Hello, I'm new to this outstanding forum, and, wow, this thread goes a long way back. Long live the long living thread!
A few comments and answers:
First, lets be real. I think its generally acknowledged --also among Danes -- that compared with the atrocities in other European countries, the invasion as well as life during the occupation of Denmark was relatively peaceful and quiet. As documented in the prizewinning book, "Flødeskumsfronten" (by Peter Fogtdahl, 2001) and subsequent tv-series, the German soldiers had a nickname for Denmark during WWII: "der Sahnefront"!
The Invasion, 9 April 1940
When Germany attacked Denmark on 9 April 1940, there were only scarce fighting in Southern Jutland and around the King's castle, Amalienborg, in Copenhagen. Total Danish losses: 11 soldiers, 2 anti-aircraft personal and 3 border gendarmes. Even though the Danish army was vastly outnumbered and poorly equipped, it did offer some resistance. Indeed, though the precise German casulties are unknown, they are believed to be much higher than the Danish casulties. What is known is the Danish army destroyed 12 panzer vehicles, 4 tanks + many trucks and motor cycles. Nearly all this action took place in Southern Jutland where only 2,000 Danish soldiers were stationed. Several German bombers were also hit by the Danish anti-aircraft and one Heinkel He 111 was shot down. Two German soldiers were captured. Nevertheless, the Danish government officially surrendered after only two hours of fighting.
Protectorate Government 1940-43
I here refer to the wiki on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_Denmark
As a result of the cooperative attitude of the Danish authorities, German officials claimed that they would "respect Danish sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as neutrality. The German authorities were inclined towards lenient terms with Denmark for several reasons:
• They had no particular strategic or ideological interests in the country, so they were ready to leave the responsibilities and burdens of administration to a Germanic 'brother' people.
• Their only strong interest in Denmark, that of surplus agricultural products, would be supplied rather by price policy on food than by control and restriction. Some German records indicate that the German administration had not fully realized this potential before the occupation took place, which can be doubted.
• They also hoped to score propaganda points by making Denmark, in Hitler's words, "a model protectorate." It would show to the world what a future Nazi controlled Europe could be.
• On top of these more practical goals, Nazi race ideology held that Danes were "fellow Nordic Aryans," and could therefore to some extent be trusted to handle their own domestic affairs.
These factors combined to allow Denmark a very favourable relationship with Nazi Germany. The government remained (somewhat) intact and the parliament continued to function more or less as it had before. They were able to maintain much of their former control over domestic policy.[ The police and judicial system remained in Danish hands and unlike most occupied countries, King Christian X remained in the country as Danish Head of State. The German Reich was formally represented by a Reichsbevollmächtigter ('Reich Plenipotentiary'), i.e. a diplomat accredited to the Sovereign, a post awarded to Cecil von Renthe-Fink, the German ambassador, and then in November 1942 to the lawyer and SS-general Werner Best.
Thus to answer Caraphilus' question, Werner Best (and Renthe-Fink) were Reich Plenipotentiaries, which is akin to an ambassador with full powers to represent his country.
In the beginning of the occupation, life largely went on as normal. There were no airraids, no sabotages by resistance groups (the first organized sabotage took place in Spring 1942), and relatively little shortage of foods. The only real change from normal was the blackout (obligation to cover house lightening with black curtains etc) plus the prohibition against private car driving ( due to shortage of gasoline) imposed immediately after 9 April.
Rationering of goods was introduced already at the outbreak of the war in September 1939 and it was gradually tightened and broadened as the war went on. Coal and gasoline were the first commodities to be rationed (in September 39) followed by coffee, sugar and the, but before long most daily commodities were rationed. By January 1942, it was impossible to buy coffee and cocoa.Also, over time prices skyracketted and black markets arose. But no one died of hunger during the war.
Another effect, of course, was the presence of German soldiers. Though they were largely confined to their barracks, they did visit Danish shops where many of them bought a lot of goods--something that didn't help their image in the eyes of the Danish population. But until 1942, their was no violent resistance.
Commenting on Aues-ghueder's remark, surely the Danish Communist Party
was not banned until Germany attacked Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. Banning the DKP would have been a bad move due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, wouldn't it?
Thus, until June 1941, DKP (which was represented by 6 members in parliament) continued to function like other Danish political parties which were all subject to German censorship. On 22 June 1941, Renthe-Fink ordered the Danish police to arrest 150 named Communists, including the six parliamentary members who according to Danish law should have enjoyed immunity. Subsequently, the reminder of the parliament (except from two social-liberal members) voted for the socalled Communist Law that prohibited DKP and gave the Danish police wide-ranging powers. This led to more arrests of Communist party members. At first the Communists were detained in the Danish prison camp, Horserød (north of Copenhagen) but in 1943, they were transferred to German KZ-camps. Most of them ended up in the Stutthof KZ camp. (check out this site: http://www.horserød-stutthofforeningen.dk/
) The communists not arrested were very active in the resistance army where they were organized in the group called BOPA. And partly as a consequence of this, the party was very popular in the early post-war years.
Active resistance - the turning point
As mentioned, the first organized sabotage took place in Spring 1942. But it was only in late 1942, that the resistance really started to pick up. Several factors determined the timing:
• Growing disenchantment with the state of affairs ("we too must fight the Germans") but it took some time to get groups organized.
• The turning point of Nazi-Germany's war fortunes with the defeat at El-Alamein in September 1942 and Stalingrad in January 1943.
• The socalled Telegram-crisis (cf. wiki link above) in late September 1942 which marked the starting point of a soured relationship between Berlin and Copenhagen.