The Importance of the Schleswig-Holstein Conflicts in German Unification: A Primordial Case Study, 1839-1871
Ahlers, Christian Anthony
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Considerations of German Unification usually center on Otto von Bismarck and Prussian power politics, the German Confederation, and Austria along with the Franco-Prussian War. Often overlooked are the important events that brought together certain northern German speaking states. But these conflicts were also the conclusion of a continuous feud between the Germans in the Schleswig and Holstein Duchies and the Danish. The feud, a series of wars which led to the creation of the Norddeutsches Bund in 1867, centered around the ‘Schleswig- Holstein Question’: the rightful rule of the Schleswig Duchy. Successional questions involved various intermarriages, personal unions, competing ambitions, the Danish Lex Regina (totalitarianism), and the German Primogeniture (the exclusion of female rule). The historical patterns emerging through this feud involve questions of legal, cultural and military history. They show not only the importance of Schleswig-Holstein but also of a kind of nationalism that can be called dynamic.