Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed the film Dream Horse, set in Wales. Heather reckons with slavery during the times when many historical romances were set. Tina was captivated by the thriller Stolen by Tess Stimson featuring a London-based attorney whose daughter disappears while visiting St. Petersburg, Florida.
Atlantic Crossing, a Masterpiece Theater showing on PBS, is a story that’s mostly about Norway and the United States during WWII, as evidenced by the trailer.
London is the third setting for this show, so I thought I’d talk about some of those scenes for today’s British Isles Friday post.
It turns out that I knew very little about Norway and World War II. My first shock was that before Norway was invaded by Germany, they were afraid that they were going to be invaded by the United Kingdom. The Allies could see the advantages of controlling Norway’s iron ore and ports just as well as the Germans. I’m so used to thinking of the Brits as the good guys, that it seemed odd for Norway to be afraid of them. Norway intended to stay neutral in World War II. Neutrality for a nation in the midst of war is hard work — anything that seems to tilt you in one direction will cause the other side to consider you an enemy.
In the end, Germany invaded Norway and the Norwegians, even with help from the Allies, couldn’t stop the German occupation in 1940. The King, Crown Prince, and cabinet ministers went to London to continue a government-in-exile. Several other governments and resistance organizers used London as their home base, including the First Czechoslovak Republic and Poland.
King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav were, initially, guests at Buckingham Palace until they established their own wartime household in England. This might have been poetic license, but in this version, the Queen’s famous line that expresses a certain gratitude that Buckingham Palace was bombed because now she “could look the East End in the face” was said to the King and Crown Prince of Norway.
Atlantic Crossing shows several scenes of the Norwegians in England — holding cabinet meetings, dashing into underground shelters during bombing raids, and drowning sorrows in pubs.
Atlantic Crossing, and many other PBS shows, are available with PBS Passport which is a benefit of contributing to your local PBS station. My local PBS station, Channel 9 in St. Louis, provided extra educational programming for children during the pandemic, so I’m feeling very good about continuing to support them, now.