The obvious encyclopedic site surprisingly has nothing on this in its article about Denmark in WWII. It alludes to a British occupation force after the war, but is not clear who actually liberated them during the war.

So who was it? British or Soviets? And where can I read more about that particular liberation?

4 Answers 4


From the article you linked:

Most of Denmark was liberated from German rule in May 1945 by British forces commanded by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery; the easternmost island of Bornholm was liberated by Soviet forces, who remained there for almost a year`.

Given the dates, one thinks that (like in many other parts which were not in the main road to Berlin) the allies did not actually liberate it during the war, but occupied it / captured the german garrison after Germany had already surrendered; the map in this other article confirms it. So, no battles (neither big nor small) and not too much activity (compared with other liberations).

  • 1
    Thanks, I somehow missed that paragraph despite noticing a few lines down the Soviet bombing of Bornholm.
    – DrZ214
    Jul 27, 2015 at 0:06
  • @Mark please post that as an answer
    – smci
    Jul 27, 2015 at 4:05

"Liberation" is a bit misleading. The German occupation of Denmark ended as part of the May 4 surrender of German troops in Denmark, Netherlands, and northwestern Germany. No actual combat or invasion was involved; troops under Field Marshal Montgomery walked in essentially unopposed.

  • 3
    There was some sporadic fighting between Danish resistance and German troops in the confusion following the surrender, from what I have heard from people who served, but that was more a result of the liberation than a cause of it.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jul 27, 2015 at 11:16

Bornholm was occupied by the Soviets during 1945-1946.

A second source with links for each part of Denmark

  • Mainland: Fighting was mostly between Danes resistance/german_hilf_polizei (also Danes).

  • Greenland: During the war protected by Britain, Canada, and USA. According to agreement with Danish ambassador Kaufmann.

  • Iceland: From 1918 until 1944 Iceland was self-governing, but the Danish King was Head of State of both Denmark and Iceland. As with the Faeroe Islands, the United Kingdom occupied Iceland (to preempt a German occupation) but later turned it over to the United States, before that country entered the war in 1941. Iceland became a fully independent republic in 1944 and has remained so thereafter.

  • Faeroe Islands: After the occupation of Denmark, British forces made a preemptive invasion of the Faeroe Islands – then still a Danish amt (county) – to prevent their occupation by German troops.


Denmark was mostly "liberated" by a surrender of German armed forces in the Netherlands, Northwest Germany, and Denmark to British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery This took place on May 4, 1945 at Luneberg Heath, Germany.

This surrender was initiated by the Flensburg government in nearby Flensburg, Germany, under Admiral Karl Doenitz, who had been appointed as Hitler's successor in Hitler's last will and testament (the Navy was the one branch of service that had not disappointed Hitler).

The Bornholm Island, well east of the rest of Denmark, was occupied by Soviet troops on May 9, 1945, notwithstanding the earlier surrender of Denmark discussed above.

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