World War I and the Interwar period


World war, roaring twenties and goulash barons

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World War I and the Great Depression left their indelible marks on the early part of the 20th century. It saw profiteering goulash barons enrich themselves, but it also saw the birth of jazz, the spread of electricity, great expectations and the political agreements that laid the foundation for the welfare state. It also meant leisure, holidays, campgrounds and the world's first female cabinet minister.

During the summer of 1914, war swept through Europe. What was known at that time as the Great War held the continent in its bloody grip until 1918. Thanks to skilful diplomacy – and calculating great powers who had no use for Denmark – the country was untouched by the ravages of war. Nevertheless, the war did leave a deep impression. Farmers, shipowners and businessmen all profited during the war years by selling the warring powers the supplies they needed. The word goulash baron" was coined as a none-too-flattering term for those that got rich on the war. But for most Danes, the biggest concern was the high cost of living. The government stepped in to help by imposing controls on industrial production and prices, and by implementing rationing.

Whole again
Even though Denmark was not directly involved in World War I, it was never far off. Germany was worried that Britain would attack from the north via Denmark and built defensive positions along its border …

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