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Before World War One the social-liberal politician P Munch (1870-1948) advocated to dissolve conflict through negotiation, arbitration and disarmament. Through their anti-militarism, he and other international social-liberals were in favour of pacifist prosperity in Europe and Russia. The outbreak of war, however, meant a collapse of Munch’s great aspirations.

In 1914 Munch was minister of defence in the neutral Denmark. In his efforts to keep Denmark out of the war he had to back down on his ideals about disarmament. Munch had the administrative responsibility of a defence force of 50,000 men and the building of a major fortification around Copenhagen. In his memoirs he later wrote, ‘From a bright time of progress in which the (peace-) initiatives could be carried out in a climate of reasonable safety, we had to face a time of misery and hatred characterised by insecurity’.