London Protocol (1852)

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The London Protocol is an international treaty concluded on May 8, 1852 between the great European powers - the  United Kingdom , the Second French Republic , the Russian Empire , the Kingdom of Prussia and the Empire of Austria  - and the Scandinavian powers - the  Kingdom of Sweden and the Kingdom of Denmark . It regulated the status of the entire Danish state .


The three duchies of Schleswig , Holstein and Lauenburg were ruled in personal union by the Danish king in Copenhagen before 1864 , with Holstein and Lauenburg being member states of the German Confederation (and before 1806 fiefs of the Roman-German Empire ) and Schleswig a fief of the Kingdom of Denmark. The First Schleswig-Holstein War was waged from 1848 to 1851 . One war party was the Kingdom of Denmark ; the other war party was the German national liberal movement in the Duchy of Schleswig and in the Duchy of Holstein  - officially united as Schleswig-Holstein between 1848 and 1851 , but not recognized by many states - in alliance with most of the states of the German Confederation .

The last act of war took place in October 1850: the Schleswig-Holsteiners undertook a final attack on Friedrichstadt and destroyed the city. The attack turned into a fiasco for them. Schleswig finally remained under Danish control and was administered by an extraordinary government commissioner. Holstein was pacified by Prussian and Austrian federal troops , the Schleswig-Holstein Army was disbanded on April 1, 1851. Many officials and officers of the Schleswig-Holstein government and the military left the country, some emigrated to the United States or Australia.

After the ratification of the first protocol on August 2, 1850 by Austria and Prussia, the second, actual London protocol followed on May 8, 1852.


In it the integrity of the Danish state as a "European necessity and permanent principle" was recorded. According to this, the three duchies of Schleswig (as a Danish imperial fief) and Holstein and Lauenburg (as member states of the German Confederation) were linked in personal union under the Danish king. For this purpose, the succession in the duchies was changed, as Frederick VII of Denmark had remained childless and a dynastic change was pending as a result. While Denmark also had inheritance law in the female line, the purely male line had previously applied in the German duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg. It was also stated that the duchies should be left as independent units and that Schleswig should not be more closely bound to Denmark under constitutional law than Holstein. In addition, a succession regulation was determined to prevent the dynastic union of the three Scandinavian kingdoms. Above all, the great powers wanted to ensure that the Baltic port of Kiel did not fall into Prussian hands and that Denmark received a guarantee for its territory.


This treaty later triggered the federal execution of 1863 and the German-Danish War of 1864: First, the Bundestag in Frankfurt suspended the entire state constitution for the German Duchy of Holstein in 1858. Denmark then passed the November constitution in the autumn of 1863 , which bound Schleswig more closely to Denmark than Holstein. This in turn led to the declaration of federal execution against the federal duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg by the Bundestag in Frankfurt / Main on October 1, 1863. On December 23, 1863, the occupation of Holstein and Lauenburg by federal troops followed, Denmark already had its troops on Danish territory withdrawn north of the Eider . On January 16, 1864, Prussia and Austria gave Denmark a 48-hour ultimatum to repeal the November constitution and evacuate Schleswig , which Denmark let slip. On February 1, 1864, Austrian and Prussian troops finally crossed the Eider, despite criticism from the German Confederation. They stormed the Düppeler Schanzen and occupied the Duchy of Schleswig and parts of southern Jutland within a few months.


  • Georg Beseler : The London contract of May 8, 1852 examined in its legal meaning. Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, Berlin 1863, full text in the Google book search.
  • Klaus-Joachim Lorenzen-Schmidt, Ortwin Pelc (Hrsg.): Schleswig-Holstein Lexikon. 2nd enlarged and improved edition. Wachholtz, Neumünster 2006, ISBN 3-529-02441-4 .

See also

Web link

Individual evidence

  1. This section is based on the article Schleswig-Holstein survey . It is a short form of the article. Evidence for what is written here and references there.
  2. Jürgen Müller: The German Confederation 1815-1866 . Oldenbourg, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-486-55028-3 , pp. 46-47 .