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Heroes and Villains: Resistance and Collaboration in Norwegian Memories of the Second World War

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Abstract. This article analyses the role of resistance and collaboration in Norwegian memories of the Second World War. Since the 1990s, scholars of memory have argued that a dominant patriotic memory gradually emerged in Norway after 1945. Though this article accepts this interpretation, it contends that memory scholars have oversimplified certain aspects of Norwegian memory, particularly with regards to military collaborators who served in the Waffen-SS. It is further argued that the patriotic memory was increasingly challenged from the 1960s onwards, with academic and non-academic historians devoting less attention to resistance, instead focusing on collaboration and other less memorable issues. There was also a tendency to adopt both a critical perspective of the “Home Front” and a more flattering approach to Nazi collaborators. Around the Millennium, the growing concern with Nazi crimes and the Holocaust affected the memory of resistance and collaboration. Whereas public discourse concerning the resistance movement centered increasingly on the latter’s alleged abandonment of the Jews, the approach to the SS volunteers grew more critical, shifting attention to the group’s relation to Nazi ideology and atrocities.

Keywords: Second World War, Norway, Patriotic Memory, Resistance, Collaboration, Waffen-SS.

For citation: Sørlie S. Heroes and Villains: Resistance and Collaboration in Norwegian Memories of the Second World War, in Novoe Proshloe / The New Past. 2021. No. 4. Pp. 174–195. DOI 10.18522/2500-3224-2021-4-174-195.

The article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).    

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