At 19.00 on 31 July 1914, Germany was officially declared to be at war. All public powers and authority were transferred to the military and a number of civil liberties were rescinded. In Southern Jutland, around 300 people were arrested because they were considered a threat to national security. These were mainly people who sympathised with Denmark, along with people with social democratic leanings –he group also included skilled seafarers who, it was feared – might assist the enemy. They were held for two months purely on the basis of a suspicion that they might support hostile activities – and this led to widespread anger.

The order to mobilise was issued on 1 August: all healthy men between the ages of 18 and 45 were called up to the armed forces. The war had long been expected, so the authorities had had plenty of time to prepare the relevant measures. The people of Southern Jutland who sympathised with Germany accepted conscription gladly, fired by their love of the fatherland and their desire for adventure. They were convinced that the war would be short, heroic and victorious. For those whose sympathies lay with Denmark, it was tough to go to war for a nation they had no wish to see victorious.