Change or Continuity in the Danish Elites? Social Movements and the Transition from War to Peace in Denmark, 1945–1947

  • Niels Wium Olesen
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


Seen from the vantage point of 1950 and looking back to the interwar years, Denmark is characterised by a remarkable continuity with regards to the political and economic elites. Five years of German occupation seemed to have generated only insignificant changes in both spheres. Despite the dramatic upheavals of the occupation and the world war outside of Denmark, the political institutions, the leading parties and to a large extent also the principal political personalities of the interwar years remained the same throughout the war and the post-war period. The same goes with regard to the business world. The business organisations, the companies and the elite of businessmen remained largely the same after the war. The article argues that attempts by segments of the Danish resistance to dramatically change the fabric of pre-war society failed because of shrewd manoeuvring by political and business elites and because of lack of public support for far-reaching change.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Wium Olesen
    • 1
  1. 1.Aarhus UniversitetAarhusDenmark

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