It was founded by Vidkun Quisling and a group of supporters such as Johan Bernhard Hjort on 13 May 1933 but celebrated its founding on 17 May, Norway's national holiday.
After 1934, the ideology of the party was oriented towards National Socialism and fascism. It is uncertain to what extent one can refer to the Nasjonal Samling as a fascist or National Socialist party before the war. Usually the members referred to the party as Nationalist, or National Socialist.
The party's paramilitary organization was called Hirden. The Youth organization was NS Ungdomsfylking. Its newspaper (official organ) Fritt Folk (Free People) was published from March 26, 1936 to May 7, 1945.
In the election of 1933, four months after the party was formed, it garnered 27,850 votes (approximately 2.5%). It failed to win any seats in the parliament. The party managed to poll 26,577 in the 1936 election, fewer than in 1933.
In 1935 and 36 the party had around 8,000 members. Hjort left Nasjonal Samling in 1937 after losing a power struggle against Quisling.
By the time the Second World War broke out, the party had around 2,000 members. Several of its marches and rallies before the war were either banned, or marred by violence by communists and socialists.
In December 1940 membership rose to 22,000, and peaked with 43,400 in November 1943.
Vidkun Quisling and Gulbrand Lunde. 1930s
Election poster from 1936 with attack against Martin Tranmæl and C. J. Hambro
Nasjonal Samling by Harald Damsleth