The prelude to the
Danish-Prussian War 1864
London Protocol established the absolutism should be continued in the
had a democratic
constitution in 1848.
The Common constitution for the Danish United Monarchy (the Kingdom and
the duchies) was
supposed to ensure that the joint government affairs
could continue to operate despite the different modes of government.
But in 1858 did the German Federal Constitution abolished the common
Holstein and Lauenburg because
these two duchies were members of the
In the joint Danish-Schleswig-Holstein Government (the Realm
there were conflicts between the democratic politicians from Denmark who
wanted reforms, and the nobles
representatives of Holstein, who wanted a
very conservative development.
liberal forces in Denmark therefore considered it more and more
inevitable, that Holstein would be
Ultimately it was feared, that Holstein through its role in the Realm
Council led to German
interference in not only Schleswig, but also in
Danish internal affairs.
The liberal movement in Holstein was in fact of the same
they also wanted Schleswig to be detached, ending up with a united
Schleswig-Holstein in the German
Danisk government adopted shortly before Frederick the seventh's death
in November 1863 the so called November
Constitution replaced the former Common Constitution as it related to
common affairs of Denmark and
Schleswig, but not Holstein.
Schleswig was now supposed to have its own Schleswig local government
while Denmark continued with its own parliament.
In that way it should be possible to govern without the Holstein
representatives in the Realm Counsil, who were the reason that the
Danish government was partly paralyzed.
immediately solved a constitutional problem, but broke the
of the London Protocol from 1852.
According to this, it was
not possible to tie Schleswig closer
to the kingdom than Holstein.
November Constitution aroused strong opposition among the German-minded
in not only the the duchies but throughout
The German-national opinion now sensed an opportunity for revenge after
the defeat in the first Danish Prussian
War two years before.
In the German parliament in Frankfurt there was arguments of liberating
the duchies of dependence on
Denmark and create a new German state of
German rebels dream of a independent Schleswig-Holstein state had
suffered defeat in the First War of 1848 to
Schleswig mood since then had been quiet, but angry and full of
the 1850s the rules for the official use of language had been completed
for the Central Schleswig, which meant that Danish
should be the
language in the schools in the areas, where people mainly spoke Danish.
The language in the Churches
alternated from time to time while the
judiciary and the administration was bilingual.
The northernmost part of Schleswig was
still purely Danish language, and
the southernmost part remained purely German language.
The purpose was to halt the
decline of the Danish language, but the
reforms were introduced by the Danish Government without
many anger by many German-minded, as they for centuries had
been accustomed to German as the dominant language.
German.minded saw the language-laws as a attempts of "Danisation"
and Danish oppression.
ambitious Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck was not interested in
forces in the German
league with another state like an independent
therefore with Austria, officially to press Denmark
to comply with the
London Agreements concerning
the Duchies free position, but in practice, he was hoping to conquer
Schleswig and Holstein
to Prussia, as he later told in his memoirs.
Otto von Bismarck
situation came to a head
the next two months secured the Prussian Chancellor Bismarck himself
diplomatically that they potential
in Denmark, such as Sweden, Norway and England fell
Denmark had simultaneously violated the agreements from 1851-
52 on how
it should relate to the duchies which
gave the legal option of military intervention.
massive pressure from friendly powers, and despite the fact that Sweden
rejected any plans for an alliance, Denmark
did not withdrew its
Danish-Schleswig constitution back.
implied that the German forces threatened to occupy Schleswig as a
pledge, until the Constitution was given up and
withdrawn. But despite
this and despite the fact that the Hanoverian and Saxon troops actually
already occupied Holstein and
Lauenburg on December 23, Denmark did not
change its object.
January 16th Prussia and Austria gave Denmark an ultimatum to
withdraw the Constitution within 48 hours.
actually quite unrealistic, since the timetable could not be
reached and no
an extension of time was accepted.