The First World War had a profound and indelible impact – in both the short and the long term. The fallen soldiers from Southern Jutland left around 1,500 widows and 5,000 fatherless children. In addition, around 7,000 men came back from the war as invalids or with serious injuries – both physical and mental. Many returned with experiences that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Under the terms of the peace treaty, the German government accepted that the country’s borders be redrawn on the basis of the principle of popular self-determination. This led to referenda being held in a number of border regions. Two were held in Schleswig in 1920, resulting in the assimilation of North Schleswig into Denmark, and the demarcation of the German–Danish border in its current position.
The Danish state introduced a programme of aid for war widows and war invalids. Assistance was also provided by private organisations such as Den Sønderjyske Fond (the Southern Jutland Fund). After the war, every parish erected memorials to the fallen, where the bereaved could remember their fathers, husbands and sons who lay buried in foreign soil.