Labour History Review

'We have a lot to learn!' American Influences on Danish Social Democracy and Organized Labour in the Early 1950s: Transnational Perspectives

Labour History Review (2010), 75, (1), 44–59.

Abstract

Focusing on the period of post-war European reconstruction, this article examines the ways in which the US influenced the course of social democracy in Denmark. Under the Marshall Plan, trade unionists were invited to see America with their own eyes to learn about 'the American way of life'. The Danes turned out not to be particularly interested in American ways of organizing trade unions and were not afraid to lecture the Americans on social rights. However, they did not have any problems in accepting that American-style productivity was a 'key to plenty'. The Social Democrats' plans for a welfare society were reinforced both by their visit to the prestigious New Deal project TVA and by their perception of what was still missing in the otherwise rich America. In their minds, the American concept of productivity and their own demand for full employment and social security would pave the way for a prosperous Denmark, where all levels of society would share the benefits of rising standards of living.

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Details

Author details

Fossat, Sissel Bjerrum