1 The Department of Culture and Identity, Roskilde University2 Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University
I would like to try to outline some explanations on why the Danish parliamentary system survived the extremist and totalitarian challenge of the interwar years and thereby did not end up shearing fate with the neighboring Weimar Republic. In choosing this approach, I willingly risk some degree of generalization, but since the research-subject of political violence, in a Danish context, is largely absent and at best minimal, I have concluded that for the sake of the wider perspective, it is imperative to focus on the framework as a prerequisite for a more detailed study of political violence in Denmark. Regarding the interwar years, the Danish political parties and conditions had many structural and ideological similarities with the neighboring German Weimar Republic. But more important, the situation also differed significantly in terms of particular historical and actor-based conditions– e.g. in terms of democratic resolve, maneuverability and stability. Unlike the Weimar republic, the Danish Social Democratic government, which was in power from 1928 to 1943, managed to isolate and contain the extremist threat and thereby overcame the challenges from both the extreme right and left of the interwar years. Therefore, a crucial question is why did the political extremism and violence of the interwar years not manage to scuttle the Danish democracy? And second, why were both fascist and communist protagonists unsuccessful in subverting parliamentarism through a strategy of political violence? To gain an understanding of the decisive factors, we need to turn the attention to both macro-structural and particular historical and actor-based conditions.