Distribution of Danish flags in the city of Flensburg prior to the referendum

Photograph

Description

English

This picture shows the handing out of Dannebrog, the Danish flag, to people in the city of Flensburg during the days running up to a referendum on 20 March 1920. They were voting for either German or Danish rule, and 75% voted in favour of German.

As a result of the Second Schleswig War (1864) Denmark had been forced to surrender the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. This meant that large numbers of Danish-minded residents in north Schleswig (now Sønderjylland and of which Flensburg is the main city) were forced to live under German rule.

At the end of World War One the Treaty of Versailles (Art 109) stated that plebiscites, or referendums, should be held in Schleswig to determine the future nationality of the region. The referendums were an opportunity for every member of an electorate to cast their vote on a single issue, usually of national or international relevance. The general assumption in Denmark was that people of the northern part, Zone 1 (Sønderjylland), would vote in favour of Danish nationality while the results from the southern provinces, Zone 2, remained to be seen. Most people were likely to vote German, but the self-contained city of Flensburg could turn out in favour of Denmark.

The fight for votes in Flensburg became cutthroat. During the days leading up to the vote streets were filled with Danish, German and regional Schleswig-Holstein flags, and posters were seen everywhere in an attempt to influence voters.

Danish

På billedet udleveres Dannebrog til folk i Flensborg forud for afstemningen den 20. marts 1920. Resultatet i Flensborg blev, at 75% af de stemmeberettigede stemte for tysk statsborgerskab.

Som følge af 2. Slesvigske Krig havde Danmark i 1864 mistet herredømmet over hertugdømmerne Slesvig og Holsten. Herved kom et stort antal dansksindede, der hovedsagligt var bosat i Nordslesvig (i dag Sønderjylland), under tysk herredømme.

Ved krigens afslutning, blev det i Versailles-traktatens § 109 defineret, at der skulle holdes folkeafstemninger i Slesvig for at afgøre områdets fremtid.
Man forventede, at den nordlige del, Zone 1 (i dag Sønderjylland), ville stemme for dansk nationalitet, mens der var større usikkerhed om, hvad resultatet ville blive i de sydlige egne, i Zone 2. Særlig spænding var der om Flensborg, der lå som en selvstændig valgzone, og kunne blive dansk, hvis flertallet ville, trods et evt. tysk resultat i resten af zone 2. Kampen om stemmerne i Flensborg, Slesvigs største by, blev særligt hård. På gader og stræder kunne man i tiden op til afstemningen se danske, tyske og slesvig-holstenske flag, og overalt hang plakater, som forsøgte at påvirke vælgerne.

Full title
Distribution of Danish flags
Created
March, 1920
Format
Photograph
Held by
Det Konglige Bibliotek
Usage Terms
Some rights reserved

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