HC Deb 19 July 1944 vol 402 cc170-2
10. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what information he has respecting the strike in Denmark against certain enactments of the Nazi authorities; to what extent the strike was successful; and what was the approximate loss of life.

Mr. Eden

My information confirms the reports which have appeared in the Press about the recent strikes in Copenhagen. My hon. Friend will not, I think, wish me to repeat these Press reports in detail. The salient points as they have reached us are as follows:

The strikes were a spontaneous expression of Danish indignation with certain oppressive measures of the Germans, notably the curfew imposed in the Copenhagen area on the 26th June and the activities of the Schalburg Corps, a body of Danish traitors used by the Germans to dragoon the Danish population. The Germans took immediate and severe measures to put down the strikes. At this point the Danish Council of Freedom stepped in and declared that there would be no return to work until the Germans had fulfilled certain demands. The strikes were maintained until the Germans had given way on all points. There can therefore be no doubt that the strikes were an overwhelming success. We have therefore seen the heartening spectacle of the civilian population of an enemy-occupied city enforcing their demands on the German military authorities. According to Danish Press sources, 96 Danes lost their lives in this operation.

Mr. Sorensen

Is there any means by which we can express our congratulations and appreciation to the Danish people for this successful strike?

Mr. Eden

I made the statement because I thought the House would like to have an opportunity of hearing what happened.

Mr. W. J. Brown

May I ask if this was a general strike?

Mr. Eden

It may well be called a national strike.

Mr. J. J. Lawson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the House will be grateful to him for his definition of what constitutes a successful strike?

Mr. Eden

I am sure that we can count on similar national unity to that which the Danes have shown.

Mr. Thorne

Does it not prove the power of the workers when they are organised?

Mr. Speaker

We cannot pursue this matter further.