My heritage is Danish and so I feel a certain obligation to understand the role of Denmark in the war. There are four Scandinavian countries: Iceland (allied possession during the war); Norway (occupied and resisted); Denmark (occupied and resisted); and Sweden (neutral but anti-German). Finland is not Scandinavian.
Denmark, a small country of only 4 million, was overrun within 24 hours in April, 1940. Denmark borders Germany and Danes and Germans share a lot of common culture. The Germans recognized the importance of Denmark for its food supply and its strategic location. As such, the Germans "went light" on the Danes.
Many brave stories came out of the Danes struggle to harass and damage the German war effort. The most significant strategic contribution of Denmark took place immediately after D-Day when the resistance bombed rail lines and such and prevented the Germans from rushing reinforcements to the new front.
They also found the wreckage of one of the early V1s on Bornholm Island. The intel from that discovery led to the bombing of Peenemude, the Nazi V-weapons development site.
A famous mission of the war was the twin raids on the Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen and Arhus. Shell House in Copenhagen was bombed by RAF Mosquitos (Canadian made) at very low flight levels. The Germans had created a prison for resistance fighters on the roof of Shell House and the Mosquitos literally had to skip their bombs in through the front doors of the building. Germans died, Danes survived.
For those involved, including my father, the most famous Danish accomplishment was to get almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark out and over to Sweden just one day before they were due to be rounded up and exported to the German camps.
Like any other occupied country, the Danish underground conducted sabotage raids and paid the price, usually in the form of torture and death. Many civilians were shot in retribution. The underground also killed many Danish collaborators (it was called liquidation).
Many amusing-in-hindsight stories also came out. The one I like best is the British radio kits that were sent to Denmark during the war. They ran on AC. Denmark at the time was DC. The Danes, took the British version apart and made a new one. It was 1/3 the size, ran on AC or DC, and was more rugged and much easier to manufacture. Eventually, the British adopted the Danish design.
Also amusing, the Germans set up guard posts at key intersections in the city. They were protected by 4 foot tall concrete walls . The wall left only the German's head and shoulders exposed. The Danes, as they walked by, would hang signs on the wall saying "This Nazi is not wearing any pants."
One attack was called the Smorrebrod Raid. Danish airport workers smuggled plastic explosives into their airport and placed time-delayed bombs all over the place. They smuggled them in in what we would call their lunch boxes (Smorrebrod means "Butter and Bread") which the German's did not search. After such a raid, the "perps" would generally be smuggled out of Denmark to Sweden.
It should be said that the Norwegians fought and brave fight against the Germans and suffered terribly. Sweden, while technically neutral, provided aid to its neighbors at every opportunity, risking the wrath of the Nazi's.
Lee Moller is a life-long skeptic and atheist and the author of The God Con.