The Society for the Promotion of Trade between Denmark and GDR

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Janus König Sørensen
4. term, History, Master (Master Programme)
The period after the 2nd World War was in Denmark, like in many other European countries, characterized by a period of reconstruction and the possibilities for trade in general were due to the extensive devastation and the state of post-war very limited. This was not least the situation with the trade between Denmark and the Eastern Germany (the Soviet Zone). However from the late 1940’s the first initiatives, both on political and commercial level, were being initiated. Especially from the East German zone early attempts were being made in the early fifties to establish and expand the contacts to the different Scandinavian, but also Danish political parties, which traditionally were in favour of the Soviet occupation of Eastern Germany. The natural ideologically collaborator was the Danish Communist Party (DKP), which only posed limited political influence on the various governments in the period. Whereas the much more influential Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokratiet), were reluctant and in some instances dismissive about negotiating directly with the Soviet-zone on governmental level. However in the course of 1948, a bilateral Trade Agreement was made regardless of the political differences between the two countries. The one-year agreement about exchanging of goods came into effect in January 1949 and was the result of a compromise between The Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) and the Danish Government. However this agreement was cancelled with the foundation of GDR later that year, since Denmark on equal terms with other Western European countries refused to acknowledge GDR as a sovereign state. After this both diplomatically and commercially breakdown between the two states, no official trade agreements existed between Denmark and GDR in the period 1950-1974. In other terms the various businesses in both GDR and Denmark had to take their own measures in the continuation of the exchange of goods across the borders. Through the 1950’s various unsuccessful attempts from East German officials were made, to re-establish the diplomatic channels as well as the official trade between GDR and the Nordic countries. In 1956 the East-German Ministry of Foreign Trade (MAH) and the Board of Trade (KfA) made an approach, not through the usual political channels, but to the four most influential trade organisations in Denmark: Grosserer-societetet, Industrirådet, Landbrugsrådet og Provinshandelskammeret. After negotiations an agreement was settled between the Danish Trade Organisations and MAH to establish a practical society to promote and support the trade between the two countries and the advancement of trading of goods. Initially the GDR representatives had favoured an official trade agreement with the Danish authorities or at least a society with representatives of the trade organisations. However the result was the foundation of a seemingly private society with managing director Richard Bustrup and a board consisting of members from private businesses and the funding was raised through taxes from export companies. This private society “The Society for Promotion of Trade between Denmark and GDR” (FSD) was the result of this agreement. Like the society’s Scandinavian counterparts, SUKAB and The Norwegian Society for Barter, this private society organized and administrated the trade between the two countries until the Danish and the Western European recognition of GDR in the course of 1973. The declared purpose of FSD was, as indicated by the name, a neutral and practical society which primary purpose was the promotion of trade between Denmark and the GDR. The primary cause for the GDR representatives to support the privately owned FSD was the anticipation that it would eventually lead into negotiations with the Danish authorities through FSD’s ties with the Danish trade organisations. Even though the FSD was primarily founded as a practical and administrative society with no legal authority, the society became quite influential through practically monopoly of the trade between the two countries. With the support of MAH and KfA representatives the society gained influence and eventually took part of the trade negotiations along with officials from KfA and the Danish trade organisations. Through the corporation with the East-German officials the society gained importance and had numerous meetings with officials from the Danish Ministry of Trade and various trade departments. However in the course of 1965 the society gradually lost its importance due to a more positive development in the relationship between the Federal Republic of Germany and GDR and with the promise of recognition of GDR in close proximity. With the settlement of a long term trade agreement between Denmark and GDR in 1970 the society had lost its main influence and was finally concluded after the Danish recognition of GDR in 1973.
Publication date2005
Number of pages98
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 6141891