Quisling, Vidkun

Quisling, Vidkun kwĭzˈlĭng, Nor. vĭdˈko͝on kvĭsˈlĭng [key], 1887–1945, Norwegian fascist leader. An army officer, he served as military attaché in Petrograd (1918–19) and Helsinki (1919–21) and later assisted Fridtjof Nansen in relief work in Russia. He was Norwegian minister of defense from 1931 to 1933. He then left the Agrarian party to found the fascist Nasjonal Samling [national unity] party. In 1940 he helped Germany prepare the conquest of Norway. Remaining at the head of the sole party permitted by the Germans, he was made premier in 1942. Despite his unpopularity and difficulties with his German masters and within his own party, he remained in power until May, 1945, when, after the Germans in Norway surrendered, he was arrested. He was convicted of high treason and shot. From his name came the word quisling, meaning traitor.

See biography by P. M. Hayes (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Scandinavian History: Biographies