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First Schleswig War information

First Schleswig War
Part of the Revolutions of 1848
Tropper 1849.jpg
Danish soldiers return to Copenhagen in 1849
by Otto Bache (1894)
Date24 March 1848 – 8 May 1851[citation needed][clarification needed]
Schleswig and Jutland

Decisive Danish victory

  • Armistice of Malmö
  • London Protocol
  • Second Schleswig War (1864)
Denmark retains control of Schleswig-Holstein

First Schleswig War German Confederation

  • First Schleswig War Schleswig
  • First Schleswig War Holstein
  • First Schleswig War Prussia
  • First Schleswig War Kingdom of Saxony
  • First Schleswig War Kingdom of Hanover
  • First Schleswig War Mecklenburg-Schwerin

First Schleswig War Denmark

  • First Schleswig War Swedish-Norwegian volunteers

Supported by:
Russian Empire Russian Empire
First Schleswig War United Kingdom
First Schleswig War Sweden-Norway
First Schleswig War France
Commanders and leaders
German Confederation Prince of Nør
Kingdom of Prussia Eduard von Bonin
Kingdom of Prussia Friedrich von Wrangel
Kingdom of Prussia Eduard von Fransecky
Kingdom of Prussia Felix Salm-Salm
Kingdom of Prussia Karl Wilhelm von Willisen
Kingdom of Saxony Albert of Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Kingdom of Hanover Hugh Halkett
Denmark Frederick VII of Denmark
Denmark Christian de Meza
Denmark Gerhard Christoph von Krogh
Denmark Friderich Adolph Schleppegrell 
Denmark Olaf Rye 
Denmark Hans Hedemann
Casualties and losses
8,309 killed, wounded or captured 8,695 killed, wounded or captured
First Schleswig War
Roll of honour for the War in the cathedral of Schleswig

The First Schleswig War (German: Schleswig-Holsteinischer Krieg) was a military conflict in southern Denmark and northern Germany rooted in the Schleswig-Holstein Question, contesting the issue of who should control the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg. Ultimately, the Danish side proved victorious with the diplomatic support of the great powers.

As the government, merchants, students, landowners and other upper class at the time spoke German, Low German was lingua franca in most of northern Europe at the time, the Germans claim it was mainly German-speaking areas, but the majority of the people were native Danish and Frisian speaking peasants and servants. Their languages would be systematically oppressed by the Germans over the next 100 years.

The conflict is known as the Three Years' War (Danish: Treårskrigen) in Denmark. It constitutes a major historical event in the national culture of Denmark.[citation needed] In Germany, the war is called the Schleswig-Holstein War (German: Schleswig-Holsteinischer Krieg) but also as the Schleswig-Holstein Uprising (German: Schleswig-Holsteinische Erhebung).

In March 1848, the German population of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg rebelled against their duke who was also the king of Denmark. They created a provisional government and army. As Holstein and Lauenburg were member states of the German Confederation, the Confederation supported the rebels by a federal war (Bundeskrieg) according to its statutes. This was continued by the German Central Government (of the federal state that replaced the Confederation in 1848/49-51). Most of the German troops were delivered by Prussia.

Denmark was supported by the great powers, especially Britain and Russia. The duchies were close to an important Baltic seaway connecting both powers. The war was interrupted in August 1848 by the armistice of Malmö but started again with a Danish offensive in February 1849.

In summer 1850, Prussia had to back down and leave the rebels to their fate. On 1 April 1851 the Schleswig-Holstein army was disbanded. The London Protocol of 1852 was the final settlement of the conflict. The great powers confirmed the Danish king to be the duke of the duchies but also declared that the duchies had to remain independent from Denmark proper.

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