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Hitler's Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940 [Kindle Edition]

Henrik O. Lunde
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book describes the often overlooked World War II campaign for Norway—a complex series of battles in which Hitler out-gambled Churchill in order to secure a vital resource lifeline for the Third Reich.

After Hitler conquered Poland and was still fine-tuning his plans against France, the British began to exert control of the coastline of neutral Norway, an action that threatened to cut off Germany’s iron-ore conduit to Sweden and outflank from the start its hegemony on the Continent. The Germans responded with a dizzying series of assaults, using every tool of modern warfare developed in the previous generation. Airlifted infantry, mountain troops and paratroopers were dispatched to the north, seizing Norwegian strongpoints while forestalling larger but more cumbersome Allied units.

The German navy also set sail, taking a brutal beating at the hands of Britannia, while ensuring with its sacrifice that key harbors could be held open for resupply. As dive-bombers soared overhead, small but elite German units traversed forbidding terrain to ambush Allied units trying to forge inland. At Narvik, some 6,000 German troops battled 20,000 French and British, until the Allies were finally forced to withdraw by the great disaster in France, which had then gotten underway.

Henrik Lunde, a native Norwegian and former U.S. Special Operations colonel, has written the most objective account to date of a campaign in which 20th-century military innovation found its first fertile playing field.

Editorial Reviews


"Lunde cuts a path to clarity... he masterfully illumines the significance of smaller, tactical events against larger, strategic outcomes... Unlike some studies of this contentious campaign, Lunde's absorbing, annotated account relentlessly mines and matches multiple international sources... Read this able account - and luxuriate in lessons learned. Robustly recommended." - David L. Veres,, November 2013.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3024 KB
  • Print Length: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate Publishing (November 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HW6AEW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,391 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Account of the Battle for Norway March 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a well written book describing Hitler's war or battle for Norway. Much of the WWII books, especially in America, cover in great detail the many battles during the war once America joined the Allies. It always is interesting to get a feel of history before the U.S entered the great war. This book does a very good job at describing the events and emotion of the war which was at this point only in Europe.

I was mildly surprised by the quality of the photos as they displayed on my Kindle. I would presume that they were originally all black and white. Maybe this makes a difference?
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of a little known campaign March 22, 2011
By Jetpack
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As the author correctly notes, usually the Norway campaign gets a few pages of mention. Well, with this very lengthy tome, you will learn tons about it.

The author does a wonderful job of describing the Norwegian government and the status of the Norwegian military. I especially appreciated the comparison of pre-WWII Norway to the more ready pre-WWI Norway military.

The Altmark incident is well explained, and quite interesting.

I've never understood the early Allied plans for Scandanavia, and it seems clear that the author doesn't understand what Chamberlain, Churchill and the French were thinking either. If they had provoked a war with the Soviet Union, or pushed Norway and Sweden into the Axis, it could have had terrible results for the British.

The maps are quite good for a Kindle edition.

In case you need more information, the Bibliography is quite extensive.

If you still need another reason, then the unfortunate Chamberlain speech in which he indicates that "Hitler missed the bus" should be all you need to know.

Get this now if you have any interest in WWII.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Objective and comprehensive March 21, 2011
By meik1
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a great guide if you wamt to learn more about this war. A different perspective if the war, with many pictures, maps, guides, charts, and more. The best part of the kindle edition is that you can search it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For Military Buffs Only April 26, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a military buff but found this book boring and lacking any drama.
It is very technical but lacks any human element. We never get any feeling of the personalities involved in any of the characters so it is difficult to be involved in the book.
Does the author really have to identify platoon movements? He could have interviewed or researched soldiers on how it was to actually fight in such difficult conditions.
If you like your military history with maps,strategy,and statistics you will enjoy this book. If you like the human element and a sense of perspective then this book is not for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting, but very detailed -- perhaps too detailed -- book about a World War II campaign that is often relegated to a few paragraphs in history books.

I have Norwegian heritage and had been meaning to learn more on this subject, but "Hitler's Pre-Emptive War: The Battle For Norway, 1940" by Henrik O. Lunde jumped to the top of my To Read List after reading the interesting novel "The Redbreast" by Jo Nesbo, which is set in Norway and has many references to the German occupation and its affect on the Norwegian people.

There are many reasons to study the Battle of Norway, not the least of which is that it was the first time in the war that the Germans and Allies faced each other in battle. To say the Allies came off the worst in nearly every facet of warfare is an understatement, but the hard lessons learned about command and control, coalition-building, logistics, small unit tactics and airpower would be vital to successes farther down the road.

Unfortunately for the Allies, the German attack on France occurred at nearly the same time, which meant two straight stunning losses to start the war. The losses in France directly resulted in the eventual fall of Norway as the British and French decided to cut and run, ending a campaign they may have won had they exhibited better judgment and strategic acumen.

This is primarily a military history, so the political situation receives scant mention. The pre-battle role and later assumption of power by Quisling, the Norwegian fascist whose name became as synonymous with "traitor" as Benedict Arnold's, is briefly discussed. There are many references to the post-war tribunals and soul-searching conducted by the Norwegian people, which is also touched on in Nesbo's novel "The Redbreast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unprepared to Fight & Needs Better Maps May 26, 2012
Lunde's book is a very good military analysis of a little known campaign undone by poor maps. I never did find the map referenced multiple times on page xxx because it did not exist in my hardcover book. Even using Google Earth, I found it difficult to follow the action's in the Narvik region. The good parts of the book are in showing Norwegian unpreparedness for war, muddled leadership by all the Allied forces involved, and a lack of unified command dooming the defenders. Although the theme of Lunde's work is the Norwegian campaign, his focus is on the actions around Narvik. It was not a foregone conclusion that the German invasion would succeed, particularly their quick strike at Narvik to seize the railroad line to Sweden over which critical iron ore flowed to Germany. Lunde does lay out the blame where it is deserved and there is much to go around. Norwegian neglect of the military before the invasion, lack of energy at senior levels to clear indicators that either the Germans or British would invade. The incredibly unsychronized British and French military response once the Norwegians requested military assistance. In some respects this book reads like a tragic comedy or errors. Units surrendered before firing a shot, constant falling back without enemy pressure, failure to maintain contact with the enemy, mistrust (much deserved) between the allies, particularly the British and Norwegians. The Germans just made fewer mistakes, had a more unified command, did not lose nerve and executed the campaign with urgency. So read this book with a good map of Norway, particulary of the Narvik area. Be prepared for a narrative going down to battalion, company and platoon level, because that was the scale this campaign was fought at. Read more ›
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