Reunification Day

  • June 15, 2021
  • June 15, 2022
  • 2 sessions
  • June 15, 2021, 12:00 PM 1:00 PM (CDT)
  • June 15, 2022 (CDT)
  • South Jutland, Denmark

REUNIFICATION DAY

Denmark and the reunification of 1920

2020 saw Denmark celebrate 100 years since Southern Jutland, once part of Germany, was reunited with the country on June 15, 1920. The aim of the 2020 Reunion was to highlight public awareness of the historic occasion, and its cultural and political significance to Danish society. The anniversary also served to underline the present-day friendship with Germany, and shine a spotlight on the European perspective of the Danish-German border region.

Reunification Day

On June 15, 1920, the plebiscite's entire Zone I was transferred to Denmark as the Danish government formally took over the control of Southern Jutland. Pictured is an anniversary postcard that reads: "Mother Denmark greets South Jutland."

Treaty of Versailles
In the wake of the WWI, Denmark asked the Allied powers at the Versailles Conference of 1919 to include a plebiscite in the disputed Schleswig region. This request was granted, and paved the way for North Schleswig to be returned to Denmark.

National referendums
In February 1920, national referendums took place to decide the geo-political makeup of a post-war Denmark. Pictured is the commissary-general for the Danish voting areas awaiting the members of the voting committee at the train station in Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein.

Northern Schleswig (Zone I)
Voting in Zone 1 commenced on February 10, 1920. Turnout was 91.4%. There was a clear majority for Danish affiliation.

Central Schleswig (Zone II)
The vote in Central Schleswig took place on March 14, 1920. Turnout was 80.2% in favor of staying German. The poor result in Central Schleswig, particularly in Flensburg (pictured), Schleswig's largest city, triggered Denmark's 1920 Easter Crisis

Southern Schleswig (Zone III)
At the express wish of the Danish government, a plebiscite was not held in the southernmost third of the province as the population was almost exclusively pro-German.

King Christian X crosses the border

To much fanfare, the law on "The Southern Jutland areas incorporated in Denmark" was signed by King Christian X (pictured) on July 9. German passport and customs controls were officially moved from the river Kongeå to the current border.




South Jutland is reunited

The following day, the Danish monarch famously rode his white horse over the demarcated Kongeå frontier to be greeted by jubilant locals in what was now southern Denmark.







Easter Crisis of 1920

Reunification was not, however, without incident. In light of the results, Prime Minister Carl Theodor Zahle had determined that reunification with Northern Schleswig could go forward, while Central Schleswig would remain under German control. However, many Danish nationalists felt that Central Schleswig should be returned to Denmark regardless of the plebiscite's results.



Otto Lieb

King Christian X sided with nationalist sentiment and ordered Zahle to include Central Schleswig in the reunification process. He refused to comply and resigned several days later, after a heated exchange with the monarch. Subsequently, Christian dismissed the rest of the government and replaced it with a de facto conservative caretaker cabinet under Otto Lieb (pictured).


National Foundation for Danish America
PO Box 1003
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

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