Erik Scavenius was the Danish foreign minister from 1913 to 1920, which included during World War One. One of his key aims was to ensure that Denmark remained neutral during the war and avoided any confrontation with Germany. His detailed knowledge of Germany and German diplomacy helped Denmark maintain its position, despite its strategic location as the gateway to the Baltic.
Scavenius was a shrewd diplomat and important to foreign trade. By involving key business people Scavenius managed to convince both Britain and Germany that they, too, had an interest in leaving Danish foreign trade alone, both in terms of export of provisions and import of coal and raw materials.