Norwegian invasion of Denmark in 1931

Dec 2017
262
Regnum Teutonicum
#1
Why exactly did Norway invade Denmark and annex the newly created provinces of Erik Raudes-Land and Fridtjof Nansen-Land? I know that Norway was forced from being in personal union with Denmark under personal union with Sweden after the Napolenic Wars and Denmark keeping norwegian posessions like Greenland, Iceland and the Faroese Islands. King Haakon VII of Norway was a dane, so why was he willing to risk a war with Denmark? Also weren't Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Bouvet Island and Peter I Island integrated into Norway during his reign? And the claims on Antarctica? So was it part of a more aggressive foreign policy of Norway?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,846
Portugal
#2
Why exactly did Norway invade Denmark and annex the newly created provinces of Erik Raudes-Land and Fridtjof Nansen-Land? I know that Norway was forced from being in personal union with Denmark under personal union with Sweden after the Napolenic Wars and Denmark keeping norwegian posessions like Greenland, Iceland and the Faroese Islands. King Haakon VII of Norway was a dane, so why was he willing to risk a war with Denmark? Also weren't Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Bouvet Island and Peter I Island integrated into Norway during his reign? And the claims on Antarctica? So was it part of a more aggressive foreign policy of Norway?
Thanks for this post. I must say that I didn’t knew about this events around Erik Raudes-Land and Fridtjof Nansen-Land and the tension between the two countries at the time.
 
Likes: Futurist
Nov 2018
160
Denmark
#3
At the peace in Kiel in 1814, the union between Denmark-Norway was dissolved, and Norway was united with Sweden. It was emphasized that this transfer did not include Greenland or other areas that were otherwise considered as Norwegian "tax countries" which means Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

However, from 1908, Norwegian seal hunting took place regularly on the East Greenland coast and in 1922; the telegraph station Myggbukta (Mosquito bay) was established.

Denmark was supposed to support Norway's demands on Svalbard during the Peace Conference in Paris 1919. In return for that, Norway did not oppose the Danish sovereignty in Greenland.
In 1920, Britain, France, Italy and Japan responded favorably to a Danish request for sovereignty throughout Greenland.

The Norwegian government later ran from its promise under the claim of violated Norwegian rights because of the Norwegian sealers and whalers who lived in East Greenland.

In 1924, Denmark and Norway entered into an agreement that Norwegian sealers and whalers still had permission to hunt in East Greenland and Denmark had reserved the right to set up a colony at Scoresbysund.

The Greenland Agreement left the issue of supremacy open. When Denmark announced a new expedition to East Greenland in 1930, the dispute over the area exacerbated.

On June 27, 1931, the hunter Hallvard Devold and five men occupied an area close to native Greenlandic settlements and called it "Eirik Raudes Land" after Erik the Red.

Only afterwards did he telegraph to Norway to tell about the occupation. The Norwegian government first took a distance. Nevertheless, on July 10, 1931, the parliament and a unanimous Norwegian government decided to support an annexation of the area.

A governor was appointed and in the period 1932-33 two ships with crew were sent to maintain law and order and two airplanes were sent there to map the area.

The Danish government summoned Norway for the International Court of Justice at The Hague 12 July 1931.

On April 5, 1933, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with 12 votes against 2, decided that the Norwegian occupation was illegal and that it was Denmark who had the sovereignty over the whole of Greenland.

Norway has not disputed this since, although Quisling tried to persuade the German occupation force to occupy Greenland, which they refused.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2017
262
Regnum Teutonicum
#4
But why exactly did Haakon VII support the annexation of territory of his former home country, where his father still governed? Do you know who voted for Norway (and which countries for Denmark?)?
As far as I know, the Hague did say that Denmark was right in all points except for one: if Denmark wanted to keep eastern Greenland not only in the short-term, they had to show presence there. And this is the reason why the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol of the danish military exists.
By the way, I red that the name of the norwegian governor in easter Greenland was called Helge Ingstad. Do you know, if it is the same Helge Ingstad, who discovered with his wife the viking settlement L'Anse aux Meadows?
 
Likes: Futurist
Nov 2018
160
Denmark
#5
The Norwegian monarchy is a constitutional monarchy and although the Norwegian constitution gave Haakon VII relatively much power, he wisely renounced using it, and I can't find any sources that show he personally was involved in the annexation of East Greenland.

In the first instance, the Norwegian Kolstad- government also refused to support Hallvard Devold. Moreover, it was only because of strong lobbying that the Parliament and the government supported Hallvard Devold.

The whole affair was so problematic for Norway, that Justice Minister Asbjørn Lindboe sought out a medium, in the hope that she could evoke the newly deceased Prime Minister Peder Kolstad's spirit. Lindboe wanted to ask the deceased for advice.

I cannot find anything about which judges voted for Denmark's demands only that the Norwegian and Italian judges voted for Norway.

And yes it is the same Helge Ingstad.

Helge Ingstad - Wikipedia
 
#6
Why exactly did Norway invade Denmark and annex the newly created provinces of Erik Raudes-Land and Fridtjof Nansen-Land? I know that Norway was forced from being in personal union with Denmark under personal union with Sweden after the Napolenic Wars and Denmark keeping norwegian posessions like Greenland, Iceland and the Faroese Islands. King Haakon VII of Norway was a dane, so why was he willing to risk a war with Denmark? Also weren't Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Bouvet Island and Peter I Island integrated into Norway during his reign? And the claims on Antarctica? So was it part of a more aggressive foreign policy of Norway?
Lol! “Risk a war”?! I think the risk of armed conflict was rather marginal at best.

We’re talking about a vast, icy wilderness with a handful of eskimos and not much else.

It was hardly something that made the Danes blood boil. (The major Danish settlements in Greenland were on the western part of Greenland).

And even IF it would have come to an armed conflict, it’s not like Denmark could do a whole lot.

In the early 30ies, the Great Depression had hit Danish exports to the UK, so an already small country with a tiny army and navy had few means as to settle the problem with arms.
 
Dec 2017
262
Regnum Teutonicum
#7
If you invade, occupy and annex a part of another country, even if it is a frozen wilderness without people, wouldn't you say that this does include the risk, that a war or armed conflict may break out? Especially in the 1930's?
Even if it wasn't prime news in Denmark, it seems to have made the danes blood boil enough, that they have a handful troops there even in the 21st century.
 
Nov 2018
160
Denmark
#8
It was not the Danes who wanted a war over East Greenland, it was nationalist circles in Norway who wanted Greenland back to Norway.
The Defense Minister at the time, Vidkun Quisling, who later founded the Norwegian Nazi party, even talked about the Norwegian fleet being able to be deployed if necessary. In the event of an escalation of the conflict, it could end with war.
Denmark then responded with a complaint to the International Court in Hague.
And the reason why the Sirius patrol is in East Greenland is literally to fly the Danish colours.
 
Oct 2015
890
Norway
#9
This was before Vidkun Quisling wasn't known as a right-wing nationalist at the time, it wasn't unitl 1933 he formed the nazi party NS, at the time he was somewhat known as a diplomat and officer. If I remember the biography about Quisling I read he was barely involved in the Greenland affair at all. The nationalist cirlcles never had any power to speak of before the Gernans invaded in 1940, no fascist party has ever been elected to Parliament in Norway. I don't think there was ever a real chance of war between Norway and Denmark back then.
 
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