Did the 1940 fall of Norway seem to indicate that Germany could conquer Britain?

To people at the time, that is.

Today, with hindsight, it's clear that Germany never had any chance of invading and conquering Britain.

But after the fall of France, a lot of people thought that was very possible, even likely.

The blitz of France contributed to this perception. Germany had done what seemed previously unthinkable; who could say what else Germany couldn't do?

However, the defeat of France was entirely on land; Britain was across an arm of the sea, which no invader had crossed in centuries, not even Napoleon. Yet, as I noted, Britain was widely regarded as extremely vulnerable.

ISTM that the German success in Norway, reaching out across an arm of the sea and subduing an entire country with apparent ease, was critical to the perception of Britain as vulnerable.

I do not suggest that this was a conscious calculation. AFAICT, no one at that time made that connection explicitly.

I just have a very strong suspicion that the connection existed, and that without Norway, the view of Britain would differ.

I think this has major what-if implications, because the Norway operation could easily have failed. And if it did fail, that would affect the perceptions and thus the actions of many important figures.
 
To your average joe on the street with minimal understanding of how these things work? I could see it. To the people actually running the government and military though, most likely not.
 
There's also the point that I could see the British war time government using the threat to galvanize the population and build up some war myth
 
British home defence initiatives were already in place in 1939 due in part to threat of invasion, though this was (at least in government) more a concern of a powerful local raid rather than a full invasion.
I'm pretty sure that Churchill mentions that the threat of invasion was useful to mobilise and maintain national sentiment, even after the likelihood had evaporated.
Norway would no doubt have driven home the value of preparing well ahead of time, over a half-baked late mobilisation.
 

nbcman

Donor
For the comparison between Norway and USM to be applicable would require that Kent, East Sussex and Surrey were neutral countries and that it would be snowing with heavy seas in the channel in September 1940. Obviously that is not the case but the threat of USM was used to unify UK / Commonwealth sentiment as well as to appeal to the foreign audience of the US.
 
To your average joe on the street with minimal understanding of how these things work? I could see it. To the people actually running the government and military though, most likely not.
Pétain famously told Churchill that Britain "would have its neck wrung like a chicken" within a few weeks.

US Adm Stark, then CNO, stated in an official memo in late 1940 that Britain was in grave danger.

In his memoirs, RAdm (then Cdr) Dan Gallery wrote that when he was sent as Naval Attaché to Britain in 1941, it was with the tacit agenda of learning as much as possible about Germany before Britain collapsed.

When the US Military Attaché to Romania returned to the US in 1942, he thought Germany had resources available to conquer Britain.

None of these men were "average Joe in the street".

Nor was Mussolini, who in June 1940 impulsively decided to enter a war he was sure would be over soon.

All these perceptions were wrong, of course. That's not the question, which is : Were these perceptions influenced by the Norway Campaign?
 

thaddeus

Donor
To your average joe on the street with minimal understanding of how these things work? I could see it. To the people actually running the government and military though, most likely not.
^^^^ this is my view (of the RN's view), not sure about the rest of civilian leadership in the UK or the leadership of other countries.

think the KM could have done a much better job and offered a much darker scenario to the Allies.

starting with their torpedo issues https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/etd/599/ and the loss of their destroyers
 

Driftless

Donor
How much "victory disease" was running through the some parts of the OKW? I beleive some thought the whole 1939-40 war was a house of cards waiting to collapse disasterously. But with the successes of Poland and Norway, did some drink the Kool-aid? Though, in both cases, the assaults weren't as overwhelming as they were sold to the world public.
 
It was painted at the time as a 5th Column/‘Quisling’ takeover with Quisling being poster boy for treason. The reality was a bit different. The fall of France was portrayed was the French being a bit fascist themselves and not standing up to Germany. I think the average Brit justifiably felt secure with the Royal Navy blocking the way.
 
Bearing in mind how much damage the Kriegsmarine took in the Norwegian campaign... No.

exactly what i was going to say. Seeing that the attempt to take Oslo resulted in 1 brand new heavy cruiser being sunk by WWI weapons and another damaged, i don't think the Brits felt more in danger nor the Germans more confident in facing the RN.
 

Garrison

Donor
I would recommend reading Operation Sealion by Leo McKinstry for an insight into Britain's response to the invasion threat. The TL:DR version is that while the threat was taken seriously there was no panic in the government and it was indeed used on occasion to justify restrictive measures that might otherwise have been opposed.
 
Pétain famously told Churchill that Britain "would have its neck wrung like a chicken" within a few weeks.

US Adm Stark, then CNO, stated in an official memo in late 1940 that Britain was in grave danger.

In his memoirs, RAdm (then Cdr) Dan Gallery wrote that when he was sent as Naval Attaché to Britain in 1941, it was with the tacit agenda of learning as much as possible about Germany before Britain collapsed.

When the US Military Attaché to Romania returned to the US in 1942, he thought Germany had resources available to conquer Britain.

None of these men were "average Joe in the street".

Nor was Mussolini, who in June 1940 impulsively decided to enter a war he was sure would be over soon.

All these perceptions were wrong, of course. That's not the question, which is : Were these perceptions influenced by the Norway Campaign?
Didn't Benny expect the British to simply peace out after the Fall of France, rather than be invaded ?
 
Didn't Benny expect the British to simply peace out after the Fall of France, rather than be invaded ?
Very likely; but the perception that Britain was obviously vulnerable to invasion would surely contribute to the conclusion that Britain would have to make peace.

I.e. if Mussolini thought Britain was vulnerable, he would assume British leaders thought the same.
 
Very likely; but the perception that Britain was obviously vulnerable to invasion would surely contribute to the conclusion that Britain would have to make peace.

I.e. if Mussolini thought Britain was vulnerable, he would assume British leaders thought the same.

Well he wasn't exactly a military genius. Nor was Petain.
 
Well [Mussolini] wasn't exactly a military genius.
Irrelevant. The question is whether he was influenced by the outcome in Norway.
Nor was Petain.
Pétain was a field marshal, a top commander in a very large army that won a very difficult war. One doesn't even get the chance to serve at that level without a lot of ability (or hereditary rank or political pull, neither of which applied to him). Was he a "military genius"? I won't say that, but among commanders I'd put him in the top 1%.

By 1940, of course, he was old, behind the times, and distracted by political issues.
 
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