First Schleswig War 1848-1850

[ 1848 - 1850 ]

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.


Nationalism was, together with liberalism, the most important movement in the 19th century. In Denmark, national feelings were inflamed by the conflict with Germany on the Schleswig-Holstein question. After the loss of Norway, the Danish monarchy consisted of three main parts: the kingdom of Denmark and the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, the last of which was a member of the German Confederation. Whereas Holstein was German, Schleswig was linguistically and culturally divided between a Danish and a German population. When the liberal German-speaking population in Schleswig opposed autocratic rule and demanded a free constitution and affiliation to Holstein and the German Confederation, a Danish National Liberal movement emerged and demanded that Schleswig be incorporated in Denmark (the Eider Policy, named for the Eider River, which formed the southern boundary of Schleswig). When the National Liberal government officially adopted this policy in 1848, the Schleswig-Holsteiners resorted to arms. The rebellion received military aid from Prussia, and the Danish army could not suppress it. The war, which lasted three years, ended in the agreements of 1851 and 1852 in which Denmark pledged to take no measures to tie Schleswig any closer to itself than to Holstein. The Eider Policy was thus abandoned, and the June constitution of 1849 applied only to Denmark.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Losses</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Denmark</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1848</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1850</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">50000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1800000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">2500</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Prussia</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1848</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1850</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">500000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">27000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">3500</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Sweden</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1848</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1850</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">100000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">5000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">25000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 31000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 31000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Kingdom of Prussia and Denmark 1848 / 3 / 24 1851 View
Duchy of Schleswig and Denmark 1848 / 3 / 24 1851 View
Holstein and Denmark 1848 / 3 / 24 1851 View

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts