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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/17

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK BEFORE AND DURING THE WORLD WAR

Introduction

The economic and social transformation which will be a natural consequence of the World War will of course differ in strength and character in the various countries. The greatest change may perhaps be expected in the nations which bore the brunt of the struggle, whether they emerged victorious or vanquished. In time of war the individual is naturally merged in the state to a much greater degree than in time of peace. For the last four or five years the peoples at war have been schooling themselves, so to speak, in socialism. Now that the war is over they will seek to throw off the restraints of the school; but certain results of their experiences will be deeply impressed upon them, in spite of all reversion toward individualism.

But the small nations, which happily did not actively participate in the World War, have also undergone changes determined in strength and character by their entire preceding development. The change of conditions in these small countries may seem to offer a quite insignificant subject for inquiry when considered from the standpoint of the world at large. Their combined populations constitute but a small percentage of the population of Europe; that of the kingdom of Denmark is not 2 per mille of the population of the earth. Still, there is profit in such an inquiry. In the whirling stream in which society is now drifting there is, as it were, a current for each country; and the smaller the country, the easier the task of following its course. In a diminutive state such as Denmark the same forces are