Danish Version    

 The Author of This Site

  The Prelude to the Wars

The First  War 1848-51

The Battles 1848-51

The Siege of Fredericia

The Second  War 1864

 Dannevirke  Stronghold

 The Siege of Dybboel

The Attack on Fredericia

The Attack on Dybboel

The Attack on the Als

The Peace

The Consequences

 Dybboel 2010

 Als 2010


The Two Danish-Prussian Wars 1848-50 and 1864

The prelude to the second Danish-Prussian war 1864

The Danish constitutional problem.  

The London Protocol established the absolutism should be continued in the duchies, although  Denmark 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 constitution  for Holstein and Lauenburg because these two duchies were members of the German
 federation. In the joint Danish-Schleswig-Holstein Government (the Realm Council) there were conflicts between the democratic
 politicians from Denmark who wanted reforms, and the nobles representatives of Holstein, who wanted a very conservative development.
 The liberal forces in Denmark therefore considered it more and more inevitable, that Holstein would be separated from Denmark.
 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 opinion, but they also wanted Schleswig to be detached, ending up with a united Schleswig-Holstein in the German Confederation.
 The November Constitution
 The Danisk government adopted shortly before Frederick the seventh's death in November 1863 the so called November Constitution.
 This 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 (Landtag), 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. This immediately solved a constitutional problem, but broke the rules of the London Protocol from 1852.
 According to this, it was not possible to tie Schleswig  closer to the kingdom than Holstein.
 The National Tensions
 The November Constitution aroused strong opposition among the German-minded in not only the the duchies but throughout Germany.
 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 them.
 The German rebels  dream of a independent Schleswig-Holstein state had suffered defeat in the First War of 1848 to 1851. In Schleswig
 mood since then had been quiet, but angry and full of contradictions.
 In 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 much debate. It caused many anger by many German-minded, as they for centuries had
 been accustomed to German as the dominant language. The German.minded saw  the language-laws as a attempts of "Danisation" and
 Danish oppression.
 Prussia's ambitious Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck was not interested in strengthening the  liberal forces in the German league with
 another state like an independent Schleswig-Holstein. He allied 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. 

     Kaiser Wilhelm I

   Otto von Bismarck

 The situation came to a head 
In the next two months secured the Prussian Chancellor Bismarck himself diplomatically that they potential alliance partners in Denmark,
 such as Sweden, Norway and England fell off. 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.
 Despite 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.
 This 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
 23th, Denmark did not change its object.

On 16 January 16th Prussia and Austria gave Denmark an ultimatum to withdraw the Constitution within 48 hours. It was actually quite
 unrealistic, since the timetable could not be reached and no attempt of an extension of time was accepted.

    The Austrian Prussian Ordre de Bataille (Order of Battle) 1863/64