The Scientech Club provides a forum for weekly presentations and discussions in the fields of science and technology and other topics for the enlightenment of its membership.
Regular, one-hour Meetings are, with the exception of holidays, held every Monday at noon at The Northside Knights of Columbus, 2100 East 71st Street, Indianapolis. Club Members, as well as the general public, may attend our Regular Meetings for a nominal contribution to pay for the facility. For those who wish, a buffet lunch may be enjoyed before the meeting. Occasionally, instead of a presentation, members and their guests may take a tour to a place of interest, such as a plant or historical site.
The Scientech Club is associated with two outstanding local charitable Foundations, established by Scientech members to promote science education: The D.J. Angus - Scientech Foundation and the R. B. Annis Educational Foundation.
The presenter has been a Scientech member since 2004 and is a regular traveler to Norway.
Bob has been a previous speaker at Scientech. Today’s presentation was based upon a tour/program
by the Norway Military Academy showing a history of Norway's invasion by Germany and its entry
and participation in WW II. Additional details regarding items that are more specific can be obtained
from the slide presentation that will be placed and maintained on the Scientech website.
Germany did not expect any resistance from Norway, but they were wrong. Seven invasion sites were utilized. Southern Norway fell early and then the central portion was occupied. The northern area lasted longer, until a full occupation was established.
Norway, with a 1940 population of about three million people, had been a neutral country for 126 years and remained so, even upon their 1905 separation from their union with Sweden which had originated in 1814. Since they were neutral, they did not anticipate an invasion.
The invasion in 1940 was strategic for Germany for several reasons. Primarily, a constant Swedish iron supply was of high military importance. Sweden also claimed neutrality and was located east of Norway. It was a good source of iron for Germany except in the winter season. Norway lies west of Sweden and the North Sea located on its west coast stays open to shipping in the harsh winter months, allowing iron to constantly flow from Sweden, across Norway by rail, to Germany by sea. The Baltic Sea on the east side of Sweden freezes over and iron shipments were generally halted by the winter ice. Germany also had a blockade in place for Sweden limiting its contact with the remainder of the world.
The second strategic reason for the German invasion was to obtain Heavy Water (liquid deuterium oxide) that was then thought to be vitally needed to moderate neutron activities, potentially allowing construction of an atomic bomb by Germany. Since 1917, Heavy Water was a waste by-product generated from a massive fertilizer plant located near a hydroelectric dam in Norway. Oil was a third strategic resource available from Norway.
The invasion of Norway was actually a surprise to the British. Britain was just starting to lay mines in the off shore sea-lanes when the German invasion of Norway started. The British mining was not successful. Poland and France helped to defend Norway at the onset. Several large gun emplacements existed in Norway, distributed over the land, but they had been permanently aimed at Sweden and were not able to be turned to defend ports from the sea invasions by the Germans.
The King of Norway and government officials escaped to Britain with Norway's gold reserves and ruled in exile from 1940 until the liberation of Norway in May of 1945.
Notes by Dick Carter