Hans Peter Hanssen

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Hans Peter Hanssen as a member of the Reichstag in 1912

Hans Peter Hanssen , usually written HP Hanssen or HP Hanssen-Nørremølle , (* February 21, 1862 on Nørremølle near Satrup in Sundewitt ; † May 27, 1936 in Aabenraa ) was a Danish politician and journalist. He was the driving force behind the separation of North Schleswig from the German Empire and its incorporation into Denmark after the First World War .


Hans Peter Hanssen

Hanssen grew up in a rural environment on the Sundewitt peninsula, which at the time belonged to the Sønderborg district . After studying in Copenhagen , Berlin and Leipzig , he returned to his homeland and in 1888 became secretary of the Nordschleswigschen voter association, which he co-founded, the political association of the Danish Nordschleswiger. In 1893 he bought the daily Hejmdal in Aabenraa and became its publisher and editor-in-chief . The paper quickly became one of the leading Danish voices in the region.

In 1896 Hanssen entered the Prussian state parliament for the first time as a representative of the Hadersleben - Sonderburg constituency . His realpolitical stance, however, put him in opposition to the fundamentalist wing of the electoral association around the Reichstag member Jens Jessen , editor-in-chief of the largest Danish daily newspaper in the region, Flensborg Avis . After Jessen's death in 1906, Hanssen also entered the Reichstag and was now undisputedly the most important spokesman for the Danish ethnic group. He continued to try to secure the rights of the Danish ethnic group through a policy of cooperation with the German authorities and German parliamentarians, but without losing sight of the goal of uniting the part of the country with Denmark. In 1908 he withdrew from the state parliament, but remained a member of the German Reichstag.

After the defeat of the German Empire in World War I, in which Denmark had not participated, Hanssen saw the opportunity to put the question of Schleswig's nationality back on the political agenda. According to the doctrine of US President Woodrow Wilson , according to which state borders should be drawn according to the right of peoples to self-determination, he called, among other things, at the Reichstag session on October 22, 1918, a referendum in the country. After the November Revolution, the new German government agreed to this in a letter from State Secretary Solf to the Foreign Ministry. The Danish government under Carl Theodor Zahle brought the demand for a vote to the Allied Armistice Commission with success. Hanssen was accepted into the Danish government as Minister for North Schleswig Affairs in June 1919 and since then has led the Danish negotiations regarding the mode of the referendum that was to be included in the Versailles Treaty . To the displeasure of the Danish opposition, which called for a border along the historic southern border of the Duchy of Schleswig an der Eider , or at least with the inclusion of the city of Flensburg , Hanssen insisted on the principle that only the mostly Danish parts of the country should also become part of the Danish state. He succeeded in pushing through an en bloc vote for the northern 1st zone. In addition to this, there were also German-dominated municipalities such as Hoyer and Tondern , whose German majority in terms of absolute population would be manageable for Denmark. However, when it came to the much larger city of Flensburg, Hanssen and his district had greater concerns.

After succeeding in bringing the 1st zone to Denmark with 75% of the Danish votes, while the 2nd zone including Flensburg remained with Germany, Hanssen had achieved his major political goal (→ results of the referendum in Schleswig 1920 ). As Minister for the Schleswig region he remained one of the most important persons in the practical integration of the region into the Danish state and Danish society. Hanssen joined the right-wing liberal party Venstre . In 1926 he left the Folketing and gradually withdrew from politics. But he remained an influential advisor in the background. Part of his policy was that the German ethnic group remaining north of the new border should enjoy all minority rights so that they should identify with the Danish state and ultimately assimilate voluntarily.

HP Hanssen died in Aabenraa in 1936. Numerous smaller monuments were erected in his honor in the region.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Werner Koops: German or Danish - The referendums of 1920 . In Gerhard Paul , Uwe Danker, Peter Wulf: Geschichtsumschlungen: social and cultural history reading book: Schleswig Holstein, 1848-1948 , Berlin 1996; ISBN 3-8012-0237-2 .


  • HP Hanssen: Et Tilbageblik. Copenhagen 1931 f. (4 volumes)
  • Hans Schultz Hansen: HP Hanssen's historical significance. For the 150th birthday of the minority politician . In: Grenzfriedenshefte, Vol. 59, 2012, Issue 2, pp. 75–86 ( online ).
  • Peter Hopp: HP Hanssen in German historiography . In Grenzfriedenshefte, Vol. 59, 2012, Issue 2, pp. 87-98 ( online ).
  • Hans Schultz Hansen: De danske sønderjyders førstemand. HP Hanssen 1862–1914 , Aabenraa 2018 (Skrifter udgivet af Historisk Samfund for Sønderjylland; 113), ISBN 978-87-7406-135-9 .

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