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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/40

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be obtained, if necessary, by strikes; but soon other aims, such as relief, sickness and burial funds, were also taken up. Local unions were formed in the several towns, each for a certain trade, and all were united in Federated Trade Unions. These, in turn, were connected with the Social-Democratic Society, the chief aim of which was to spread socialistic doctrines.

In the middle of the eighties the membership of the trade unions had grown to about 20,000. This was but a fraction of the total number of workers in Denmark, to be sure, but it was nevertheless sufficient to secure for the working class as such a considerable political influence. From that time on the labour movement advanced rapidly.

As stated above, it was especially from Germany that socialistic ideas spread to Denmark. The German Gewerkschaften, rather than the English trade unions, served as our model, and it was particularly the teachings of Lassalle and Marx which were set forth in our socialistic press. No really new and independent ideas were developed. On the whole it may be said that the labour party had less need of learning socialistic theories than of adopting an efficient policy which would gradually bring it into effective co-operation with the other political parties in Denmark.

We may form an idea of the progress of the Danish labour movement in two ways: first, by following the growth in the membership of the trade unions; second, by noting the results of parliamentary elections. At the close of the last century the total membership of the trade unions was about 100,000. During the first years of this century the number decreased a little, but it soon rose again during the great revival of trade. In 1913 it was 150,000; in 1917, about 200,000. In 1886 the trade unions were consolidated in the Federative Trade Unions of Copenhagen (Samvirkende Fagforeninger i Köbenhavn), and twelve years later there was formed a national organization called The League of Federated Trades, which enrolled most of the members of the older