Denmark's side in the war


#1

Hey guys! As most of you probably know by now, I make the “Sides at present” overview every week & was just trying to decide how I was going to do Denmark. On previous weeks, I posted the overview when the video dropped & commenters would make suggestions on how I can improve them, but I figured that since I’m on the forum now, I should ask my fellow Time Ghost Army members for their feedback before I officially post. My plan as of right now is starting Week 033 in April, I’ll have Denmark on the Axis as ether a puppet, protectorate, or both. At the same time, I’ll have the Danish Resistance on the Allies. I’ll also have a special disclaimer for both that reads:

“Within hours of the invasion, Denmark surrendered & was placed under German “protection” with the appointment of a Reich Plenipotentiary that the Danish government had to work with. Resistance to the occupation soon began, but it would be sometime before it became wide spread. SPOILER WARNING: On August 29, 1943, after refusing to submit to any further German demands, the Danish government was dissolved & the German military took direct control of the country. At that point, I’ll take Denmark off the Axis & replace the Danish resistance with Denmark(with an occupied disclaimer).”

Is there anything you think I should add, take out, change or clarify? I really want to know your opinion on the puppet or protectorate thing, but I’m open to all suggestions.


Greenland & Iceland's side in the war
#2

Sounds good.

Even though this is far in the future, I think a disclaimer is going to be needed for India, Thailand and Indonesia.


#3

The British Raj is covered by the colonies disclaimer, but I will have Bose’s Azad Hind on the Axis. Still researching Thailand & Indonesia though I have ideas on how I’m going to do them. I’m starting to lean towards having Denmark with a puppet disclaimer, but what do you think?


#4

If the occupation of the Netherlands is similar to the one of Denmark then I would certainly put it under puppet.

Because in the Netherlands they drained as much of the economy as they could by getting Dutch citizens to work in German factories and leaving the country itself more and more to its own devices as the war dragged on


#5

Of all the countries the Nazis invaded & occupied, Denmark was the one that was probably the best off. Fighting only lasted a few hours & Germany really only invaded them to get to Norway. As the Danish government thought cooperating was the most pragmatic thing to do & the Nazis wanted to play nice with their “fellow Aryans” for propaganda, Day-to-day life went on for the most part until 1943. Originally, I was going with “puppet”, but then I read a quote by Hitler the said they would make Denmark “a model protectorate". Maybe I should rename the protectorate disclaimer Semi-Independent country. I plan on using it for the Philippines & Iceland(pre-1944) down the road.


#6

I, personally, wouldn’t put Denmark as neither a puppet or protectorate under the Axis. Denmark surrendered and was occupied after only a few hours of fighting, and putting them under Allies would definitely also be wrong, at least until Samarbejdsregeringen (The Government of Cooperation) resigned and more mass-based resistance became widespread in 1943 and 1944. After that, put them up as Allied but under occupation for sure.

But for the first few years, the invasion and occupation was under a sort of legal fiction, in that Denmark nominally remained completely independent - with it’s own government, police forces, and even the Danish navy sitting in Danish ports, emphatically not being part of the war. Officially the German invasion was simply deploying troops to protect Danish independence from Anglo-French advances. There were volunteers, sure, Danish citizens fighting on the fronts under German command, but for all intents and purposes Denmark was not part of any side nor at war with anyone. Denmark even held (relativily) fair and free elections during the occupation.

Now, I haven’t actually been following your posts, but it seems like quite a bit of work - especially as neat categories rarely adds up to reality in such a complicated piece of history as the war. Do you have a “Neutrals” section? In that case, I’d add Denmark there, with an explanation of sorts saying “Under German military control” or something similar, until 1943 when moving them to Allies might be more appropriate.

Disclaimer: I’m Danish. So I might be leaning towards the ‘official narrative’ that really wants us to be part of the Allies.
Disclaimer to the Disclaimer: I have a BA in History. So I should be able to look past my own biases and those taught in public schools here. However, full disclosure is always good.


#7

I would not look too much to official diplomatic status, but what the words mean in relation to what happened in practice. Denmark only ever allowed volunteers and did not support the Axis armed forces. The King retained his position (unlike e.g. King Leopold, though that one is complicated) and as mentioned, the legal system was still Danish-run. It is also worth noting the fate of Danish Jews, of whom 99% survived thanks to the combined efforts of the resistance but also government officials who held up and frustrated German requests

For that reason I would put it under protectorate. I don’t like the idea of putting it as ‘both’, I think a more decisive stance should be taken, but it is most definitely an Axis-aligned nation after 1940.


#8

My thinking with the puppet or protectorate disclaimer was to highlight right off the bat that all the Danish government’s cooperation with the Nazis was under duress. The special country disclaimer after that is there to go into greater depth about Denmark’s situation. Also, despite being in its infancy in 1940, I wanted to highlight the Danish Resistance as it was at war with Germany & so a co-belligerent of the Allies. The closest parallels to Denmark(1940-1943) I could find were France & Thailand. Both were invaded & occupied by Axis forces, had governments that were forced to then say “these guys are totally our friends & the people they are fighting are our real enemies”, & a lot of people not buying a word of it who then start a resistance movement to free their homeland. Vichy France was even officially neutral as well. My plan is to treat them in a similar way as Denmark. I’ll try to come up with a more detailed draft for the special country disclaimer that includes Denmark’s official neutrality & how everyday life mostly went unchanged.

You can find my latest post at “Finland’s Desperate Fight - WW2 - 025 - February 16 1940” on the forum or YouTube if you want to know how they are structured. It can be very challenging at times, especially when it comes to gray areas like Denmark. That is why I have special country disclaimers to talk about these unique situations. I’m creating a 3rd parties list for countries & resistance movements that are fighting both the Allies & Axis at the same time(I’m waiting for someone to fit that description before creating it), but I don’t think that’s a really good fit for Denmark as it’s government is pursuing a pro-Axis foreign policy(again against its will) & the resistance is fighting the Axis, but not the Allies.

Thanks for being upfront about being Danish. I’m actually glad you are because I know that this part of the war is complicated & I wanted to have this debate in the forum a few months in advance so after I post it, I can focus on future weeks & it really helps me to have someone from the country in question weigh in. What do you think of Iceland & Greenland during the war? Also, do you by any chance know if Denmark declared war on Japan? I can’t find anything on it.


#9

You make a good case. I think I will go with a protectorate disclaimer after all, with a special country disclaimer after it of course.


#10

But I think there’s a very important difference re. France, in that there were an actual war, the previous official government surrendered, and a new, fascist(-leaning? I’m no expert on the Vichy regime) government were created in it’s place. Sort of like Quisling in Norway. In Denmark the government remained, often pushed back against German demands, and remained emphatically neutral. That said, there’s a good case to be made for calling it a protectorate, and had the war turned out differently, Denmark might have been counted among the ‘victorious’ Axis nations.

I went in and found your comments after writing the previous post. You’re really doing some work! If I can help out with other cases, feel free to hit me up. I’m mostly into the Middle East, so especially in that regard, I might be able to lend a hand, aside from Denmark of course. Re the third parties, my knowledge on the subject is sketchy, but that would be groups such as the chetniks in Yugoslavia?

As said, I’m happy to weigh in when I can be of service. The North Sea dependencies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands were actually in a similar situation. Once Denmark was occupied by Germany, the British quickly occupied these areas to guarantee their independece and neutrality (Read: prevent their use as German bases) which were exactly what the Germans said when invading Denmark. Of course, they didn’t face any resistance, which says something about the view of the populace regarding Germany and the war. Iceland then used the chance to declare independence, in 1944 if memory serves.
Finally, Denmark did not declare war on Japan, or anyone for that matter. Legally, Denmark was at peace during the entire period, as the Germans never declared war when they invaded. Although we did have a small contingent in the previously Danish areas of Schleswig-Holstein during the occupation of Germany post war. The closest thing Denmark comes to declaring war, was probably signing (under duress) the Anti-Comintern Pact, but that is altogether different from declaring war on the Soviet Union.


#11

Not exactly. A few weeks after the surrender, the French National Assembly voted to give dictatorial powers to Prime Minister Philippe Pétain, who then reorganized the Third French Republic into the reactionary “French State”. They did have real authority in southern France, until Operation Anton in 1942 that is.

Thanks, I’ll probably do this sort of thread again in the future. Iran & Iraq come into the picture next year & I’ll be happy to hear your thoughts on them. Also yes, the Chetniks will be in the 3rd parties list at some point.

I did more research & found that the Faroe Islands were an amt/county of Denmark when the British occupation began on April 12th. The local officials welcomed them, but they didn’t have the authority to do so. So at the end of the week, both Germany & Britain have invaded & occupied part of Denmark to “guarantee their independence and neutrality” & were both welcomed by the governing officials of those parts(at least on paper in Germany’s case). If your brains not hurting yet, there’s more. The Danish colony of Greenland feared an Allied invasion from Canada & that it would be given to Norway afterwards, so the sheriffs invoked the emergency clause that gave Greenland self-rule & asked the still neutral U.S. to occupy them. Finally, Iceland at the time was a sovereign kingdom freely associated to Denmark i.e. Denmark handled only foreign and defense matters. Icelanders were not nearly as happy about Britain’s occupation than the Faroese. Greenland & Iceland deserve their own threads. Anyway, since technically both the Allies & Axis violated Danish neutrality by invading & occupying its land for strategic gain, the 3rd parties list might be the best place for your country after all. It’s still not a perfect fit, but that’s what special country disclaimers are for. I’m still working on a revised draft of that.

That’s what I thought. So after Germany surrenders, I’ll take Denmark off the overview as it would then be at peace.


#12

Okay, here is the 2nd draft for Denmark’s special country disclaimer:

"In the 2nd week of April, both Germany & the United Kingdom invaded & occupied parts of Danish territory(Germany occupied Denmark proper & the United Kingdom occupied the Faroe Islands) to “guarantee their independence and neutrality.” Everyday life went on mostly as before with Local authorities in both areas cooperating with the occupiers, though the national Danish government resisted calls by Germany for legal discrimination against Jewish Danes, the death penalty, & German military courts to have jurisdiction over Danish citizens. Throughout this time, Denmark remained officially neutral despite having Axis & Allied forces on its soil. SPOILER WARNING: On August 29, 1943, after refusing to submit to any further German demands, the Danish government was dissolved & the German military took direct control of the country. At that point, I’ll take Denmark off the 3rd parties list & replace the Danish resistance with Denmark(with an occupied disclaimer)."

As stated in the disclaimer, the current game plan is to have Denmark in the 3rd parties list & the Danish resistance in the Allies until 1943. after that, it will be just Denmark(occupied) until Victory in Europe. Also, I think I may only have the special country disclaimer for Denmark & not the resistance. Thoughts, criticisms?


#13

I think this makes a lot of sense. Of course, one could write books - people already have - about the exact diplomatic status of Denmark during the war, but for a youtube comment? this is far better and more specific than anyone could imagine!


#14

Maybe that is what you should use in the disclaimer: a model protectorate


#15

I can add Hitler’s quote to the special country disclaimer, but I think I’ll still have a protectorate disclaimer right before it.


#16

Or we can call it “the sui-generis” situation…


#17

I still think a protectorate disclaimer followed by a special country disclaimer is the best course of action, but I have found “special country disclaimer” to be a bit of a mouthful so sui-generis disclaimer might make a better name.

Anyway, the following is the 3rd draft of Denmark’s “sui-generis disclaimer”.

“In the 2nd week of April, both Germany & the United Kingdom invaded & occupied parts of Danish territory(Germany occupied Denmark proper & the United Kingdom occupied the Faroe Islands) to “guarantee their independence and neutrality.” Everyday life went on mostly as before with Local authorities in both areas cooperating with the occupiers. Hitler hoped that Denmark would be “a model protectorate” that would aide his larger goals. Despite this, the Danish national government resisted calls by Germany for legal discrimination against Jewish Danes, the death penalty, & German military courts to have jurisdiction over Danish citizens. The Danish colony of Greenland(being de facto independent at the time) asked the neutral USA to protect them from invasion by the warring powers. Throughout this time, Denmark remained officially neutral despite having Axis & Allied forces on its soil. SPOILER WARNING: On August 29, 1943, after refusing to submit to any further German demands, the Danish government was dissolved & the German military took direct control of the country. At that point, I’ll take Denmark off the 3rd parties list & replace the Danish resistance with Denmark(with an occupied disclaimer).”

The game plan is the same as last time & I will try to start a thread for Greenland & Iceland’s placement soon.