In 1848, revolutions across Europe unsettled the established order, and Schleswig-Holstein separatists used demonstrations in Copenhagen as a pretext for declaring their independence, knowing that Prussia would come to their aid. Several battles with Denmark followed, but the matter was resolved in favor of Denmark by diplomatic, rather than military means. A long-term peaceful solution to the issue was only possible if England, France, Russia and other European nations were willing to recognize the separation of Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark, and in 1850, they were unwilling to do so.
It was not until shortly after Bismarck became Chancellor of Prussia that a resolution in favor of German interests came about. A military conflict between Denmark and the German states re-occurred in 1864, but this time the military victories were decisively in favor of the Germans. More importantly, however,had laid the groundwork for a diplomatic solution that allowed the other European powers to acquiesce to Denmark's loss of its two southern provinces. In general, the great European powers opposed independence for break-away provinces, and all were jealous of the increasing influence of Prussia. Knowing this, Bismarck made no immediate attempt to bring the provinces under his control, but rather generously, ceded governance to Austria. In retrospect, this was all part of a carefully laid plan to gain control of the entire region for Prussia, but Bismarck's diplomatic goal during the Second Schlegwig-Holstein War was merely to set up chess pieces. His final blow was not delivered for two years, until he had time to draw Austria into the , and destroy her influence over Northern Europe.
|Battle of Düppel
This fortress, protected by an outer chain of ten redoubts, was invested by the Prussians, 16,000 strong, under Prince Frederick Charles, and the first parallel opened, March 30, 1864. The Danish garrison numbered 22,000. On April 17, after a heavy bombardment, the Prussians were launched at the first six of the chain of redoubts, and, after a brief resistance, they were captured and the place was immediately afterwards surrendered. The Prussians lost 70 officers and 1,331 men, the Danes, including prisoners, 5,500.
|Battle of Alsen (
This island, in which the Danish garrison of Duppel had taken refuge, was captured by the Prussians, who crossed from the mainland in boats on the night of June 29, 1864, and under a heavy fire carried the Danish entrenchments, and compelled them to surrender. This was the last engagement of the war.
|Military mastermind of the Austro-Prussian, and Franco-Prussian Wars.|
|Prussian statesman and mastermind of German Unification. Strategically provoked wars against Austria and France.|
|Schleswig and Holstein in||The History of Prussia by John S.C. Abbott|