Author Topic: Denmark under Nazi occupation  (Read 1938 times)

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Offline <k>

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Denmark under Nazi occupation
« on: April 04, 2017, 09:04:59 PM »
Denmark did not take part in the First World War, but in 1920 it regained South Jutland from Germany (known as North Schleswig as in Germany), which it had lost to Germany in 1864. Denmark was a small peaceful country, with a population that rose from 3 to 3.5 million between 1920 and 1940. The economic crises of the 1920s and 1930s did not affect Denmark as severely as elsewhere, because of the policies followed by the Social Democratic party. As a result, no significant ultra-nationalist parties therefore appeared in the 1920s, because there was no political space for them. There were, however, plenty of tiny fascist or Nazi-type parties. No fewer than 29 such parties came and went in the period from 1928 to 1945, but none of them ever got more than around 2% of the votes in elections, and usually less.

The youth wing of the Conservative People's Party did adopt some fascist airs in the 1930s, but this was a matter of style only, and this sort of imitation was common among various non-fascist  European right-wing parties in that decade. The largest of the Danish Nazi-type parties was the National Socialist Workers' Party of Denmark (known as the DNSAP), which was founded in 1930 in direct imitation of the German Nazis. Its leader, Cay Lembcke, was replaced by Frits Clausen in 1933. Clausen can best be described as having the looks of a fat slob, rather than a charismatic leader.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2017, 09:06:03 PM »
In 1939, the DNSAP won three seats in parliament, corresponding to 1.8% of the popular vote. Then,on 9 April 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Denmark in a surprise attack. The occupation of Denmark was initially not an important objective for the German government. The decision was taken to facilitate a planned invasion of the strategically more important Norway, and as a precaution against the expected British response. German military planners believed that a base in the northern part of Jutland would be essential to operations in Norway.

King Christian X quickly realized that Denmark was in an impossible position. Its territory and population were far too small to hold out against Germany. Its flat land would have resulted in it being easily overrun by German panzers across the Danish-German border. 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. Meanwhile, Christian’s brother, Haakon VII of Norway, refused to surrender and fled to Britain with his government, to continue the fight, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands did likewise. King Christian, however, decided to stay with his people, as did King Leopold III of Belgium.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 09:37:27 PM by <k> »
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Offline <k>

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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2017, 09:14:38 PM »
Here I will show the coinage of Denmark before the Nazi occupation. Then we shall see to what extent the coinage changed under the Nazis, if at all.

The 1, 2 and 5 øre coins were minted in bronze. Each had the same obverse design, which featured the King's monogram.

The images are not to scale.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2017, 09:17:05 PM »
The 10 and 25 øre coins were made of copper-nickel and had similar designs.

Again, the images are not to scale.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2017, 09:19:26 PM »
The half krone features a crown. Krone is of course Danish for crown. The coin was made of aluminium-bronze.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 09:21:31 PM »
The 1 krone and 2 kroner coins had the same obverse as the half krone coin, and they also featured a crown on the denomination side.

They were aslo made of aluminium-bronze.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2017, 10:29:53 AM »
Hitler decided to make Denmark his model protectorate. He did not wish to antagonise the Danes, whom he regarded as fellow Aryans. He was also watching the US elections and trying to influence the isolationists there by his declared policy. If diplomats or the Red Cross wished to see how he treated his occupied territories, he could then show them peaceful, well-treated Denmark, instead of Poland. Because Hitler was already looking ahead to his attack on the Soviet Union, he wanted to have as few forces as possible tied up elsewhere. He therefore opted for “occupation-lite” in Denmark. To do this, he had to leave much of Danish sovereignty in place. Leaving King Christian on the throne was conducive to stability, and Hitler liked to bolster his respectability by leaving the establishment in place, where possible. Because of these priorities, Hitler did not demand the return of his ethnic Germans in South Jutland (or North Schleswig, as it was known in Germany). Nor did he allow the DNSAP to enter government. The King had hinted that he would abdicate if the DNSAP was allowed into power.

From Wikipedia:

These factors combined to allow Denmark a very favorable relationship with Nazi Germany. The government remained somewhat intact, and the parliament continued to function more or less as it had before. They were able to maintain much of their former control over domestic policy. The police and judicial system remained in Danish hands, and unlike most occupied countries, King Christian X remained in the country as Danish head of state. The German Reich was formally represented by a Reichsbevollmächtigter ('ReichPlenipotentiary'), i.e. a diplomat accredited to the Sovereign, a post awarded to Cecil von Renthe-Fink, the German ambassador, and then in November 1942 to the lawyer and SS general Werner Best.

Danish public opinion generally backed the new government, particularly after the fall of France in June 1940. There was a general feeling that the unpleasant reality of German occupation must be confronted in the most realistic way possible, given the international situation. Politicians realized that they would have to try hard to maintain Denmark's privileged position by presenting a united front to the German authorities, so all of the mainstream democratic parties formed a new government together. Parliament and the government agreed to work closely together. Though the effect of this was close to the creation of a one-party state, it remained a representative government.

The Danish government was dominated by Social Democrats, including the pre-war prime minister Thorvald Stauning, who had been strongly opposed to the Nazi party. Stauning himself was deeply depressed by the prospects for Europe under Nazism. Nonetheless, his party pursued a strategy of cooperation, hoping to maintain democracy and Danish control in Denmark for as long as possible.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 10:36:54 AM »
From Wikipedia:

There were many issues that they had to work out with Germany in the months after the occupation. In an effort to keep the Germans satisfied, they compromised Danish democracy and society in several fundamental ways:

Newspaper articles and news reports "which might jeopardize German-Danish relations" were outlawed, in violation of the Danish constitutional prohibition against censorship.

On 22 June 1941, while Germany commenced its attack on the Soviet Union, the German authorities in Denmark demanded that Danish communists should be arrested. The Danish government complied and using secret registers, the Danish police in the following days arrested 339 communists. Of these 246, including the three communist members of the Danish parliament, were imprisoned in the Horserød camp, in violation of the Danish constitution. On 22 August 1941, the Danish parliament (without its communist members) passed the Communist Law, outlawing the communist party and communist activities, in another violation of the Danish constitution. In 1943 about half of them were transferred to Stutthof concentration camp, where 22 of them died.

Following Germany's assault on the Soviet Union, Denmark joined the Anti-Comintern Pact, together with the fellow Nordic state of Finland. As a result, many communists were found among the first members of the Danish resistance movement. Normal relations with Allied governments were severed.

Industrial production and trade was, partly due to geopolitical reality and economic necessity, redirected toward Germany.

The Danish army was largely demobilised, although some units remained until August 1943. The army was allowed to maintain 2,200 men, as well as 1,100 auxiliary troops. Much of the fleet remained in port, but in Danish hands.

However, the Danish cabinet rejected German demands for legislation discriminating against Denmark's Jewish minority. Demands to introduce the death penalty were likewise rebuffed, and so were German demands to allow German military courts jurisdiction over Danish citizens. Denmark also rejected demands for the transfer of Danish army units to German military use.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 11:29:28 AM »
In 1941, the first occupation issues were released. Both the obverse and reverse of the 1 øre changed significantly. The reverse featured a sprig of oak and beech leaves. The coin was now made of zinc, as an economy measure.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2017, 11:31:42 AM »
The obverse and reverse of the 2 øre changed also significantly. The sprig was used again, and the figure "2" appeared in a very unusual font. The coin was now minted in aluminium as an economy measure.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2017, 11:33:39 AM »
The design of the 5 øre was also significantly changed, and it too was minted in aluminium.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 11:35:23 AM »
The design of the 10 øre did not change, but it was now minted in zinc. The same applied to the 25 øre (not illustrated), whose design was very similar to that of the 10 øre.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 11:51:09 AM »
The half krone was not minted after 1940. The 1 krone was minted in 1941 but without any changes and still in aluminium-bronze. The 2 kroner coin was also minted in 1941, again without any changes and still in aluminium-bronze; however, that that was the last year of its issue, under the occupation.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2017, 12:10:25 PM »
From Wikipedia:

On 29 June 1941, days after the invasion of the USSR, Free Corps Denmark (Danish: Frikorps Danmark) was founded as a corps of Danish volunteers to fight against the Soviet Union. Free Corps Denmark was set up at the initiative of the SS and DNSAP, who approached Lieutenant-Colonel C.P. Kryssing of the Danish army shortly after the invasion of the USSR had begun.

According to Danish law, it was not illegal to join a foreign army, but active recruiting on Danish soil was illegal. The SS disregarded this law and began recruiting efforts – predominantly recruiting Danish Nazis and members of the German-speaking minority. The Danish government decided to concentrate on persuading the Germans not to recruit underage boys. General Prior wanted to sack Kryssing and his designated second-in-command but decided to consult the cabinet. It agreed that Kryssing should be sacked in its meeting on 2 July 1941, but this decision was later withdrawn when Erik Scavenius—who had not attended the original meeting—returned from negotiations and announced that he had reached an agreement with Renthe-Fink that soldiers wishing to join this corps could be given leave until further notice. The government issued an announcement stating that "Lieut. Colonel C.P. Kryssing, Chief of the 5th Artillery reg., Holbæk, has with the consent of the Royal Danish Government assumed command over 'Free Corps Denmark'". The Danish text only explicitly said that the government recognized that Kryssing had been given a new command; it did not sanction the creation of the corps, which had already happened without its creators asking the government's consent. In July 1941 Heinrich Himmler complained that Denmark was unofficially trying to stop recruitment, since the word ran in the army that anyone joining would be committing treason. The government later instructed the army and navy not to obstruct applications from soldiers wishing to leave active duty and join the corps.


Below you see Obersturmführer Per Sørensen of the Frikorps Danmark. The photo was taken in 1941. Notice the trifos symbol on his collar tab. The Nazis were fond of these pseudo-runic symbols, and each country that joined the German forces had its own "national" versions.
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Re: Denmark under Nazi occupation
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2017, 12:14:48 PM »
Below you see one of the propaganda posters that urged Danes to fight on the Eastern Front against Bolshevism. The poster implies that they would be doing so in the spirit of their ancestors, the Vikings. Nazis and fascists often issued propaganda that made allusions to the martial spirit of the nation's ancestors.

From Wikipedia:

A 1998 study showed that the average recruit to Free Corps Denmark was a Nazi, a member of the German minority in Denmark, or both. Historian Bo Lidegaard notes: "The relationship between the population and the corps was freezing cold, and legionnaires on leave time and again came into fights, with civilians meeting the corps' volunteers with massive contempt." Lidegaard gives the following figures for 1941: 6,000 Danish citizens had signed up to German army duty; 1,500 of these belonged to the German minority in Denmark.
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