Denmark in the 1950’s

By | December 18, 2021

Population. – According to the 1955 census the population of Denmark was 4.448.401 residents, Showing an increase from the previous census (1945) of 403.169 units; in the last century the population has tripled and the increase has occurred not only in the big cities, but also in the countryside; the birth rate remains high although it has shown a decline in recent years; it was 21 ‰ between 1941 and 1950 and 17.3 ‰ between 1954 and 1955. Emigration and immigration tend to balance: in 1955 the value of the former was 26,763 units and the latter of 18,732 unit; emigration is mainly directed to Canada. The population of the Faroe Islands according to the 1950 census was 31,781. and according to the subsequent evaluation of 1955 of 34,000 residents

Economic conditions. – The balance of agriculture is particularly brilliant, supported above all by forage crops that allow the breeding of numerous livestock; in 1955 the cattle were 3,179,000 heads with a proportion of 65 heads per 100 residents, which is the highest in Europe, after that of Ireland; in the same year the pigs were 4,597,000 with the proportion of 110 heads for every 100 residents. The two farms are closely linked to each other as the first, in addition to supporting a developed dairy industry, allows the animals to be fed by the second with the residues of milk processing.

Commerce. – Trade is still affected by the imbalance caused by the war and by the general approach of the economy based on the export of agricultural products and the importation of food and raw materials. In 1957, imports had a surplus of 1367.1 million crowns over exports; these are represented for 24% by dairy products and 22% by meat; in the same year exports were directed to West Germany, England, Sweden, USA; these countries appear in the same order in the ranking of imports. The values ​​of exchanges with Italy remain modest.

Communications. – The size of the merchant navy in 1957 was 751 ships with a gross tonnage of 1,870,000 tons; Compared to 1947 there has been a decrease in units in this field, accompanied, however, by an increase in tonnage and a modernization of all units.

Constitution. – According to the Constitution approved in 1953, the legislative power of the state is exercised by a single chamber, the Folketing, elected by direct universal suffrage (see below).

Finances. – The development of the Danish economy depends to a considerable extent on the development of foreign relations. In particular, the financial policy is implemented in strict dependence on the trend of the balance of payments, whose inflows and outflows represent about a quarter of the gross national product. For Denmark public policy, please check

Since 1950, the central bank has taken various restrictive measures in order to counter inflationary trends and protect the country’s foreign exchange reserves. For the same purposes, fiscal measures were adopted in June 1957, especially aimed at restricting private consumption. The country was thus able to take full advantage of the favorable cyclical movements of international trade, significantly improving its terms of trade. On the domestic front, at the same time, a long-term compulsory loan was issued to cover the state deficit and consolidate the public debt that had previously accumulated. The collection of funds was staggered over two years within which the categories of higher income taxpayers could subscribe. In November 1958, with the contribution of the banks and the central bank, a new financial institution was created, which aims to assist industrial enterprises in their development and in their work abroad. And this through the granting of loans, both short and medium and long term, the assumption of shareholdings and the provision of guarantees.

The official parity of the kroner is 6.907 per 1 US dollar With the introduction of convertibility for non-residents in December 1958, exchanges of other currencies are established on the same basis and can vary within the permitted limits of 0.75% more. or less than the change of parity.

History. – The experience in the Second World War during which (1940), despite its declared neutrality, it had been invaded by Germany, led Denmark to seek guarantees of defense in the political-military association with other states. From this concern arose both the accession to the Atlantic Pact, signed in Washington on April 4, 1949, and the commitment to find organizational forms to the tradition of understanding, of continuous political contacts, of searching for common solutions to the international problems on the table, of economic integration, existing between the states of northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland). It was precisely in the Danish capital that the foreign ministers of the Nordic countries recognized, on November 20, 1950, the need for a broader agreement; was the leader Danish Social Democrat Hans Hedtoft who presented the proposal for the creation of a Nordic Council to the Scandinavian Interparliamentary Conference in Stockholm in August 1951; it was in Copenhagen that the work of the Committee responsible for drafting the statute of the Council took place (February 1952) and that the Nordic foreign ministers met for the approval of the definitive text (March 1952), which came into force at the beginning of 1953.

If the Nordic understanding remained a staple of Danish politics and developed smoothly, accession to the Atlantic Pact created repeated diplomatic difficulties with the USSR, especially after a Danish-US treaty was signed (April 27, 1951), in replacement of that of 9 April 1941, with which Greenland was included in the defense area of ​​the Atlantic Pact, and particularly after the Atlantic conference in Lisbon, of February 1952, posed the problem of building military bases in Danish territory with the possibility of being occupied in peacetime by Anglo-American troops. The Danish government, along the lines of the other members of the Nordic Council,

Inside, too, the problem of the Atlantic bases remained the theme from which the political controversy drew greater liveliness, attributing to it, by the radical and communist opposition, that certain imbalance that existed in the country’s economic life. But the internal event of greatest political impact was (1953) the constitutional revision, already unsuccessfully attempted in 1939 given the complexity of the procedure to be followed, requiring practically the agreement of all the major parties: in fact, in the first place approval is required. of the two Chambers (Folketing or Lower House and Landsting or upper house), then the dissolution of these and a new vote by the newly elected chambers and finally the approval of the changes with a popular referendum in which at least 45 percent of those registered to vote give a favorable opinion. The agreement between the parties was reached on January 8, 1953 on four changes: on the system of succession to the throne, in the sense of allowing, in the absence of male heirs, succession in the female line (the change was urgent because the reigning Frederick IX had only three daughters); the suppression of the upper house and the increase of the members of the only House that would remain, the Folketing, from 151 to 178, including the two representatives of Greenland for which the abolition of the status was foreseencolonial and transformation into a Danish county; the recognition of at least one third of the deputies of the right to submit a law already approved by the majority to a popular referendum, provided that they are not provisions relating to the budget; the possibility of transferring part of national sovereignty to international organizations. The revision process went successfully. 1953 also marked the transition from a coalition government between agrarians and conservatives to a social democratic one-color government, first chaired by H. Hedtoft, then, after his death in January 1955, by HC Hansen and, on the death of Hansen (19 February 1960), by Wiggo Kanpmann.

Denmark in the 1950's