The early years of the war were distinguished by simplisticnationalism and martial optimism. The freedom of the press had been suspended at the outbreak of the war and censorship had been introduced. German newspapers printed articles highlighting national unity, while Danish-language publications in Southern Jutland were ordered to use expressions such as “our Kaiser” and “our army”. Even minor transgressions resulted in many weeks of closure.

The war effort demanded huge sums that far outstripped state income. This made it necessary to introduce domestic war loans. Appeals to the spirit of self-sacrifice of the German people thus became a recurring theme throughout the war years. Hero worship and the showcasing of victories were intended to reinforce the national sense of unity with a view to encouraging people to make sacrifices and buy war bonds. However, this approach met with only limited success. Those with Danish sympathies felt no obligation to support the war effort, nor did they believe that their bonds would be repaid in full. Their scepticism proved to be well-founded.