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Liberal sentiment in Germany had always been stirred by a desire to separate Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark The liberals called for a repudiation of international agreements by Prussia such as the 1852 Protocol which put the Danish issue on ice while Bismarck declared in the Diet that he would not be a party to a breach of international obligations So Bismarck made an agreement with Austria the avowed enemy of German unity to proceed within the context of the 1852 Protocol The two powers then sent an ultimatum to Denmark on January 16 1864 demanding a withdrawal of the constitution of November18 which incorporated Schleswig in Denmark within 48 hours or face military action Denmark counting on the support of the European Powers rejected the ultimatum France hesitated to join England which refused to act alone So the powers did nothing An attempt at mediation also failed Denmark was therefore reduced to submission by Prussian and Austrian military force In the Treaty of Gastein August 1865 Prussia and Austria decided how to dispose of the acquired duchies The two powers decided to rule the two duchies jointly with Austria administering Holstein and Prussia administering Schleswig Prussia was given certain military roads through Holstein and command of Kiel which was to be a port of the German Confederation Both duchies were compelled to join the Zollverein which was of course to Prussias benefit since she controlled the customs union for all practical purposes But that was not all Prussia also annexed Lauenburg although she paid a price of 25 million thaler for it The German claimant to the throne of the two duchies Augustenberg was completely ignored All this seemed fair enough although Prussia obviously got the better end of the stick But Bismarck had no intention of leaving things as they were It is surprising that the statesmen of Austria did not see this Bismarck believed that trouble
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