The campaigns leading up to the plebiscites were marked by an overwhelming amount of propaganda, both Danish and German.
Posters, fliers, sticky labels, emergency money, articles in newspapers and journals, ballads and caricatures – all were used to shake people up and force them to take sides.
Slogans were spread around, national symbols pressed constantly into use, and biting satire was aimed at opponents of the other national persuasion. Representations of the enemy, though, were rarely used.
Both sides appealed to nationalist feelings, to a Schleswig identity and an awareness of the ‘native soil’, to financial interests and deeply-rooted antipathies against ‘Jutlanders’ and ‘Prussians’.
In the propaganda material, women were referred to as ‘Mother’ and represented as responsible for the future fate of their children.
At assemblies and demonstrations, many people revealed their position by wearing badges and cockades.
Flying flags was forbidden until 10 February, but from this date flags became one of the most important ways of showing national affiliation.
The streets of towns were dominated by the red-white Dannebrog, the blue-red-white flag of Schleswig-Holstein, or the black-white-red flag of the German Empire. However, the black-red-gold colours of the newly-fledged German Weimar Republic were not much in evidence.
To avoid excesses, the CIS censured all fliers and posters. A few were forbidden, and the exhibition shows two of the banned Danish posters.
The press, too, was controlled, and the ‘Flensburger Tageblatt’ was banned for a week after the newspaper had helped remove Danish propaganda material.
On 6 March, the Commission forbade flying flags in Zone 2 in the period 12-16 March. This led to vehement protests from the Germans, and the Commission’s German advisers resigned. In the end, the prohibition was restricted to apply only to public buildings.