DENMARK AFTER LIBERATION

Created: 8/3/1945

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DENMARK AFTER LIBERATION

Denmark has been outstanding among the liberated European countries for the orderliness of Its transition from Oerman occupation to the postwar period. The absence of severe political disturbances has been due In part to the fact that Denmark was spared the devastation of most occupied countries. In addition, the political rivalry whichduring the occupation between the resistance leaders of the Freedom Council and tbe established political parties was submerged in the successful Joint effort to establish and operate the presentgovernment. The program of the new government. Including legislation for the punishment of war criminals, economic reconstruc-.tion, and the re-cstabllshment of cordial relations with the USSR, has been carried outinimum of friction between the two groups.

The lack of severe economic problems hasasic factor in tbe smoothness of Denmark's adaptation to postwar conditions. Danish industrial installations were not to any great extent destroyed by the war. Total war damage has been estimated at three billionood production both during and since the Oerman occupation has remained reasonably adequate for domestic needs. With the aid of agricultural equipment and fuel from the United States. Denmark probably will even be able to provide large quantities of foodstuffs for other European countries during the remainder

Furthermore, the major political parties on the one hand and the active resistance groups on the other have been able to cooperateIn the establishment and supportrovisional DanishUp to the final months of the German occupation, the possibility of such cooperation had appeared questionable because of the distrust and rivalry between the major parties and the active resistance associated with the Danish Freedom Council.

At the time of the German invasion of Denmark. the established political parties, anxious to preserve their own organizations, accepted Nazi rule under protest andoalition government to administer Denmark for the duration. For more than three years the occupation forces Interfered little with the coalition parties, their trade unions, and other organizations. In return for Oerman sell-restraint, party leaders issued periodic appeals for cooperation with the Germans, denounced strikes and sabotage, and even supported the punishment of active resistance. Such resistance as they offered was confined largely to administrative and industrial slow-downs and encouragement of the "spiritual" Independence of the population.

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Active Danish resistance groups were thus placedosition of opposition to the major political parties. Such political leadership as was available to them came principally from the small Communist Party (outlawed1 on German demand) and the extreme rightist Danish Unity Party. In addition Christmas Moeller, leadertronglywing of the Danish Conservatives, soon repudiated his party's policy of collaboration and joined the active resistance. In2 he escaped to England to head the Free Danish movement abroad. In July of the following year,eriod in which the German occupation policy Increased in severity, the Danish Freedom Council was organized toactive resistance on the home front. The established political leaders who had subscribed to the passive resistance policy of thegovernment lost Influence as the rank and file of their own parties rallied to the Freedom Council. Finally in3 the coalition government resigned In protest against German exploitation, leaving the countryormally constituted government

However, the old parties, fearing that the increasingly powerful Freedom Council might developival political institution after the war. were still reluctant to reach an understanding with the active resistance. Moreover, the fact that the continued existence of the official parties depended on German toleration of their activitiestrong deterrent to any practical cooperation between the two groups

Nevertheless, during the next twelve months the leaders of the established parties came gradually to accept the activist program of the Freedom Council. This was most clearly demonstrated In the general strikes which took place during the summer4rotest against the Increasing severity of German rule Throughout this period theCouncil rather than the political leaders proved to be the effective authority in maintaining discipline and formulating the demands of the strikers. These developments brought the Freedom Council wide recognition in the Allied countries as the temporary substituteegal government and the true exponent of Danish policy.

During the last months of the war In Europe, the political rivalry of the established parties and the resistance leaders was temporarily submerged In negotiations over the compositionrovudonalto assume office when hostilities ceased.

A few days after the German surrender an agreement was reached on the composition of the present cabinet headed by Vllhelm Buhl, in which the former coalition parties and the resistance have equalrepresentation. The old parties, however, have received the most important key positions. Of the nine ministries assigned to partyfour (including the Premiership and the Ministry ofare held by the Social Democrats, Denmark's largest prewar party. Two portfolios (including the Ministry of Defense) are held by the Conservatives, one (the Interior Ministry) by the Liberal Left, and one by the Radical Left. The remaining nine ministers represent formally

the interests of the resistance movement alone. Certain of thesehowever, belong to the parties of the extreme left and right, which were prominent in the active resistance. Two are Communists,ommunist sympathizer, and two are members of the rightist Danish Unity Party. The meet important ministry alloted to the resistance, that of Foreign Affairs, is held by the Danish Freedom Movement leader. Christmas Moeller, who formally severed his connections with theParty.

Agreement on the provisional government, however, has not entirely eliminated the antagonism-between resistance leaders and the political parties. The Freedom Council members still tend to distrust those party leaders who supported collaboration with the Germans untilhe resistance leaders are said to fear the adroitness of the old political leaders and have complained that they have received only inferior cabinet posts. The resistance has persistentlyore rapid and vigorous purge of the armed forces and government andInstitutions. Early elections, urged by the resistance, have been opposed by the parties, which feel thoy need time to regain their former strength.

Moreover, several problems have arizen which may disrupt present Danish government unity along Left-Right lines. Some conservative groups, for example, favor continuation of compulsory arbitration of labor disputes while the Social Democratic Party and the trade unions have passed resolutions demanding Its abolition and the returnystem of negotiated agreements'. Furthermore, although all partiesthe Liberalsonstitutional amendment establishing election reforms, the Communists are pressing for more extensive reformshe conservatives.

The old party leaders' fear that the Freedom Council would developival political organization appears to have been unfounded.eeting of resistance representatives early in June the dissolution of the Freedom Council was officially announced, and Its membersany Intention of transforming Itermanent political organization. The various resistance groups are to retain their arms temporarily, but will be organizedocal and regional basis. Their aim will be to ensure the punishment of traitors, democratization of the army, and the developmenttrong national defense program. These groups will presumably be disbanded as soon as elections are held.

The interim government has made considerable progress In the conduct of the purge. Punishment of war criminals has Involved revision of the Danish Penal Code to provide for the death penalty or at least four years' Imprisonment for acts of treason committed during theoccupation. The law applies to Informers, those who enrolled In the German war services, and officials who aided the Nazis. For the most part, sentence* are to be carried out through regular Judiciallthough special courts may be set up to handle lesser case* of treason.

At0 alleged war criminals are said to have been arrestedune, andanes are expected to be punished under the new legislation.

In the field of economic reconstruction Premier Buhl hasovernment plan to Invest approximately six billion kroner In projects for the reduction of unemployment. Unemployment has more than tripled during the past year, partlyhortage of fuel has cut down Industrial activity and transportation. Danish coal production has never been sufficient to meet domestic needs and existing stocks werereduced during the occupation by German requisitions. Since theprospects of obtaining coal from England are reported to be poor, Denmark may depend heavily on the USSR to make up the deficit. The Danes hope to reach an agreement by which they will obtain Soviet coal cotton, artificial fertilizers, chemicals, and various raw materials in exchange for Danish exports of machinery and dairy and meat products.

In the field of international affairs Foreign Minister Christmas Moel-ler has cultivated friendly relations with the USSR. The appointmentoviet Minister to Copenhagen marked the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries. While the Sovietof Bomholm agitated public opinion outside of Denmark,In Sweden, the Danes themselves have shown little anxiety over the prolonged stay ofoviet troops. The Soviet landing on the island reportedly was requested by the Danes themselves when it was learned that the Germans Intended to continue resistance on Bornholm. The local Red Army Commander has officially declared that the Soviet occupation is only provisional and will be terminated as soon asconnected with the war have been solved Inresent Indications are that any Soviet-Danish negotiations on the matter will proceedriendly atmosphere.

Thus far Denmark, unlike many other liberated European countries, has shown no extreme change from its prewar political alignments. The small rightist Danish Unity Party is not known to have been strengthened by Its association with active resistance The moderate parties, Including the Social Democrats, while somewhat discredited by their former policy of passive resistance, haveominant position. Perhaps the most significant change ls the Communist Party's growth In prestige, which springs largely from the vigorous Communist resistance activity and from the popular trend away from passive and rightist groups.the leftist trend, however, there is little prospect that the coming Danish elections will show an extreme change in party sympathies.

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