The run-up to the referendums was distinguished by lively campaigns with strong arguments from both sides. Meetings were held, posters were put up, flyers were handed out and numerous articles were written for various newspapers.
The debate was emotionally charged, with claims and counter-claims about ‘Danish-ness’ and ‘German-ness’ in both past and present. Both sides emphasised the importance of history.
There was conscious and conscientious use of national symbols – often in combination with ridicule of national opponents.
Much was made of age-old prejudices against ‘Jutlanders’ and ‘Prussians’, respectively, and many an appeal was made to national solidarity and the Schleswig sense of regional affiliation – and, of course, to the voters’ purses and wallets.
In the referendum propaganda, women were portrayed as mothers responsible for the fate of their children.
In order to rein in excesses, the CIS censored all posters and flyers and succeeded in preventing the propagation of emotive representations of ‘the enemy’ of the kind that had previously marred other referendums in Europe.
Flying flags of allegiance was not permitted until 10 February (i.e. the date of the referendum in Zone 1), and so the practice first came to play a major role in connection with the referendum in Zone 2 – particularly in and around Flensburg.