Church Resistance to Nazism in Norway, 1940-1945

Arne Hassing

  • Published: 2014
  • Subject Listing: Scandinavian Studies; History / European History
  • Bibliographic information: 424 pp., 13 illus., 1 map, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: New Directions in Scandinavian Studies
  • Contents

Church Resistance to Nazism in Norway, 1940-1945 examines the evolution of the Lutheran state Church of Norway in response to the German occupation. While German Protestant churches generally accepted Nazism and state incorporation, Norway's churches rejected both Nazism and ideological alignment. Arne Hassing moves through the history of the Church of Norway's relationship to the Nazi state, from its initial confused complicities to its open resistance and separation. He writes engagingly of the people at the center of this struggle and reflects on how the resistance affected the postwar church and state.
Arne Hassing is professor emeritus of religious studies at Northern Arizona University.

"Illuminative. Hassing's detailed analysis will undoubtedly be a major resource for future treatments of European church-state relations during the early twentieth century."
-John S. Conway, University of British Columbia
Map of the Church of Norway's dioceses in 1940

Part One Preludes
1. German Prelude 5
2. Norwegian Preludes

Part Two Invasion, Accommodation, Collaboration
3. Weserubung
4. Forging a Front

Part Three Resistance
5. In Defense of a Just State
6. The NS Church System
7. Against Nazification
8. In Defense of the Church
9. The Resignation of the Bishops
10. In Defense of the Young
11. Easter 1942

Part Four Contesting NS Legitimacy
12. Negotiations?
13. The Autonomous Church
14. The NS Church

Part Five Final Protests
15. In Defense of Jews
16. Against Compulsory Labor Service

Part Six Holding Out
17. Between the Times

Part Seven Liberation
18. The Reckoning
Epilogue: Legacies


"[A] very informative, exciting, and stimulating book about the resistance of the Church of Norway to Nazism during the German occupation 1940-1945....It is an important contribution."
-Torleiv Austad, Lutheran Quarterly

"Hassing's book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Norwegian Church during the Nazi occupation. One of the few books on this topic available in English, this book speaks to larger issues concerning the relationship between church and state, religious ethics, and resistance and should be of interest to a wide range of scholars of religious history, political history, the history of World War II and Norwegian history."
-Anna M. Peterson, Journal of Church and State

"Hassing's volume is an important contribution to the literature. . . . This book is a "must" for the library of anyone interested in the Lutheran Church, national politics during the Nazi era, twentieth-century Norwegian history, and church resistance in the face of adversity."
-Brenda L. Gaydosh, Historian, The

"Hassing weaves a compelling story. His account of the struggle that was waged to prevent the establishment of a youth organization modeled after the Hitler Youth is particularly striking."
-Patrick Bernhard, American Historical Review