KING CHRISTIAN X
Christian X was born September 26, 1870, near Copenhagen, Denmark. He was the eldest son of King Frederick VIII and Louise of Sweden and Norway.
In 1912, when Christian was 42 years old, he became King of Denmark. King Christian accomplished a lot during his reign. In 1915, he signed a new constitution that gave Danish women the right to vote in elections. Two years later, in 1917, the king sold the Danish West Indies to the United States. King Christian's government converted lots of useless land into good farming land and helped Danish businesses expand into countries all over the world.
King Christian tried to improve life for his people, and the Danes respected their king for his efforts. However, King Christian should be remembered not only for these political accomplishments but also for his kindness. During his reign, King Christian made it a point to ride in the morning throughout the streets of Copenhagen without the protection of bodyguards. He trusted his subjects, and wanted to meet and greet them in their world. When Germany invaded Denmark in 1940, people wondered if the king would continue his morning rides. He did.
Although King Christian was sad that Denmark could not fight back against Germany, he was determined not to let the Nazis get the best of Denmark. By continuing his morning rides, he showed the Germans that he could not be initimidated, and the Danes drew comfort and hope from their king. King Christian did not go out of his way to be cruel to the Germans, but he was good at giving Germans the "cold shoulder"--he ignored them. This angered the Germans.
In August 1943, the Nazis forced King Christian to leave the throne and broke up Denmark's government and military. Worst of all, the Nazi leaders planned to round up all of the Danish Jews and sent them to a concentration camp. The king no longer had the power to negotiate with Germany.
The country of Denmark came to the aid of its Danish Jews; thousands of Danes stepped in to help the Danish Jews escape from the Nazis. During World War II, there were 8000 Jews in Denmark; 7500 of them successfully fled to freedom in Sweden with the assistance of non-Jewish Danish.
The Danes considered themselves Danes first; differences in religion were not as important as being a citizen of Denmark. King Christian's leadership demonstrated his support of this idea. He treated every Dane as a Dane--not as a Jew, a Catholic, or a Lutheran. King Christian died in 1947.
Sources: "Christian X," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2000. Copyright 1997-200 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. "Christian X," Britannica Online.
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