Abraham Lauritz Jonsson, aka Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), will always be known as Norway's equivalent of Benedict Arnold. Leader of the Nasjonal Samling (National Union) fascist political party, Quisling collaborated with Adolf Hitler for Germany's invasion of Norway and became the fascist leader of Norway for a short time. Quisling's bid for power ultimately failed, however, and he was executed. The name "Quisling" is now synonymous with "traitor".
Quisling was born on July 18, 1887 in Akerhus Fortress in Oslo, Norway. In 1911, Quisling joined the Norwegian Army. It was his military experience in the Soviet Union that inspired his hatred for Soviet Communism. He served from 1931 to 1933 as Norway's Defense Minister. During his term, he successfully handled a labor uprising by hydroelectric workers and gained a reputation as a no-nonsense politician. Quisling thought that the only way to prevent the spread of Communism was for countries to have strong, centralized, fascist governments.< /p>
After his post as Defense Minister, Quisling founded the Nasjonal Samling. Because he lacked the charisma of Hitler or Mussolini, Quisling's party was not as successful as theirs. Quisling met with Hitler and a few of his leaders in 1939, and this set the stage for an easy German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940. That night, Quisling declared himself the prime minister of Norway and outlawed all political parties except for the Nasjonal Samling.
However, Quisling was only able to enjoy this glory for about a week. As his party was not popular in the first place, his new regime was not accepted by the Norwegian public and sparked a strong Norwegian resistance movement. The Germans set up a military government led by Josef Terboven, with many supporters of Quisling in high-ranking positions. This government did not involve Quisling himself. Quisling continued to be the leader of the Nasjonal Samling, however, and ran some politics behind the scenes. Quisling eventually was allowed to return to political office in 1942, when Terboven named him Minister President.
As the Third Reich crumbled, so did the lives of the Nazi leaders. Hitler committed suicide, and Mussolini was executed. Quisling was executed as well, by the countrymen he had betrayed. His life ended on October 24, 1945. Quisling has the distinct "honor" of being the last person to be executed in Norwegian history.