Danish civilian-military relations can be traced back twelve hundred years in writings. Consequently, any short historical description of civil-military relations in Denmark will have to be painted with a broad brush and therefore be personally biased.
In this chapter five civil-military topics will be touched upon: Denmark's security policy, defense policy, the organization of the armed forces, public opinion on defense matters, and finally a profile of the officer corps and its political opinion compared to that of the Danish population.
Any historical presentation of a country's security policy can be divided into different periods depending on the criterion used.
Two different criteria will be used for the description of Denmark's security policy over the last twelve hundred years. First is the official belief in and use of military power abroad, and second is the presence and/or absence of enemies and allies. In the first case three and in the second six different periods can be identified.
From 800 to 1810, Denmark believed in military power. However, from the beginning of the 1800s, this conviction shifted toward peaceful settlement of conflicts even in matters such as territorial disputes, independence, and ethnic upheavals, in which cases wars were normally to be waged.1 This peaceful security approach continued in the Cold War period2 as we pursued our security policy goals of stopping aggressions, defending democracies, and protecting human beings only verbally, never forcefully. A new and third phase, rather unnoticed, has been introduced. Since 1990, Denmark is prepared to apply military power to realize our security goals, that is, to die for these goals, to phrase it lyrically.