HITLER’S DIRECTIVE FOR THE OCCUPATION OF DENMARK AND NORWAY, MARCH 1, 1940
The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
Berlin, 1 March 1940
By Officer only
DIRECTIVE FOR “FALL WESERUEBUNG”
1. The development of the Situation in Scandinavia required the making of all preparations for the occupation of Denmark and Norway by a part of the German Armed Forces (“Fall Weseruebung”). This operation should prevent British encroachment on Scandinavia and the Baltic; further it should guarantee our ore base in Sweden and give our Navy and Air Force a wider start line against Britain. The part which the Navy and the Air Force will nave to play, within the limits of their capabilities, is to protect the operation against the interference of British naval and air striking forces.
In view of our military and political power in comparison with that of the Scandinavian States, the force to be employed in the Fall Weseruebung will be kept as small as possible. The numerical weakness will be balanced by daring actions and surprise execution. On principle, we will do our utmost to make the operation appear as a peaceful occupation, the object of which is the military protection of the neutrality of the Scandinavian States. Corresponding demands will be transmitted to the Governments at the beginning of the occupation. If necessary, demonstrations by the Navy and Air Force, will provide the necessary emphasis. If, in spite of this, resistance should be met with, all military means will be used to crush it.
2. I put in charge of the preparations and the conduct of the operation against Denmark and Norway the Commanding General of the XXI Army Corps, General d. I. [der Infanterie-of the Infantry] v. Falkenhorst (Commander of “Group XXI”).
In questions of the conduct of operations the above-named is directly under my orders. The Staff is to be completed from all the three branches of the Armed Forces.
The force which will be selected for the purpose of Fall Weseruebung will be under separate command. They will not be allocated for other operational theatres.
The part of the Air Force detailed for the purpose of the Weseruebung will be tactically under the orders of Group XXI. After the completion of their task they revert to the command of Ob. d. L. [Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force].
The employment of the forces which are under direct Naval and Air Force command will take place in agreement with the Commander of Group XXI.
The administration and supply of the forces posted to Group XXI will be ensured by the branches of the Armed Forces themselves according to the demands of the Commander.
3. The crossing of the Danish border and the landings in Norway must take place simultaneously. I emphasize that the operations must be prepared as quickly as possible. In case the enemy seizes the initiative against Norway, we must be able to apply immediately our own countermeasures.
It is most important that the Scandinavian States as well as the Western opponents should be taken by surprise by our measures. All preparations, particularly those of transport and of readiness, drafting and embarkation of the troops, must be made with this factor in mind.
In case the preparations for embarkation can no longer be kept secret, the leaders and the troops will be deceived with fictitious objectives. The troops may be acquainted with the actual objectives only after putting to sea.
4. Occupation of Denmark (“Weseruebung Sued”)
Added to this, having secured the most important places, the Group will break through as quickly as possible from Fuenen to Skagen and to the east coast. In Seeland bases will be captured early on. These will serve as starting points for later occupation. The Navy will provide forces for the securing of the connection Nyborg-Korsoer and for swift capture of the Kleine-Belt-Bridges as well as for landing of troops should the necessity arise. It will also prepare the defense of the coast.
The Air Force will provide squadrons, the primary object of which will be demonstrations and dropping of leaflets. Full use of the existing Danish ground defenses and air defense must be ensured.
5. Occupation of Norway (“Weseruebung Nord”)
The task of the Group XXI: Capture by surprise of the most important places on the coast by sea and airborne operations.
The Navy will take over the preparation and carrying out of the transport by sea of the landing troops as well as the transport of the forces which will have to be brought to Oslo in a later stage of the operation. It will escort supplies and reserves on the way over by sea.
Preparations must be made for speedy completion of coastal defence in Norway.
The Air Force, after the occupation has been completed, will ensure air defence and will make use of Norwegian bases for air warfare against Britain.
6. Group XXI will make regular reports to the OKW concerning the state of preparations and will submit a chronological summary of the progress of preparations. The shortest necessary space of time between the issue of the order for Weseruebung and its execution must be reported.
Intended Battle Headquarters will be reported.
Code names: Wesertag-the day of the operation. Weserzeit-“H” hour.
(Signed) A. HITLER
SOURCE: United States, Office of United States Chief of Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, 8 vols. and 2 suppl. vols. (Government Printing Office, Washington, 1946-1948), VI, 1003-1005, Doc. No. C-174.