16. From Goody Goody Two Shoes to Norwegian Fuhrer
Quisling was born to a pastor, and his life had a promising start that give little hint of coming treason, and its consequent payback. He did well in school, and graduated from the Norwegian Military College with the highest ever score since its inception. He was sent to the USSR as military attache in 1918, and became Norway’s military expert on Russia. In 1922, he worked on League of Nations humanitarian relief efforts in the Ukraine, and demonstrated considerable administrative talent and skill. While there, he also met and married two Russian women in quick succession, the second marriage, which lasted until his death, either bigamous or unofficial.
Discharged from the army during a period of cutbacks, Quisling traveled throughout Europe for much of the 1920s. He returned to Norway in 1929, and launched a political career marked by anti-Semitic, anticommunist, and anti-liberal positions. Joining a movement called “Rise of the Nordic People”, he became Norway’s defense minister from 1931-1933. In 1933, inspired by the Nazis’ victory in Germany, he launched a fascist party, appointing himself its Fuhrer.