Hitler's Northern Utopia: Building the New Order in Occupied Norway

October 31, 2020
Hitler's Northern Utopia: Building the New Order in Occupied Norway

The fascinating untold story of how Nazi architects andplanners envisioned and began to build a model "Aryan" society inNorway during World War IIBetween 1940 and 1945, German occupiers transformed Norway intoa vast construction zone. This remarkable building campaign,largely unknown today, was designed to extend the Greater GermanReich beyond the Arctic Circle and turn the Scandinavian countryinto a racial utopia. From ideal new cities to a scenicsuperhighway stretching from Berlin to northern Norway, plans toremake the country into a model "Aryan" society fired theimaginations of Hitler, his architect Albert Speer, and other Nazileaders. In Hitler's Northern Utopia, Despina Stratigakosprovides the first major history of Nazi efforts to build a Nordicempire—one that they believed would improve their genetic stock andconfirm their destiny as a new order of Vikings.Drawing on extraordinary unpublished diaries, photographs, andmaps, as well as newspapers from the period, Hitler's NorthernUtopia tells the story of a broad range of completed andunrealized architectural and infrastructure projects far beyond thewell-known German military defenses built on Norway's Atlanticcoast. These ventures included maternity centers, cultural andrecreational facilities for German soldiers, and a plan to createquintessential National Socialist communities out of twenty-threetowns damaged in the German invasion, an overhaul Norwegianarchitects were expected to lead. The most ambitious scheme—aGerman cultural capital and naval base—remained a closely guardedsecret for fear of provoking Norwegian resistance.A gripping account of the rise of a Nazi landscape in occupiedNorway, Hitler's Northern Utopia reveals a haunting visionof what might have been—a world colonized under the swastika.