British attitudes to the Schlesftig-Holstein question, 1848-50
Short, Shelton H.
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British attitudes during the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1848-50 were predominantly pro-Danish. The invasion of Denmark and the Elbe Duchies by the Confederation of German States, led by Prussia, was looked upon as an attempt by a large and aggressive power to bully a smaller and inoffensive neighbour into surrendering a large part of her territory and excellent ports on the Baltic and Korth Seas. Besides the belief that Denmark had a legal right to the Duchies it was feared that should Germany gain control of this strategic area, she would in time build a merchant fleet and a navy which could offer Britain serious competition. In addition, should the Germans have their own way, the Duchies would probably become members of the Zollverein which already imposed high tariffs on British Goods. Should the Duchies join this union, probably other north German areas would too, and perhaps even a good part of Scandinavia would be economically compelled to enter it. This danger helped to convince many Britons that the Helstat should remain intact.