In a World of Total War: Norway 1939-45


The research engages comparative and transnational perspectives and new methodological approaches. The aim is to free research from the traditional constraint of national perspectives and embrace new thematic areas.

The project is headed by UiT The Arctic University of Norway, in partnership with the Norwegian University of Technology and Science, the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and the Narvik Centre. The project is actively engaged in cooperation with scholars in the Nordic countries, Germany, Russia and the UK.

The vantage point for the project is the European far north, but without being restricted to that region. This is justified by the fact that the region entered forcefully into policy and strategy considerations of both great and small powers, and became more pivotal as the war alliances evolved. By 1942, issues related to that region dominated the agenda of the Norwegian government-in-exile. Another reason is that the German occupation of North Norway created an overwhelming asymmetry between the occupier and the multi-ethnic local population. The need for supplies to both the armed forces and industry caused a considerable boost to the economy. So did German armament efforts and the overwhelming presence of forced labourers. The fighting that took place during the Narvik Campaign in 1940, on the Litza front from 1941 and the Petsamo-Kirkenes Campaign 1944-45, by far exceeded anything that took place elsewhere in the country, both in scope and intensity.

In addition to a detailed plan for scholarly publications, the project participants will complete a comprehensive account of Norway and the Second World War for the general public based on the accomplishments of the present project and recent research. The first articles are now in the process of publication. The project will, moreover, offer teaching courses at BA and MA level for universities and colleges, and contribute towards integrating state-of-the-art research into the exhibitions and activities of the Narvik Centre.

 A further sub-project, "The Political Construction of King Haakon VII" has been secured by external funding. The project will seek to explain why and how the King so swiftly and vigorously became a national unifying symbol of resistance and freedom. Associate professor Carl Emil Vogt started a two-year engagement to complete a book in September last.

 As part of the dissemination efforts, project participants have given priority to lectures to the general public. Moreover, project members have organized open seminars, the first in early December 2017 in Stavanger, another one in Målselv in late September 2018. Both seminars were in held in cooperation with local institutions and scholars. It is an ambition to arrange two such annual seminars during the project period.

 The first international conference was held in Trondheim 26-28 June 2018. It will be followed by a publication next year.


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Last updated: 30.06.2022 13:09