Module 8: The Post-War Era, 1945–1973

By Anne Sørensen, PhD, Senior Adviser, Aarhus University

The German occupation ended on 5 May 1945, when most of Denmark was liberated by British troops. The exception was the Baltic island of Bornholm, which continued to be occupied by the Soviet Union until 1946. The post-war era was marked by international conflicts in new forms: the Cold War and decolonisation. Three central factors characterised Denmark during this period: internationalisation, economic growth and cultural and political change. Politically, economically and militarily, Denmark was connected to the Cold War’s Western bloc through various forms of institutional collaboration. Society enjoyed rapid growth and prosperity, and along with the growing welfare state and the consumer society this meant that the population became wealthier and received more opportunities than ever before. There were also important cultural, social and political shifts, particularly in the form of the youth rebellion and a changed political culture that focused increasingly on single issues and the media. The period ended in 1973 with new ruptures and transitions: Denmark’s entry into the European Community, the oil crisis and the new political scene after the earthquake election of 1973.

Watch this introduction to the module where Anne Sørensen discusses a series of key points for the period 1945-1973. The film is in Danish with English subtitles, and lasts about ten minutes. Click 'CC' and choose 'English' or 'Danish' for subtitles.