Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Shouting from Copenhagen

At the new Absinthe blog, U.S. expat writer and translator Thomas E. Kennedy contributes another of his Shouts from Copenhagen:
Here I can gaze across to a first floor apartment occupied more than 150 years ago by the father of existentialism Søren Kierkegaard, across from that The White Lamb serving house, shelled by the British in 1807, under orders of the Duke of Wellington, the year it opened. Now, 202 years later, Wellington is dust in his grave and The White Lamb continues to serve golden pints.


Harry said...

For a comprehensive account of the shelling of Copenhagen in 1807, see Thomas Munch-Petersen "Defying Napoleon: How Britain Bombarded Copenhagen and Seized the Danish Fleet in 1807" (Sutton Publishing, 2007).

Some of the fishermen from my native village in Fife were called up as naval reservists for that action in 1807, as recorded by our local parish historian. The bombardment of Copenhagen divided opinion in the House of Commons and the country at large, with the Radicals - forerunners, I suppose, of the (old!) Labour party and the Liberals combined - calling it an act of blackguardism, and the Tories hailing it as another victory for British arms.

It was a pre-emptive strike - there were fears that Denmark, then neutral, was about to declare for Napoleon, so we went over there and took out their fleet and bombarded their capital to make them think again.


David McDuff said...

On the other hand, of course, Denmark has Britain to thank for liberating it from the German forces in May 1945.