History: The King's No at Elverum Folk High School
April 9, 1940 stands as one of the darkest days in Norwegian history, and Elverum Folk High School had a central role in the days to come.
The escape from Oslo
Early in the morning of 9 April, a German representative, Curt Bräuer, approached the government in Oslo with a request that Norway give up any resistance to the German invasion. This was promptly rejected, even though it was pointed out that Denmark had already agreed to such a solution.
Instead, the government and the Storting, together with the royal family, were united into an escape route to the northeast. President of the Storting Carl J. Hambro had on his own initiative ordered an extra train for this. And after a dramatic stop at Lillestrøm, the train arrived in Hamar at 12 o'clock. At that time, the Festival was also invited to a Storting meeting. The royal family was placed on Sæhli farm east of Hamar center.
First Storting meeting…
… Was held at 12.30, then the various groups and committees had their own meetings where the king and crown prince were also involved. The evening meeting was set for 18.30 pm, and it was reported that German troops were heading north, allegedly in search of a king and leading politicians.
The meeting at Hamar ended quickly and again Hambro had been foresighted. Through county governor Nordanger, he had set up a new extra train to Elverum, where the Storting was to continue its evening meeting at Elverum Folk High School.
Dramatic end to the school year
The school was at this time filled with students. These had been gathered in the dining hall earlier in the afternoon, where principal Eirik Øveraas quickly told that the Storting and the government needed the school - both for further meetings and for accommodation. The students had to pack their things in a hurry, clean all the rooms and head home. The school year had a dramatic and busy end. Some cycled, others hitchhiked, and many spent a long time getting home.
In Hamar, the evening meeting thus came to an abrupt end, but it was announced that the meeting would continue in Elverum. Some of the representatives had difficulty getting on the train, and had to hitchhike or be driven east.
The royal family was driven - by appointment - to Gaarder farm where after an evening meal they again had to travel on. Here it was decided that the family should be divided. The Crown Princess and the children were driven to Nybergsund and on to Selen on the Swedish side, while King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav were driven to Nybergsund.
The Storting meeting at Folkehøgskolen
Eventually, most of the representatives arrived at Folkehøgskolen, and here were waiting rooms with made beds and a dining room ready - with white tablecloths on all tables - for dinner. This was something several of the representatives have later remarked, impressed. The Storting meeting was again held in the school's gymnasium. Here, several of the proposals from the hammer meeting were taken up for voting. The situation was clearly dramatic, and no one knew where and when the German troops heading north would strike.
The government had submitted its resignation application to Hamar, but King Haakon stepped in and said that, in this uncertain situation, he found it completely out of place with a change of government. This was in this context the king's first NO. At the meeting, the government was instead expanded with three new ministers from the other parties.
It had also become known that Quisling had already appointed a new coalition government with him as head. This probably strengthened the Norwegian representatives' willingness to oppose any attempt at an approach. And for King Haakon, it became an important argument for later regulations.
The river room power of attorney
This situation could not continue for the Storting and the government. In the evening meeting at Folkehøgskolen, one was therefore made dramatic decision which should have important consequences for the coming years. President of the Storting Hambro formulated the so-called "on a straight arm" «Elverumsfullmakten»:
"It is a given that once the Storting has adopted these important decisions, it is impossible for the Storting to lead an ambulatory life in this extremely uncertain time. It would therefore - it seems to me - be natural for the Storting to give the Government a general power of attorney - until the time comes when the presidency, in accordance with the Government, convenes the Storting to meet again, to take care of the kingdom's affairs, with the Storting's authority to make the necessary decisions and powers. .
After a number of exchanges and questions in the assembly, Hambro repeated the proposed power of attorney, and it was unanimously adopted. The significance of this power of attorney has been discussed in all years since 1945, but there is no doubt about its important significance for the king and government in all years abroad.
The Storting's meeting was adjourned and some representatives tried to find ways home, while others entered the Folkehøgskolen's student room, and still others - mainly government members - eventually tried to get to Nybergsund and Trysil.
While this had taken place at the Folk High School in Elverum, the German force in buses and cars had passed Hamar - and was now on its way to Elverum. What neither the Germans nor the Norwegian politicians were fully aware of was that Norwegian military crews had decided to stop any German advancing forces at Midtskogen farm.
Here, defense personnel from Terningmoen had gathered a number of soldiers and also some civilian shooting team members - a total of approx. 90 men - and established a barrier. During the evening there had been some civilian traffic to the east. After a certain time, all traffic was stopped, cars and buses were stopped and parked blocking in the road towards Midtskogen. Eventually there was a solid roadblock, and around the area by Midtskogen, shooting and weapon positions were set up.
It is said in retrospect that the Germans had been very surprised by the Norwegian resistance. The German groups on their way to take the King and Government were well-trained and heavily armed soldiers. At 02:XNUMX they arrived at the roadblocks west of Midtskogen. And here they were eventually met with sharp Norwegian shots. The skirmish lasted an hour, several German soldiers were wounded, but only a younger rifleman on the Norwegian side was hit - and later taken to hospital.
One of the German leaders, Spiller - was seriously injured, which together with the Norwegian resistance eventually caused the German group to withdraw, turn around and take the road west - and south towards Oslo again. Player was left at Hamar Hospital where he died during the morning.
Meeting between Bräuer and King Haakon on April 10 at Folkehøgskolen
Kurt Bräuer - the German representative who, by order of German leaders, had approached the government early in the day in Oslo - and received the government's no, had earlier in the evening made new contact with Foreign Minister Koht at the Folkehøgskolen.
The wish was to have a meeting with the Norwegian King. Koht contacted King Haakon in Trysil, and after consultation - mainly between the king and the crown prince, but also within the government, it was decided that the King could come south to Elverum and meet Bräuer at Folkehøgskolen the next day, April 10, at noon.
After a number of delays, the German representative arrived at Folkehøgskolen a couple of hours after the agreed time, where the King had had some contact with the Norwegian politicians who were still at the school.
Quisling as Minister
The king had a clear wish that Halvdan Koht should attend the meeting, and the elected negotiating delegation was also ready, but the German demanded to meet King Haakon alone. This was about to overthrow the whole meeting, but after a while the king agreed to a short solo meeting with the German, and Koht was to join.
Bräuer was instructed directly by Hitler to ask King Haakon to immediately appoint Quisling as Norwegian prime minister. The king later said that he immediately knew what he wanted to answer, but as a constitutional monarch he only had to say that he could not answer this without first talking to his government. There was an exchange of words back and forth, Koht had come to the meeting, and the solution was for Bräuer to get the king's answer over the phone later in the day, on his way south to Oslo. The agreement was in detail that he would stop at. 20.00:XNUMX at Eidsvoll station and there get the king's answer per. telephone.
Then King Haakon returned to Nybergsund where government members were waiting. Council of State was set and the King presented the German demands. The king made it very clear that he personally could not appoint Quisling as Norwegian prime minister - but that he understood the arguments for doing so. So if the government were to support this, he would first have to abdicate - step down as king.
After a short meeting, it became clear that the government members followed the king, and a phone message about "The King's NO" was first sent to Halvdan Koht, who was still at Folkehøgskolen, and he called by appointment to Eidsvoll Station and gave the German the king's answer.
"Then there will be war," the German is said to have said. "The war is all over," Koht is said to have replied.
And the next day, everyone in Elverum and Trysil got it confirmed.
Text: Terje Thronæs
Texts and comments on «The King's NO»
- Yearbook from Historielaget no. 18, page 164: PVN during the War. (TT)
- Yearbook from Historielaget no. 27, page 150: With the Elverum power of attorney in the back - King Haakon in London. (TT)
- Yearbook from Historielaget no. 28, page 91: Folkehøgskulen in wartime, by Hans Bredli, teacher at the school1931 - 46.
- Yearbook from Historielaget no. 28, page 97: The king's flight to the north - after the bombing of Elverum (TT)
- Anniversary booklet, school 75 years: page 41: April days 1940 (TT)
- The attack - https://annomuseum.no/angrepet
- The rejection - https://annomuseum.no/avslaget
- Revenge - https://annomuseum.no/hevnen
- The days after - https://annomuseum.no/kongens-fluktrute
- The reconstruction after World War II - https://innlandetfylke.no/nyheter-forsiden/elverum-opp-av-asken-jenreisingen-etter-2-verdenskrig.2.aspx
- Tale ved 75-årsmarkringen – https://www.frilyntfolkehogskole.no/sites/f/folkehogskolene.net/files/7c917781084511d0e6f5de01d49a700d.pdf
- Memorial service at Elverum - https://www.kongehuset.no/nyhet.html?tid=71672
- Elverumsfullmakten back to Elverum Folkehøgskole - https://www.stortinget.no/no/Hva-skjer-pa-Stortinget/Nyhetsarkiv/Hva-skjer-nyheter/2012-2013/Elverumsfullmakten-tilbake-til-Elverum/
- Elverumsfullmakten was given three hours "at home" - https://www.nrk.no/innlandet/i-kveld-kom-elverumsfullmakten-home-again-1.12302268
- Lokka kongen til Elverum - https://www.nrk.no/innlandet/lokka-kongen-til-elverum-1.5349561
- Pictures from the war in Hedmark - http://www.festningsverk.no/index.php/andre-verdenskrig/norge-1940-1945/hedmark-1940-1945
- Elverumsfullmakten came home - https://www.stortinget.no/no/Hva-skjer-pa-Stortinget/Nyhetsarkiv/Hva-skjer-nyheter/2014-2015/elverumsfullmakten-kom-hjem/
- The Germans are coming - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=20397
- The campaign against Norway - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=12073
- The King's clear after - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=12004
- The matches at Midtskogen - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=12003
- April 9 at Elverum - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=10375
- Quisling's coup - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=11994
- April 9, war breaks out - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=10372
- King Haakon speaks 26 August 1940 - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=18604
- King Haakon speaks 17 May 1945 - https://www.nrk.no/skole-deling/?mediaId=17340
- Glimpses from Elverum before 1940 - http://www.bjorstua.com/Gamle%20Elverum.html
- Norway's most historic rooms - https://www.nrk.no/innlandet/_-norges-mest-historiske-rom-1.12301724
- Olemic Thommessen's speech at Elverum Folkehøgskole 9 April 2015 - https://www.stortinget.no/no/Stortinget-og-demokratiet/Organene/Presidentskapet/013201/tale-pa-elverum-folkehogskule-9.-april/
- Norway during World War II - https://snl.no/Norge_under_andre_verdenskrig