Significant Effects of the Nazi Occupation (1940-1945) on Norwegian Art Music and Musical Life.


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Initial research indicated that literature about Norwegian music during the occupation of
1940-45 was scarce. There were two main studies, one authored in 1946 and one in 2007,
and three pages in a music encyclopaedia. Since then, there has been more research has
been undertaken. However, there is still much to understand as Professor Elef Nesheim,
who authored the second study, stated. Michael Meyer claimed that the Nazis had a formula
when occupying a nation. What became clear as the investigation progressed, is that the
Nazis treated the Norwegians differently from other nations in all aspects of life, but
particularly so in music. Indeed, it becomes clear that the Nazis invested financially in music
in Norway. This is demonstrated by the sheer number of premieres that were performed
during the occupation, and this is indicated in a chart that has been constructed.
Critically it can be debated about when Norway piqued Hitler’s interest, and why it would be
an important nation to be in control of. There were many reasons including geographically,
the blonde-haired blue-eyed people, iron ore, heavy water, and the arts. Comparisons will
be made with the special treatment of the Berlin, Vienna, and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras.
It would appear the more important the nation was the more lenient the Nazis were, and this
was the case for Norway. The leniency included permitting Jews to remain in their positions
and investing heavily financially as the war was drawing to a close.
Date of Award17 May 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorHELEN NEWALL (Director of Studies) & STEPHEN PRATT (Director of Studies)


  • Norway, Occupation, World War II, Nazi, Germany, Orchestras, Oslo, Bergen

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