Social Democratic Party of Denmark

Social Democratic Party of Denmark


(SDPD; Dan-marks Socialdemokratiske Parti), a party founded in 1871 as a section of the First International by the Danish socialists L. Pio, P. Geleff, C. Brix, and others. In 1872 the party was dissolved by the government on charges of revolutionary activity. It was reestablished as the Social Democratic Union in 1876 and was renamed the Social Democratic Party of Denmark in 1884.

Although the SDPD enjoyed considerable influence in the Danish workers’ movement, reformism prevailed over revolutionary tendencies within the party leadership; the workers C. Hørdum, P. Holm, and P. Knudsen were the main adherents of revolutionary change. The party received representation in parliament in 1884. In 1889 it joined the Second International. In the early 1900’s influence was won by members of the opportunist trend, including F. Borbjerg, J. Jensen, and T. Stauning, who became chairman of the party in 1910. Representatives of the SDPD became members of the bourgeois government in 1913. During World War I (1914-18) the SDPD promoted “civil peace.”

As a result of the upsurge in the revolutionary movement in Denmark, under the influence of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, leftist elements withdrew from the SDPD in 1918 and 1919 and took part in the formation of the Communist Party of Denmark in 1920. The Social Democrats headed the government of Denmark from 1924 to 1942, except for the period 1926-29. After the occupation of Denmark in April 1940 by fascist Germany, the Social Democratic government collaborated with the invaders. Some leaders of the SDPD, including H. Hedtoft and H. C. Hansen, helped direct the resistance movement.

The SDPD headed the Danish government from 1945 to 1975, except for the periods 1946-47, 1950-53, and 1968-71 and the year 1974. Under Social Democratic governments, Denmark entered the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (1948), NATO (1949), the European Free Trade Association (I960), and the Common Market (1972). In the extraordinary elections of February 1977, the SDPD won 65 seats (against 53 in 1975) in the Folketing. In 1977 the SDPD had 126,000 members.

The SDPD belongs to the Socialist International. A. J0rgensen became party chairman in 1973, replacing J. O. Krag, who had served from 1962 to 1973. The major publication of the party is the newspaper Aktuelt.


Bertolt, O., E. Christiansen, and P. Hansen, En Bygning virejser, vols. 1-3. Copenhagen, 1954-55.
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