place within the home front's leadership. The main picture in the Faroese dissertation is therefore that forces both in Norway and among the Allies saw the point in the Communists, by virtue of the size of their military and civilian resistance movement, being given a more central role within the home front. That which kept them out, was thus a young layer of social democratic leaders who after the war became leaders of what Jens Aarup Seip called "a one-party state".

Problematic method. Through its long book, the Faroe Islands make no attempt to add a clear narrator's voice. Instead, the referential journalistic method is cultivated, which allows the many actors within the Labor Party to have their views expressed through the chapters. Thus the author imitates an apparent objectivity. The book's suspicious title also covers the author's project – and the book's narrator's voice gradually merges with the statements of Halvard Lange and Jens Christian Hauge.

The story of critical attitudes towards Norwegian communists is never tested against what was the situation in other occupied parts of Europe. A comparison with the practice in countries such as France and Denmark could have raised the perspective significantly. In France, the leader of the French resistance movement, Charles de Gaulle, invited the communist resistance movement into close cooperation. Despite the fact that in most issues he was far to the right of the Norwegian Social Democrats, de Gaulle never became a staunch anti-communist, which had major consequences in France both for the end of the war and for the situation afterwards, during the Cold War. The French resistance movement appeared together in a large, nationwide operation when the Allied invasion launched in June 1944. In a large-scale operation, communist and bourgeois resistance groups revolted across the country. This is how a national union between communists and other bourgeois groups took place, which to a large extent also marked peace. A variant of this development also took place in Denmark.


Leather radicalism. There is a lot of research on the Norwegian labor movement that compares the NKP's development 1935–1947 with that which took place in other Western European communist parties in the same period. The common feature is that they switched to a reformist parliamentary line which, after each event, resulted in what became known as euro communism.

Despite the fact that in most questions he was far to the right of the Norwegian Social Democrats, Charles de Gaulle was never a staunch anti-communist.

Much has also been written critically about the development within Norwegian social democracy. Several significant votes have pointed out that Gerhardsen and his men from 1945 were responsible for a right-wing turn of the Labor Party. Yet they surrounded themselves with a kind of metaphysical radical identity, based on what they once constituted the new direction in the party that differed the material moisture meter shows you the old. Critical historians such as Harald Berntsen have revealed this as a skin radical; in reality, the norwegian social democracy took several steps to the right in that the new direction secured full control of the party from 1945.

Gunnar Knudsen is said to have said to King Haakon in 1914, when the latter tried to persuade the Norwegian Prime Minister to take Norway into the war on the English side: "You must learn to think more Norwegian, you think too much English!"

Microphone Stand Historians. Norwegian, consensus-oriented historians have unfortunately tended to print from the view that Norwegian foreign policy has always been directed towards England. From this it has been concluded that all paths lead to Norwegian NATO membership. The story from 1914 shows that placing Norwegian foreign policy under a foreign power was not as obvious to a nationally self-conscious prime minister. The Lund report made it clear that the persecution of Norwegian communists during the Cold War coincided with the fight against a left-wing party in the Labor Party. That the Norwegian NKP represented a Eurocommunist tendency that should have grown and flourished, and which could have represented a necessary correction to a Norwegian foreign policy where US loyalty became stronger, is a story that disappears when historians lend their microphones to overheated actors such as Hauge, Lie and Lange. Unfortunately, this book is no exception.

See about the same book here

You may also like