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Norway in the Polish press in Great Britain during WWII

Paweł Jaworski

Abstract


The Polish press in exile’s interest in Norwegian affairs began when Germany attacked Denmark and Norway in April 1940, at which time Polish soldiers were sent to Narvik to participate in the Allies’ defence of the country. The battle of Narvik became a symbol of Polish-Norwegian solidarity and reactivated existing Polish traditions of identifying themselves with those fighting “for our freedom and yours” For a long time Norway was associated in Polish minds with the expedition to Narvik. The subject was frequently raised in the emigre Polish press and in separate publications during the course of the War. This interest in Norway was enhanced by a community spirit and a shared political aim: the defeat o f Germany and the liberation of the homeland. Therefore Polish journalists recorded all kinds of Norwegian propaganda in Britain, important statements made by the King, Haakon VII, and by the government in exile. Polish commentators also presented Norway as a victim of German aggression. Numerous articles described the conditions of every day life under German occupation; issues related to food shortages, the lack of basic articles as clothes and fuel were all repeatedly exposed. From the end of 1941 this media coverage presented its readers with a picture of a nation that was actively resisting occupation. The difficult question of Vidkun Quisling’s collaboration with the Germans was, however, dealt with separately by Polish publicists.

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