In August 1914 the Danish government got a majority vote in the Folketinget (parliament) to carry through the so-called ’August Laws’. Under these laws, by which the government sought to regulate the Danish economy, exports were controlled by the State. A regulated price fixing was adopted with a fixed price ceiling on food provisions granting the State the authority to expropriate (take possession of for public use) stocks. The aim was to navigate Denmark safely through the war both in terms of neutrality and economy. The implementation of these laws was in the hands of the Special Commission, or the so-called ’Commission for Price Regulation’, which consisted of a number of politicians and business executives.
In March 1917 long queues of people were seen in the square of Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen waiting for the distribution of ration cards. During the war all of Europe was hit by the scarcity of goods and provisions. By 1917 the situation in Denmark had reached an extreme where rationing of food provisions and fuel was introduced. This everyday occurrence is captured by Holger Damgaard, photographer for the daily newspaper Politiken.