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World War II Wiki
World War II Wiki

Denmark is a Nordic nation located in Northern Europe and shares a boundary with the Baltic Sea. Its capital Copenhagen is located on Denmark's largest archipelago, Aalborg, Odense, and Arhus are located on the mainland. Denmark's national language is Danish, however, German and Greenlandic are recognized minority languages. Most of Denmark is flat with rolling hills, a temperate terrain. The official currency is the Danish Kroner.

During WW2, Denmark fell to Nazi Germany within 2 hours. Resistance movements continued in the country. In 1943, when the Danish government was told by Germany to cease resistance activities, they refused. Denmark was then forced to hand over its Jewish population, however, 90% of Danish Jews survived the Holocaust from protection by the resistance movements.

Pre-War History

During WW1, Denmark had been a neutral nation, however, the nation found it difficult to have to deal with both Britain  and Germany, facing the toll from the German U-Boats. At the end of the war and during the Interwar Period, Denmark remained neutral. During the Great Depression, the Nordic Countries, including Denmark faired much better during the Great Depression. Defense spending into the Danish Army was minimal before the outbreak of WW2.

World War ll

In 1939, at the start of the first world war, Denmark signed a non-aggression treaty with Nazi Germany. The next year, Germany openly violated that agreement by invading Denmark. German soldiers crossed the border outright, others were ferried in to make naval landings, and a few were parachuted in key points across the country. This was all apart of Operation Weserbung, the planned German invasion of Norway and Denmark. Germany had no interest in Denmark itself, however, its airbases would be needed to launch an attack on Norway. After 2 hours of fighting, the Royal Guards had held off German soldiers long enough for King Christian X to sign a surrender.

Following the German invasion, Denmark remained a sovereign nation in theory. That changed in 1942 when the king's happy birthday message to Hitler was flat out refused. The illusion of independence was dropped soon thereafter. 

Danish resistance movements remained sporadic and also in a precarious situation. War had never been officially declared by Denmark on Germany, and thus there had been no official war and Denmark was allowed to keep its government and other institutions. Any resistance could not be supported by the allies for legal reasons. Resistance movements still sprung up. Information was usually passed to the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Violence was heavily condoned within the resistance. Sabotage increased rapidly from 1943 onward. When Hitler sent the Danish government an ultimatum to condemn resistance fighters to do death, they refused. As a result, the government resigned and Denmark officially became an occupied country and the actions of the resistance were justified.

In September 1943, the resistance movement pulled off an impressive feat in which thousands of Danish Jews were successfully sent to neutral Sweden via small fishing boats. 90% of Danish jews would die during the Holocaust, statistically the lowest death rate from any occupied nation. 7,000 Danish jews successfully escaped. Only 472 would be caught by the Gestapo, and 52 die. The Danish Freedom Council was created to unify the splintered resistance movements. Its ranks grew to 20,000. In the lead up the D-Day, sabotage grew to tie down German forces in Northern France.

Dutch overseas territories began to split from Denmark. The Faeroe Islands were occupied by Britain and Iceland eventually declared independence from Denmark. due to American and British pressure, both nations already had a naval base on the island.

When allied victory appeared imminent, popular resistance broke out across the country, supplied with arms by the SOE. The day after Germany's surrender, the resistance took control of the country.  

Danish Air Force

Denmark already had a downgraded military before the war. The air force used outdated planes such as the Hawker Nimrod. Construction on the Fokker D XXI fighter began but was never finished. The Danish in the military would later escape during the German occupation to Sweden and form air divisions.