Hornet Flight – Facts

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The novel starts England and Digby. Yet, most of the action takes place in Denmark, which was occupied by the Nazis, and many of its citizens hated the fact that the government gave in without a fight. During most of World War II, Denmark was first a protectorate, then an occupied territory under Germany. The decision to invade Denmark was taken in Berlin on 17 December 1939. On 9 April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark in Operation Weserübung and established a protectorate over the country.

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The king of Denmark in 1941 is Christian X. Christian X (26 September 1870 – 20 April 1947) was the King of Denmark from 1912 to 1947 and the only king of Iceland between 1918 and 1944. At 4 a.m. on 9 April 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Denmark in a surprise attack, overwhelming Denmark’s Army and Navy and destroying the Danish Army Air Corps. Christian X quickly realized that Denmark was in an impossible position. Its territory and population were far too small to hold out against Germany for any sustained period of time. Unlike its Nordic neighbours, Denmark had no mountain ranges from which a drawn-out resistance could be mounted. With no prospect of being able to hold out for any length of time, and faced with the explicit threat of the Luftwaffe bombing the civilian population of Copenhagen, and with only one general in favour of continuing to fight, Christian X and the entire Danish government capitulated at about 6 am,  in exchange for retaining political independence in domestic matters, beginning the occupation of Denmark, which lasted until 5 May 1945.

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Rigsdag is mentioned several times, and I understood it was the Danish parliament.  Rigsdagen  was the name of the national legislature of Denmark from 1849 to 1953. Rigsdagen was Denmark’s first parliament, and it was incorporated in the Constitution of 1849.

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There were naturally a party supporting Nazis.  The National Socialist Workers’ Party of Denmark was the largest Nazi Party in Denmark before and during the Second World War. The party was founded on 16 November 1930, after the success of the Nazis in the German Reichstag elections of that year. The party mimicked the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party) in Germany, including the use of the swastika and Hitler salute, the naming of their fighting force as SA, and even the singing of a translated version of the Horst Wessel Song. The party was antisemitic, though not to the same degree as the German Nazis.

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From the first moment we identify Harald with his motorbike, a nimbus, which he has adapted so that it can be used with a steam engine. The Nimbus was a Danish motorcycle produced from 1919 to 1960.

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Harald’s ambition is to go to university and study physics with Niels Bohr. Niels Henrik David Bohr (7 October 1885 – 18 November 1962) was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

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The novel is mainly about the Danish Resistance during the Second World War. The Danish resistance movement  was an underground insurgency to resist the German occupation of Denmark during World War II. Due to the initially lenient arrangements, in which the Nazi occupation authority allowed the democratic government to stay in power, the resistance movement was slower to develop effective tactics on a wide scale than in some other countries.

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In England Hermia works for the British Intelligence in Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park was the central site for British codebreakers during World War II. It housed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers. The official historian of World War II British Intelligence has written that the “Ultra” intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and that without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain.

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When Hermia tries to hear the signals that emits the equipment the Germans have, she goes to Dogger Bank. Dogger Bank  is a large sandbank in a shallow area of the North Sea about 100 kilometres off the east coast of England.

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The planes in the book are the Tiger Moth, which is the kind of plane that Poul Kirke and Arne pilot, and the Hornet Moth, which is the plane that was in the monastery and Harald and Karen use to reach England.

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When Hermia and Arne get to see each other after a year, they travel to Bornholm. Bornholm  is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea.

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The place where they meets is the ruins of a castle, Hammershus. Hammershus is Scandinavia‘s largest medieval fortification, situated 74 metres above sea level on Hammeren, the northern tip of the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.

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