On Wed, 16 Aug 2006 08:11:57 -0500, kenney@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>In article <44e2388e$0$13980$edfadb0f@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
>sohela@xxxxxxxxxx (Soren Larsen) wrote:
>> Slesvig was a Danish fief while Holstein was a German duchy
>> ruled by the Danish king.
> I think it was Palmerston who said that there were only three
>men who had ever understood the Schleswig-Holstein, problem, one
>was dead, one was mad and one had forgotten. So a bit of
>confusion now is to be expected.
I think it was quite easy to understand. The King of Denmark offered
himself as an easy prey to a tiger. The rest is verbal fog.
The real issue had nothing to do with Denmark. The real issue was the
growing rivalry about who is the leading power in the German-speaking
territory - Prussia or Austria. Bismarck was a master tactician; by
letting the Schleswig issue boil up he forced the Austrians into
participating in the war, or else Austria would have left the
initiative to Prussia. Essentially, Bismarck let the Austrians dance
to his tune, and the King of Denmark payed the bill.
Two years later the issue was settled - Bismarck managed to get the
Austrians into war in 1866. When they were beaten, Bismarck had
achieved his goals by the millimeter: the Austrians were out of
Germany; and then - a political wisdom that later German leaders did
not have - he fought like a bull terrier to prevent the Prussian army
from marching on Vienna which the generals craved to do - that would
have been the obvious public military humiliation. But humiliation of
Austria was precisely what Bismarck did not want. He wanted the
Austrians out of Germany, but he also surmised that the Austrian Yes
to the coming German unification would be easier to get if any hard
feelings were kept to a minimum. That strategy payed off four years
later, in 1870.