It would appear there is no thread for this king.
A very interesting book will be published next week: http://politiken.dk/kultur/article1038859.ece
Dommedag Als = Judgement Day Als, (*) by Tom Buk-Swienty. (**)
He researched the personal archive and written about the offer King Christian IX made after the defeat in 1864. He offered Bismarck and the Preussian King that Denmark should join the then German union. An act which even then was bordering on high treason.
That story is however not unknown and it was indeed a desperate time. Now more details have come out.
Now, to understand the issue I have to give a historical background and I'll keep it as short and simple as possible, so please bear with me.
It's all about the then two duchies Holstein & Schleswig. (***) They were initially a part of Denmark under the Danish king but as this was a border region and the king ws constantly on the move a jarl = earl was appointed with a standing army at his disposal, just in case.
The problem with earls is that they wield a lot of power and it takes a strong king to keep them fully under control. So most of the time the two provinces were autonomous, albeit still with Danish king as their overlord. That situation was reasonably palatable for all parts for almost 500 years. By then the tradition had been established that the Danish king would automatically be Duke of Holstein & Schleswig and thus the two duchies maintained a sort of independence. Because they did not consider themselves to be Danish, they were Germans and they certainly did not wish to be a part of the Danish kingdom. That their duke always happended also the be the Danish king was just a detail.
300 years passed and in 1849 it was time for a Danish constitution for the entire realm, including Schleswig & Holstein and at the same time abolishing Absolutism in Denmark. "No way"! Was the cry from the duchies. "The Costitution is a great idea and we'll adopt most of it, but we are NOT a part of Denmark"! And that somehow defeated the whole purpose of having one law for the entire realm, at least seen from the Danish point of view.
A rebellion started in 1848 and ended with defeat for the rebels in 1851. During the war the first Danish Constitution came into effect, in 1849.
The duchies was halfhearted supported by some German states but that was no enough. That war, The First Schleswigan war was deeply traumatic. It was a civil war comparable the the American Civil War in the sense that people had intermarried through many centuries. There were lots of Germans in Denmark and many Danes in the duchies. Many Danes spoke German just as well as Danish and vica verca (****) both sides were absorbed in the culture of the other and both sides shares an almost 1.000 year long history.
In Germany Bismarck emerged. His goal was to unite the German states into one nation, preferably under Preussian control. The issue of Schleswig & Holstein, which stirred national feelings amongst Germans was useful.
A new war began in 1864, The Second Schleswigan War. Backed the military might of Preussia, Austria and other German states, the Danish army was run over. Result: the duchies were ceded from Denmark.
It was a traumatic as when France lost Alsace & Lorraine.
In that period, in despair King Christian IX made an offer to Bismarck and the Preussian King: Denmark would join the newly emerging German union. Thus retaining Schleswig & Holstein. That offer was however declined. And Denmark was suddenly a lot smaller. Did the duchies really get their independence? That is debatable and something I will leave to Germans to comment on.
What the king did was tantamount to high treason, because he acted outside the government, let alone the Parliament, even though where his authority ended was not yet clear. It shows how desperate the situation was. It was the most traumatic event for Denmark since 1659, where the ancient Danish lands of Skåne, Halland & Blekinge were ceded to Sweden. And Christian IX did not want something similar to happen on his watch.
Now, let's look at the proposal. Denmark joining what was a German league, it wasnt even a confederation yet. perhaps not the worst alternative at the time. Denmark was immersed in German culture, so no big deal on that account. DK would join a union consisting of strong nations like Preussia and Austria, while basically remaining almost completely autonomous. It could be worse.
It is extremely doubtful taht would have been accepted by the Danish population, let alone the Parliament, so this was quietened down. Anyyway, the proposal was rejected. That was not the aim of the war. And even though Bismarck may have liked the idea of Denmark as the German admiral state, he certainly did later on, it was too soon. No need to push your luck.
The author apparantly believe that the proposal was rejected because Bismarck did not want a minority withina greater Germany. I personally don't believe that. 2½ million Danes would have been a minor problem and the advantages of free access to both the Batic sea and the North Sea were great.
No, I believe he did not wish to antagonize France, not yet. Later, but not yet. Great Britain did not at the time percieve Germany as a threat in the same way it did, just a couple of decades later. But a Preussia (and later a unified Germany) in complete control of the Baltic Sea and and half the North Sea as well would have caused concern.
No, Bismarck need to settle who was in charge first, with Austria, in 1866.
A very interesting piece of history!
Interesting, as shocking such a proposal would seem to us now, the comments from ordinary Danes Iøve seen so far are not condeming King Christian IX. Even those who have little knowledge of history seem to realise that times were different (and desperat) back then. They don't understand nor condone his actions but most seem to understand his dispair. - And it's a long time ago. One even pointig out that we are in effect united with Germany, albeit via EU.
(*) Als is an island just off the coast of south eastern Jutland, where the Danish army in 1864 made its last stand in the defence of Jutland.
(**) Who has written another interesting book of the Second Schleswigan War in 1864.
(***) I use German spelling for clarity and because the population is and was predominatly German.