Industry and commerce

A well-working economic life is fundamental for the society. The occupation brought big challenges and changes in this field. Industry and commerce were very different during the occupation from what we have seen before as well as what we saw after the war.

After April 9th, both experts and ordinary people feared a serious economic crisis. Norway was highly dependent on export and import, and was now excluded from the most important markets.

The strain the Germans put on the Norwegian economy was bigger than for most of the other occupied countries, measured per head. But there was no economic crisis. The occupants’ enormous construction work projects generated a great demand for labour, goods and services. Instead of unemployment there was a lack of labour. The labour market was strictly regulated, and the labour was forced.

Norwegian commerce adapted to the conditions. In the economic field, there were few frictions between the occupied and the occupier.

The occupation drained the country of resources and left it with worn down means of production. On the other hand, Norwegian industry and commerce got out of the war relatively ordered and organized, and much of the infrastructure the Germans had built was useful in peacetime.