5 May 1945
What was the occupation time?
During World War II, neutral Denmark was attacked and captured by Germany on April 9, 1940. On the same day, the Danish government chose to bow to the German demand for unconditional surrender. Denmark was thus occupied by the German occupying power, and the occupation lasted until the German surrender on 5 May 1945. These well over five years have since been called the Danish occupation period, and the words signal that during that time Denmark was occupied and subject to a foreign power. So under a German supremacy.
This immediately meant that Denmark shared a harsh fate with countries such as Norway, France and Poland, which were also occupied by Nazi Germany. But unlike these countries, the occupation of Denmark was far more gentle. Denmark was not treated as a hostile, war-obsessed country, where the Germans took over the state's authority and systematically oppressed and abused its population. On the contrary, the Germans regarded Denmark as a special case, which entailed a peaceful occupation with emphasis on the Danes as good trading partners.
In this way, government, state and public administration could in many ways continue on Danish hands in the period after April 9, 1940.
Which dates are particularly important in the "story" of the occupation period Denmark?
Three dates are particularly important when dealing with the Danish occupation period:
o On April 9, 1940
o On August 29, 1943
o On May 5, 1945.
The dates are milestones in the "tale" of when Denmark became occupied, went to resistance and was liberated. One can thus speak of a phase before and a phase after the August uprising in 1943. The first phase was the sign of cooperation, while the second phase belonged to the resistance.
What was the August uprising and the reason for it?
The August 1943 uprising included a series of general strikes, mass demonstrations and violent street riots, which took place in Danish provincial towns, where ordinary people openly revolted against the occupying power.
The August uprising was a decisive factor in the fall of the Scavenius government, and the uprising triggered an avalanche of events that caused the Danish-German cooperation policy to change character. The August uprising marked a turning point in the occupation period towards a new, second phase.
The August uprising took place in the face of the major and decisive German defeats in Russia and Africa, as well as the eventual fall of fascist Italy. This created an optimistic and aggressive atmosphere in the Danish population, which began to believe in the war and thus the end of the Occupation.
At the same time, the German occupation force sharpened its course as a result of significantly more Danish sabotage actions.
How did the liberation proceed?
Friday, May 4, 1945 at 20:35 the message of liberation was heard on the BBC's radio: "At this moment it is announced that Montgomery has announced that the German troops in the Netherlands, North West Germany and Denmark have surrendered." According to "Gad's Lexicon of Danish Occupation Period 1940-45", page 26 (see sources). Denmark was free again! Cheering crowds filled the street scene. In the windows, candles were lit as a sign that the dark time was over.
The next morning, May 5, at 1 p.m. At 08.00 the German capitulation came into force. This happened by the English General Dewing landing in Copenhagen and receiving the formal capitulation of German General Lindemann. However, Bornholm had to wait until 9 May at. 00:00 on the Germans surrendering to the Soviet forces. On May 12, the Danes were able to celebrate their English liberator and hero, Field Marshal Montgomery, who drove through Copenhagen in triumph.
On May 5, the underground army was mobilized. With this, the strong military waiting groups, the Danish Brigade and all the "Latter-day Saints" finally came into action.
Source: faktalink.dk/titelliste/besat [Danish language]
5 May 1945 in Copenhagen
In December 1943, Germany announced that its troops would blow up any Danish business unwilling to give supplies to Germany. The Danish resistance reacted by sabotaging the railroad tracks used by Germany to move its troops across Europe. In response, Germany arrested those resistance members responsible for the explosions and sent them to labor camps in Germany. The Nazis also blamed the Danish police force for the country's defiance and sent almost the entire force to concentration camps in 1944.
The Nazis did not allow the Danish government that had been in place until September 1943 to return to power. They dissolved the parliament, took away King Christian's power, and placed him under house arrest. Denmark's main source of guidance was now the Danish Freedom Council. This group served openly as the main body of the Danish resistance, and Denmark now looked to its members for leadership.
During the spring of 1945, Germany was losing its control over most of Europe. On May 5, the Nazis finally surrendered to the Allies. Danes hung welcome signs and thank-you posters to get ready for the arrival of British troops; white candles glowed in the windows of most Danish homes--bright symbols of hope for the future. After more than five years of German occupation, Danes would once again rule Denmark.
World War II took its toll across Europe. Denmark lost some of its citizens, but its losses were not nearly as great as in neighboring countries. Of 5,975 Danes imprisoned in camps by the Germans, 562 died. This number includes 58 of the 474 Danish Jews sent to Theresienstadt in October 1943.
Source: The Bitter Years: 'The Invasion and Occupation of Denmark and Norway April 1940-May 1945' by Richard Petrow and 'Denmark during the final years' by the Royal Danish Embassy, Washington, D.C.
Welcome to Peachtree Publishers' Guide to
So all the informations on this page is to inform you about the time when Denmark was freed from the German occupation and the end of the World War II. This happened in most of Denmark on 5 May 1945. The eastern island Bornholm stayed occupied of the Russian until 5 April 1946 and this also was a day of happiness when all of Denmark finally became free again.
In May 2020 Some Danish Radio Amateurs are going together in a Team to celebrate this special day 75 years ago, and you may find informations on this website for your chance to adopt a special Award.