Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Schleswig- Holstein Question: Part 3

The Napoleonic Wars had awakened German national feeling, and the political bonds that had historically existed between Schleswig and Holstein suggested that the two regions should form a single country within a united Germany. A countermovement developed among the Danish population in northern, or North, Schleswig and from 1838 in Denmark itself, where the Liberals insisted that Schleswig had belonged to Denmark for centuries and that the frontier between Germany and Denmark must be the Eider River (which had historically marked the border between Schleswig and Holstein). The Danish nationalists thus aspired to incorporate Schlweswig into Denmark, in the process detaching it from Holstein. German nationalists conversely sought to confirm Schleswig's association with Holstein, in the process detaching the former from Denmark. These differences led in March 1848 to an open uprising by Schleswig-Holstein's German majority in support of independence from Denmark and close association with the German Confederation. The rising was helped by the military intervention of Prussia, whose army drove Denmark's troops from Schleswig-Holstein. This war between Denmark and Prussia lasted three years (1848 -50) and only ended when the Great Powers pressured Prussia into accepting the London Convention of 1852. Under the terms of this peace agreement, the German Confederation returned Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark. In an agreement with Prussia under the London Protocol of 1852, the Danish government in return undertook not to tie Schleswig more closely to Denmark than to its sister duchy of Holstein.

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