Jens Otto Krag

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Jens Otto Krag
Jens Otto Krag 01.jpg
Prime Minister of Denmark
In office
September 3, 1962 – February 2, 1968
Monarch Frederick IX
Preceded by Viggo Kampmann
Succeeded by Hilmar Baunsgaard
In office
October 11, 1971 – October 5, 1972
Monarch Frederick IX
Margrethe II
Preceded by Hilmar Baunsgaard
Succeeded by Anker Jørgensen
Leader of the Social Democrats
In office
1962–1972
Preceded by Viggo Kampmann
Succeeded by Anker Jørgensen
Trade Minister
In office
November 13, 1947 – September 16, 1950
Prime Minister Hans Hedtoft
Preceded by Axel Kristensen
Succeeded by Hans Christian Hansen
Foreign Minister
In office
October 8, 1958 – September 3, 1962
Prime Minister Hans Christian Hansen & Viggo Kampmann
Preceded by Hans Christian Hansen
Succeeded by Per Hækkerup
In office
November 28, 1966 – October 1, 1967
Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag
Preceded by Per Hækkerup
Succeeded by Hans Tabor
Minister without Portfolio
In office
September 30, 1953 – October 31, 1953
Prime Minister Hans Hedtoft
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Office abolished
Minister of Economy and Work
In office
October 31, 1953 – May 28, 1957
Prime Minister Hans Hedtoft & Hans Christian Hansen
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Office abolished
Minister for Foreign Financial Affairs
In office
October 8, 1958 – September 3, 1962
Prime Minister Hans Christian Hansen & Viggo Kampmann
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born (1914-09-15)15 September 1914
Randers
Died June 22, 1978(1978-06-22) (aged 63)
Skiveren
Nationality Danish
Political party Social Democrats
Spouse(s) Birgit Tengroth (1950-1952)
Helle Virkner (1959-1973)
Cand. polit.
Jens Otto Krag
Member of Parliament
In office
1947–1950
In office
1953–1973

Jens Otto Krag (Danish pronunciation: [jɛns ʌto ˈkʁɑːʊ̯ˀ]) (September 15, 1914 – June 22, 1978) was a Danish politician. He was Prime Minister from 1962 to 1968 and again from 1971 to 1972.

Early life and political career[edit]

Krag was born in Randers, Denmark. He joined the Danish Social Democratic Party youth organization in 1930 and rose through the ranks of the party. In the 1930s he moved to Copenhagen and studied economics at the University of Copenhagen while remaining very active in the party.

During World War II, he was Danish supply director and advisor to the labor unions on economic matters. He was elected to Parliament (Folketinget) in 1947 and became Commerce Minister. He supported the strengthening of the Danish military and Danish membership of NATO in 1949.

In 1950 Krag resigned from Parliament partially due to a conflict with Vilhelm Buhl and H. C. Hansen and, in order to become more fluent in the English language and see more of the world, requested a position at the Danish embassy in the United States.[1] He received the position, and was in America until 1953 when he was re-elected to parliament and became a minister without portfolio. He was minister of the new department of foreign economic affairs from 1953 until 1958 and Foreign Minister from 1958 until 1962.

As Prime Minister[edit]

In September 1962 he succeeded Viggo Kampmann as Prime Minister and leader of the Danish Social Democratic Party. He was Prime Minister until February 1968 when the Social Democrats lost power. He became Prime Minister again in 1971 when his party returned to power.

Less than a year into his first term as prime minister, the opposition held a referendum which rejected a set of land laws already passed by Krag's government.

During his second term as Prime Minister, Krag campaigned particularly for European cooperation and unity.[1] He sponsored a referendum for Denmark to join the European Economic Community. In 1972 the referendum passed, but the nation was divided over the issue, and Krag resigned, claiming that he had become tired of politics. His last role in public life was as the European Common Market representative to the United States from 1974 until 1975.

Private life and legacy[edit]

Krag is widely recognised as one of the greatest politicians of all time in Denmark.[1] He was in the front line of politics for 25 years, holding high ministerial offices for most of that time. He managed to raise Denmark's profile on the world stage, striking up strong relationships with fellow European leaders as well as American presidents Kennedy and Johnson. His list of political achievements is also one of the most impressive, overseeing one of the longest periods of economic expansion in Danish history. However, his largest achievement, and the one he himself was most proud of, was taking Denmark into the European Economic Community in 1973. With that task accomplished he felt he could retire at a high point.

Krag was at one and the same time one of the most charismatic and withdrawn Danish politicians ever. He never enjoyed the attention to which he had to subject himself, and many people found him rather arrogant. According to his most thorough (and quite sympathetic) biographer (Bo Lidegaard, Krag I-II, 2001/2002) he never truly settled into the role as a politician, always considering himself on the way 'to somewhere else'.[2] He had always of dreamed of holding was that of governor of the Danmarks Nationalbank. Only when he had definitively quit politics in 1972 did he realise that he would not be able to achieve this goal.

Krag had a difficult private life. He was married twice and had a son (Jens Christian born 1960) and a daughter, Astrid Helene (born 1962), by his second wife, the famous actress Helle Virkner, but also another child outside of wedlock. Both his marriages ended in divorce, largely due to his own infidelity. During his time in politics, he already struggled with alcoholism, an addiction that became more pronounced after his retirement. He died of heart failure in Skiveren, Denmark at the age of 63.

In the Danish TV series Krøniken (2004–2006) he was portrayed by the actor Lars Mikkelsen.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Skou, Kaare R. (2005). Dansk politik A-Å (Danish). Aschehoug, pp. 404-405. ISBN 87-11-11652-8.
  2. ^ Lidegaard, Bo (2001). Jens Otto Krag - 1914-1961 (Danish). Gyldendal. ISBN 978-87-02-02203-2.
  3. ^ Krøniken - DR.dk. (Danish) Retrieved 13 February 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
Axel Kristensen
Trade Minister of Denmark
13 November 1947 – 16 September 1950
Succeeded by
H. C. Hansen
Preceded by
New office
Minister without Portfolio of Denmark
30 September 1953 – 31 October 1953
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
New office
Minister of Economy and Work of Denmark
31 October 1953 – 28 May 1957
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
New office
Minister of Foreign Financial Affairs of Denmark
28 May 1957 – 8 October 1958
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Hans Christian Hansen
Foreign Minister of Denmark
October 8, 1958 – September 3, 1962
Succeeded by
Per Hækkerup
Preceded by
Viggo Kampmann
Prime Minister of Denmark
September 3, 1962 – February 2, 1968
Succeeded by
Hilmar Baunsgaard
Preceded by
Per Hækkerup
Foreign Minister of Denmark
November 28, 1966 – October 1, 1967
Succeeded by
Hans Tabor
Preceded by
Viggo Kampmann and Hilmar Baunsgaard
Prime Minister of Denmark
September 3, 1962 - February 2, 1968 and October 11, 1971 – October 5, 1972
Succeeded by
Hilmar Baunsgaard and Anker Jørgensen
Party political offices
Preceded by
Viggo Kampmann
Leader of the Danish Social Democrats
1962–1972
Succeeded by
Anker Jørgensen