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Aggression Against Danzig


Quote of the Week:

"We are aware that war between Poland and Germany cannot be avoided. We must
systematically and energetically prepare ourselves for this war. The present
generation will see that a new victory at Grunwald will be inscribed in the pages of
history. But we shall fight this Grunwald in the suburbs of Berlin. Our ideal is to
round Poland off with frontiers on the Oder in the West and the Neisse in Lausatia,
and to reincorporate Prussia, from the Pregel to the Spree. In this war no prisoners
will be taken, there will be no room for humanitarian feelings. We shall surprise the
whole world in our war with Germany."
Mocarstwowiec, Polish newspaper, issue 3 from 1930, i.e. before Hitler became
Chancellor! Mocarstwowiec was the voice of the Polish "League for Great Power". Quoted
in: Bertram de Colonna, Poland from the Inside, p. 90.
(earlier Quotes of the Week)

 

The problem of Danzig

It is impossible to deal with Poland without touching on Danzig, for this city has a
customs union with Poland. Its citizens also have to permit their business abroad to be
watched over by the Polish consulates, although, as Danzigers have repeatedly assured
me, they prefer to send their passports to Danzig, for extensions or the like, by
registered post rather than visit Polish consulates. This is not surprising.

As British subjects require a visa for Poland, I had to visit a consulate and, being in
Berlin on my way to Warsaw, set out for the consulate there. I was unable to enter, for
a big group of people were standing outside waiting. It seemed that the consulate was
only open for two hours, which was not sufficient time for the work on hand, so many
had to be turned away, but they remained in the road, hoping they might be let in later.
Some were Poles, desiring endorsements of some kind, others persons seeking a visa,
or making some enquiries. I only succeeded in entering because I went to the Embassy
and asked for advice there. An official then immediately gave me a special endorsement
on my form of application, which enabled me to [37] obtain a Press visa, and on showing
this document, I was admitted to the consulate. But if I were a Danziger, I should prefer
to send my passport, since in any case the Embassy would not render me any
assistance.

One of the claims of the Poles is that Danzig should not become part of Germany again
on account of the Vistula. As has already been remarked on several occasions, a claim
to the mouth of a river flowing through another country would mean that the Germans
would have cause to quarrel with the Dutch about the Rhine. Strangely enough, the
Germans never worry about the mouth of the Rhine being in Holland.

But the Vistula is not essential to Polish commerce. On the contrary, very little use is
made of the river at all. Before the Great War, it was more utilised, although it was then
divided between Germany and Russia, and the Russians did not foster commerce along
it. In 1912, 610,286 tons of goods passed along the Vistula in either direction, as the
lock figures show. That was not an exceptional year. On the contrary, in 1913 the figure
was still higher, the total being 623,450 tons. But 20 years of progress in New Poland
produced an astonishing result - in 1937 only 330,398 tons of merchandise passed
along the Vistula. This is only a little over half the pre-War figure, so that any Polish
claim to have made extensive use of the Vistula is obviously incorrect. The Poles say
that the Vistula is necessary for their import and export busi- [38] ness. Excluding transit
trade, Poland had a turnover of 14,694,898 tons of merchandise which left or entered
her frontiers by way of the Baltic in 1938. Of this total, only 453,851 tons passed along
the Vistula!

The Poles claim that the Vistula is their main waterway, but only 453,851 tons of goods
were carried along the river, or well under 10,000 tons per week, while more than 14
million tons arrived or left by way of the sea, but without touching the Vistula. No
clearer proof could be wished for. The Vistula was of no great importance whatever in
Poland's trade balance. In 1937 a mere total of 182,726 tons of goods were exported
via the Vistula.

Of these only 30,163 tons, or 16.5 per cent. were from the interior of Poland, and not a
single ton came from any place on the other side of Warsaw. Some of the goods came
from East Prussia, incidentally. The Vistula has thus lost its importance as a connecting
waterway between distant parts, although goods were transported along this river from
much more distant areas before the War.

It was during the War that the Poles spread a statement to the effect that Danzig had a
Polish majority. And the Poles made gallant attempts to realise this dream by fostering
schools and associations. They established no less than 19 Polish kindergarten centres,
while attempts were always made to persuade German parents to send their boys and
girls there. [39] The Association of Poles in Danzig has a membership of only 11,499, of
whom no more than 7,561 are Danzig citizens, while the population of the Free City
totals 407,517.

Danzig does not, of course, feel itself threatened by this small group. But, as a Free
State, it is threatened by something very different. The Poles have done all in their power
to foster Gdynia, and Danzig suffers accordingly. As preparations were completed in
Gdynia, Danzig's trade dwindled. In 1926, 179 tons of goods were imported via
Gdynia, and 640,696 tons by way of Danzig, the corresponding export figures being
413,826 and 5,659,604 tons. The total goods passing through Gdynia in 1926 were
thus 414,005 tons, as compared with Danzig's 6,300,299 tons. By 1933 Gdynia's total
had increased enormously to 6,105,866 tons, while Danzig's total fell to 5,152,975 tons.
In 1929, to quote in percentages, 75.2% of the goods exported by way of the sea
passed through Danzig and 24.8% through Gdynia; in 1933 Danzig's participation had
fallen to 45.8%, and Gdynia's had risen to 54.2%.

Danzig thus sees its future threatened. Gdynia is to become, as Danzigers told me,
Poland's future port, and Danzig is to have nothing. This, at least, is what the people
think, and figures undoubtedly show that this is the tendency. For only less valuable
goods are transported via Danzig. According to value, Danzig participated in 1938 to
the tune of 7.5% of all Poland's [40] imports, while Gdynia's share totalled 53.7%. Ores
and gravel passed through Danzig.

The claim made by Marshal Rydz in a speech at Cracow on August 6th, 1939, was that
Danzig was "Poland's lungs, as in one organism." This view is, however, difficult to
uphold when the figures I have quoted are studied. Or, one might say, the speech should
have been made before 1924, and is somewhat out of date - for the building of Gdynia
made Danzig a back-number. In reality, of course, Danzig never really earned this
designation, but since 1924 it is an obvious misnomer.

There can be no doubt regarding the German character of Danzig. The earliest human
settlement on the site of the present Free City dates back tens of centuries, but it is
doubtful as to who actually founded it. The Romans, at the height of their success,
referred to it as a trading centre. Certainly, there is no reason to believe that the
founders were Polish. They may have been Slavonic, but it is equally likely that they
were Germanic. The earliest settlement of which we have ethnographical records was
Germanic, but a Slavonic tribe later settled there. Those Slavs were the Pomeranes,
who were not Polish. Their present descendants are the Cashubes, a West Slav people.
The city of Danzig was founded by Germans in or about 1224. Danzig flourished under
the Teutonic Order. At the end of the 13th century Danzig belonged to the Hanseatic
League. In 1454 the city [41] passed from the Teutonic Order to the protection of the
King of Poland, but remained a free Hanse City with a German administration. Neither
Poles nor Jews might become Danzig citizens in those days. The city had its own
economy, and even dabbled in foreign politics independently of Poland. Under
Napoleon the French occupied the city, throttling its trade. This was part of the Little
Corporal's scheme to blockade England, some assert, for, having failed to sweep the
seas, Napoleon set about capturing the ports of Europe to prevent supplies reaching our
shores.

Danzig was for long years part of Germany until the Great War. Following Versailles,
the city was forcibly separated from the Reich, and the Poles laid claim to it. Their claim
was based upon alleged historical rights, and upon the assertion that they need the whole
course of the Vistula. After the War, one claim was that they needed the port, but since
they have built Gdynia, no more has been heard of this. The Polish "minority" in Danzig
may be compared with the negro "minority" in Cardiff - one does see some Poles in the
former, just as one encounters representatives of the Dark Continent in the latter.

The claims of the Poles have increased of recent date, and they have recently been
asserting that considerable areas in Germany, with a population between 95% and
100% Germans, should be handed over to them. Here and there, this view has been
supported [42] in the world Press, although it would be difficult to justify it.

But in the French Chamber, to quote one example, a very different view has often
enough been taken. The session of the Paris Chamber on September 4th, 1919, is of
considerable interest in this connection. The subject under discussion was the Peace
Treaty and the terms implied. A report made by the Deputy, M. Charles Benoist, was
being considered. Deputy Marcel Sembat made the following statement:

"It must be openly admitted, as M. Charles Benoist has established, that Danzig is
a German town. In order that there may be no doubt on the question, I shall read
the text of his report on page 107:

"'Poland wanted to have Danzig. Nevertheless, from the simple point of
view of the population, there is no doubt but that Danzig is an undisputedly
German town. It is not a German enclave in Polish territory. One goes
along the coast from Danzig through purely German land to East Prussia.'

"Those are the words of the report. I do not hesitate to draw your attention
clearly to the fact that there is a definite contradiction between the form in which
we treat Danzig and the principles I have just mentioned. It is a question of a
German town; we take it away from Germany. I know what you want to say to
me, and I am of your opinion in advance. [43] Poland must have access to the sea.
I agree, and add that Danzig formed this access, offered to Poland by necessity."

That sums up the position. Danzig was admittedly German, but as there was no other
port available for Poland, she was to have it - in some shape or form. The Poles, as I
have already mentioned, have since proved that Danzig is not vital to them, for they now
do most of their foreign trade by way of Gdynia. But there was no great port of Gdynia
in those days. The Poles have developed it since, to cut out Danzig, thus showing that
the reason given by M. Marcel Sembat was invalid. Or, at least, that it is no longer valid.

The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post published on July 3rd, 1939, an article by
their former chief correspondent in Berlin, Mr. Hugh Carleton Greene. This article was
headed: "Why a Free Danzig is Essential to Polish Independence." Mr. Greene sought to
prove that Danzig should remain separated from the Reich, but he made considerable
admissions - perhaps involuntarily.

He himself quotes a statement which he regards as inconvenient for German
propagandists. Remarkably enough, his words support the view that Danzig is German.
His exact words are as follows:

"Danzig remained under the rule of the Knights until 1454 and was resettled by
Germans. Since 1308 there has been no doubt about its 'German character.'

[44] "By 1454, when a union was concluded between Danzig and the Kingdom of
Poland, the city was among the most prosperous ports of Northern Europe. This
union lasted until the second partition of Poland in 1793 - an inconvenient fact
which German propagandists are unable to explain away, although they insist,
quite rightly, on Danzig's semi-independent position and control over her own
affairs. Except for a short period as a Free State between 1807 and 1814,
Danzig was from 1793 part of Prussia until the ratification of the Treaty of
Versailles in January, 1920."

Mr. Greene's statements are correct, although he omits to mention that at the beginning
of the 18th century Danzig was occupied by the French in an endeavour to throttle our
trade. The main points he admits are that Danzig was German in character, and that it
was "among the most prosperous ports of Northern Europe" at the time of the union
with Poland in 1454. The Knights he refers to were the Teutonic Knights, and it is clear
that under their control Danzig reached the prosperity Mr. Greene quotes. He does well
not to mention the state of Danzig when the union with Poland came to an end, for the
city was then anything but prosperous. Why German propagandists should try to explain
away this union with Poland is not at all clear to me. But I agree that the union existed,
but, as Mr. Greene also says, Danzig was semi-independent.

[45] Mr. Greene also remarks in the course of his article that the solution was "not ideal"
as was "shown by the conflicts between Poland and Danzig during the post-war years."
This proves that the conflicts have nothing to do with the National Socialists, for there
was no single Nazi in Danzig in those days. In claiming that Danzig should remain
separated from the Reich, Mr. Greene still calls them "Danzig Germans."

The article in the Daily Telegraph sought to prove that Danzig is essential to Poland,
and tried to stress the Polish origin of the city. It failed completely because if Mr. Greene
quoted the actual facts, he drew the wrong conclusions from them. It is also mentioned
that Danzig was inhabited by Slavs long centuries ago - but Mr. Greene wisely avoids
the word "Poles." Slavs did live on the site of present Danzig - but they were not Poles.

To quote the 10th century to prove that Slavs lived in Danzig is, however, dangerous.
Even assuming that they had been Poles (which they were not), the argument would not
be nearly so good as that in favour of handing the United States of America back to the
Red Indians now living in the Reserves, for they owned the country at a comparatively
recent date, and there is no doubt whatever that they are the descendants of the former
lords of the prairie.

The Slav claim to Danzig, even if founded (which is doubtful), dates back much further,
though there is [46] absolutely no proof (quite the contrary) that the Poles are the
descendants of those Slavs.

If, however, a personal union with Poland long years ago entitles the Poles to claim
Danzig, then I see no reason why we should not lay claim to Hanover - the whole
province, not merely the town. Hanover and England were in a personal union from
1660 until 1837 - nearly two centuries. But I fear this proposal might work both ways.
It was, after all, a Hanoverian (i.e. a German) prince, Georg-Ludwig by name, who
assumed the title of George I of England, and came to London to rule over us as well as
the Hanoverians. In other words, we were under German rule for well nigh two
centuries. If a personal union enables the Poles to claim Danzig, the Germans might
equally well claim England, Scotland and Ireland. The absurdity of such an argument
must be obvious to anyone.

No such arguments as a personal union or the importance of the Vistula are valid. On
the contrary, there is no reason whatever for regarding the Polish claim to Danzig as in
any way tenable. Danzig can be the only judge as to whether it is German or not. The
recent elections have clearly proved that the city is German in feeling, as it is in other
respects.

It is true that the economic position of the Danzigers has not been bad of recent years,
but this was due to the German-Polish Agreement, which assured the Free City a little
business. Even so, the Poles [47] avoided the real issue by more or less distributing the
tonnage between Danzig and Gdynia, but arranging it so that the value of the goods
going and coming via Gdynia should be greater, as figures already quoted prove.

Danzig has long since had a purely National Socialist Government, while the Danzig
Radio Station is usually linked up with the Reich network. The Free State is too small to
be able to arrange its own broadcast programmes on a big scale. To join the system
with that of Poland would no doubt be welcomed in Warsaw, but it would have the
drawback that none of the Danzigers would understand what was being said. There is
no parallel with other small States. The only other State of small size with its own radio
is Luxembourg, whose programme is intended mainly for British consumption, rather
than for the local inhabitants.

The inhabitants of Danzig walk about with passports in their pockets. Indeed, they
cannot go far without reaching a frontier. It is possible to go for a long walk in places, of
course, but those who own cars must either travel abroad or drive in circles.
Furthermore, such a small State is never independent in an economic sense, and foreign
business is essential. Danzig business men have to go abroad to attend almost any
conference - unless the other parties travel to Danzig, of course.

I was sharing a railway compartment in one of the [48] Balkan countries with a Danziger
not long ago, and we discussed the formalities necessary.

He told me that such formalities were quite impossible in Danzig, for if such forms had to
be filled and so many questions were to be answered, a train would have crossed the
second frontier before the formalities at the first had been settled.

As a Free State, Danzig is an artificial creation, which has no connection with earlier
semi-independent or independent Free States. In earlier centuries small principalities and
minute dukedoms were dotted all over Europe. Travelling was done by stage coach and
it seemed to be quite a long way from one frontier to the other in any case. There were
very different conditions to be dealt with. But to-day, such a small State is a nuisance to
itself and others. It cannot be diplomatically represented, its currency is complicated,
and the modern transport needs cannot be met. Danzig was a problem created in order
to separate another group of Germans from the Reich. There was only one thing that
was forgotten at Versailles - the Danzigers themselves should, in accordance with the
much-vaunted principle of self-determination, have been asked to decide for themselves.

In order to show that these conclusions are not without the general support of
well-informed persons and journals, I may quote the Economist of July 8th, 1939. An
article endeavours to prove that the Poles [49] are largely in the right, but the admissions
made really prove the contrary. For example:

"But it would be wrong to think that the continued complaints from Danzig of
Polish commercial policy and the serious effects of Gdynian competition are
entirely unfounded. The structure of trade differs widely between the two ports;
the predominant part played in Danzig by bulk goods of great weight but
relatively small value makes total figures deceptive. Thus in 1937 Danzig exports,
other than coal, which amounted to no less than 3.6 millions against 2.38 millions
in 1936, decreased by nearly 200,000 tons...."

"In 1937, when the Free City was badly hit by Polish export restrictions on rye,
barley and fodder, following the worst harvest in many years, it was hardly
conducive to good feeling to find grain appearing in Gdynia, however modestly,
as an export commodity...."

Another interesting quotation from the Economist of the same date runs:

"Danzig's losses are thus beyond dispute. The table printed below shows how
strikingly the values of Poland's imports and exports through the two ports have
changed." [Scriptorium notes: see Appendix.]

Professor Charles Sarolea has also written in support of Danzig. The Professor is
known as a friend of Poland. He predicted the resurrection of that country in an article in
Everyman as far back as 1912. In 1921 he wrote a book "for the special purpose of
[50] defending Poland against the systematic and unjust attacks of the British Press," to
quote his own words. Three Polish translations were published, one by the Polish
Foreign Office, which, incidentally, also published a Polish rendering of the Professor's
"Impressions in Soviet Russia." Professor Sarolea prefaces his article, which appeared in
the Anglo-German Review for July, 1939, with the words: "I am entitled to claim that I
have always been a friend of Poland." He remarks that:

"Our policy is indeed a paradoxical one. In order to punish Germany for her
dismembership of Poland and Lithuania, we have made a military pact with
Poland, that is to say, with the very government which, in 1920, initiated the
dismemberment of Lithuania and the annexation of Wilno (Vilna), and which, in
1938, consummated the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia."

A further interesting quotation throws a new light on the whole situation:

"Since the Polish State regained its independence, on at least five occasions it
demonstrated its belief in the legitimacy of - and its allegiance to - power politics."

Examples follow, but they are similar to those I have already quoted. The Professor
goes on to say that the minorities entrusted to Poland "transformed her from a
homogeneous national state into a heterogeneous conglomerate of nationalities...."

Regarding Danzig, the same writer states:

[51] "Danzig is a purely German town. Ninety-five per cent of the population are
Germans. So homogeneous a population is, in itself, sufficient to prove that
Danzig always was a purely German town.... Nor, strangely enough, did the
Polish people themselves ever try to settle in any large numbers in Danzig
territory, so that a Polish minority problem never had any occasion to arise. It is,
indeed, a curious anomaly, as was set out by the Editor of this Review in a recent
article, that after 300 years of personal union under the Polish kings and of close
commercial intercourse, a much larger proportion of the Danzig population should
have been of Scottish origin than of Polish origin."

This is explained by the fact, already quoted by myself, that the Poles were not allowed
to become Danzig citizens during the personal union. But Professor Sarolea is
unquestionably right - it is remarkable that there were more Scots than Poles in Danzig.

The Professor also deals with the question of access to the sea, and dismisses Poland's
claims under this heading:

"As for the argument that Poland needs an outlet to the sea, in accordance with
one of the fourteen principles of President Wilson, such an argument, which might
have applied in 1918, no longer applies to-day, because the deliberate policy of
the Polish Government has destroyed its validity...."

[52] Lord Elton, speaking in the House of Lords in June, 1939, also raised doubts as to
the justice of Danzig's position. His precise words were as follows:

"All I should like to ask is: Have His Majesty's Government any sort of contact
with the German Government on the question of Danzig, or has that question
been relegated for the moment owing to its inflammatory character, or for other
reasons, to the category of the untouchable?"

This was much to the point, for the very mention of Danzig's German character has been
all but ruled as out of order.

According to the Gazetta del Popolo of Turin (No. 160), "Hitler will come into
possession of Danzig as surely as the sun will rise to-morrow morning." This journal was
of the opinion that no Anglo-French veto would make any greater impression than in
Autumn, 1938. Incidentally, Mussolini warned the Poles to moderate their attitude long
years before the Axis was thought of.

The Danzig problem was created at Versailles. Dean Inge went further than this in the
Church of England Newspaper (July 7th, 1939, front page), when he remarked that
"the things which we hate in Germany are largely the creation of the Allies, especially
France, after the peace. If we had made things easier for the Weimar Republic there
might have been no Nazism."

[53] It would be fitting to revise these clauses which have never met with the approval of
thinking Britons ever since the Treaty of Versailles has existed. But it would have been
much better if we had revised this treaty, and met the just demands of the minorities,
before Germany rearmed - in the days of the Weimar Republic.

The London Evening Standard (June 19th, 1939) published an article by George
Malcolm Thomson, in which the terms of the Peace Treaty were sharply criticised. The
heading ran: "Nobody wants to fight for Danzig." The article gives some interesting
details, of which I quote a few extracts:

"Certainly, it should not be hard to make a better settlement than the Peace
Treaty imposed on Danzig. By the time the negotiations were over, Danzig found
itself with four separate constitutions, and five or six different ruling authorities. It
became a Free City under the League. Its domestic affairs were controlled by the
Danzig Senate, its foreign relations by the Polish Government. But there were
complications.

"If you boarded a train in Danzig, you came under the jurisdiction of the Poles.
For the railways were Polish. If you got on a tramcar, on the other hand, you
were looked after by the Free City.... If you had business to do in Danzig
harbour, you came under the Harbour Board. And that was a half-and-half body,
partly Danzig, partly Polish, with a Swiss chairman.... When a Danzig citizen
wanted a [54] passport, he had to apply to Warsaw. When the city proposed to
raise a loan, again it had to apply for permission to Warsaw. The Poles generally
gave the passport, but they did not always consent to the loan.

"At any rate, for a whole year they held up a loan for harbour improvements. And
during that year, the Danzigers allege, the Poles pushed ahead with the
construction of their new port of Gdynia, on the Baltic....

"...to make the financial tangle worse, the Free City was cursed with two
currencies. The Danzig gulden and the Polish zloty. Both were legal tender. You
could use either... on the tram. But when you took the train you had to pay for
your ticket in Polish currency."

In the same article, Poland is warned not to regard Danzig as "a flag which, if hauled
down, would damage Poland's prestige and inflict injury on the nations acting in support
of Poland."

The description of the complications may serve to explain why Danzigers were against
having a "Free City" from the start. Other States have one central government, but the
"Free" part of Danzig consisted of having several authorities and other complications.
Mr. Thomson's article also makes it clear that Danzig is not a military basis, as so many
people wrongly believe. He writes, "...Danzig is not a military objective that wise
generals would choose to fight for." He also says that "if the Poles, defying [55] Hitler,
marched into Danzig, they would pay dearly for their rashness."

As regards the High Commissioner, the same article remarks that he cost £44,000 per
annum at first, but that he "does not appear often in the city" nowadays.

The concluding paragraph of this article also deserves quotation. It runs:

"But the sensible plan would be to recognise the national spirit of the German
population and, on that basis, to make a new accommodation between Polish and
German claims. The Poles have much less to fear from a Danzig where the
citizens dwell in contentment than from a city whose people feel themselves
deprived of a national right and subject to form of administration which they find
irksome."

The statements regarding Danzig and Gdynia are proved by official Polish figures. Each
year after 1924, the new port was extended or improved, and it is obvious that the right
to refuse the Free City permission to raise a loan to improve the harbour was to the
advantage of Gdynia. It is such matters that have made the Danzigers regard the Poles
as their competitors, and not as their friends and helpers.

It has been authoritatively asserted in England that Danzig was not included in the Reich
when the peace treaties were made because a foreign Power holding the delta of the
Vistula could blockade Poland and economically strangle that country. Now if this is so,
the argument I have already quoted regarding the [56] Rhine might be pressed by
Germany as meaning that the independence of the Reich was in danger because the
mouth of the Rhine is in Holland. The Danube question might be similarly dealt with. The
argument sounds outwardly feasible to those who have never left Britain's shores, and
who only know their rivers as entirely British. But such blessings are enjoyed by few
other lands. The Danube is shared by numerous countries, including Germany and
Hungary, and its tributaries extend through wide tracks of S. E. Europe. But certain East
Prussian villages were included in Polish territory, and not allowed to participate in a
plebiscite, so as to make the Vistula all-Polish. This was probably the first time in
Europe that villages were handed over to a foreign Power merely in order to keep the
banks of a river in one State. It created a very dangerous precedent.

As at that time Germany's army was restricted to 100,000 men, and no heavy arms
were permitted her, it is difficult to see how she could have blockaded Poland,
especially since the warships to accomplish such a task had been sunk at Scapa Flow.
But to-day Germany could blockade Poland. The Polish coast is some 50 miles in
length, and a small part of the German navy could accomplish this task with ease, as
every strategist will admit. We thus see that the possession of Danzig is not necessary
for a blockade.

I have quoted figures to show how the Poles have gradually withdrawn their trade from
Danzig, and [57] have shown that the value of the merchandise is sinking from year to
year. [Scriptorium notes: see Appendix.] A further example may help to make the
situation clearer. The value per ton of the goods passing through Danzig in 1938 was
62.8 zloty, that of goods entering or leaving Gdynia totalled 116.7 zloty per ton. It must
also be remembered that Danzig depreciated its currency largely with the object of
coming into line with the zloty (in 1935). But trade only enjoyed a brief benefit as a
result. That Danzig retained a part of its export trade was mainly due to foreign firms,
who preferred dealing with Danzigers. Communication was easier, for example. In fact,
imports via Danzig actually increased between 1934 and 1938 to a much greater degree
than those going through Gdynia. In the same period, exports through Gdynia grew
tremendously, mainly because the Polish authorities, in granting licences, favoured the
port they had built. Imports in 1934 via Danzig totalled 655,763 tons, via Gdynia,
991,544 tons; by 1938 Danzig was responsible for 1,547,866 tons, and Gdynia for
1,526,536 tons. And yet Danzig's total trade was only 7,131,752 tons, against Gdynia's
9,173,438 tons.

Those who allotted Danzig to Poland's customs union naturally believed that the Free
City would remain Poland's sole port. Indeed, the Poles had claimed it because they
needed a port. Wilson and Lloyd George would never have agreed to this if the Poles
had announced their intention of building a [58] rival port to undermine Danzig's trade. It
is true that Warsaw accorded Danzig a comparatively recent agreement, assuring the
Free City of a full share in trade. But there was no improvement in the situation - on the
contrary, immediately afterwards Danzig's share in the trade fell again, this time from 26
to 24% (in 1937).

Danzig developed industries to balance the growing loss of trade, but Poland placed a
high duty on machines and machine parts. This was a purely one-sided arrangement.
There was a time when the number of unemployed in Danzig totalled 40,000, which is a
figure corresponding to nearly four and a half million registered unemployed in Great
Britain. Danzig cannot be said to be extremely prosperous to-day, but what the city has
is due to orders from Germany. The shipyard, especially, is kept busy with German
orders, while Zoppot and the spas live mainly on German visitors.

The Vistula is one of the five great streams of Europe, and might reasonably be
expected to have proved the pride of Poland. But the river loses in importance from
year to year.

All this, so long as it applies to the Vistula in Polish territory, is, of course, the business
of the Poles alone. If they prefer to neglect their great river, it is not for us to complain.
But it is unjust for German land to be included in Poland, and for Danzig to remain
outside the Reich, in order to assure the Poles an all- [59] Polish river which they
themselves neglect, and which is not, as generally assumed, their main artery of
commerce at all.

Danzig has its own Senate, a High Commissioner appointed by the League of Nations,
and a Polish High Commissioner in residence. The members of the Senate are elected
by the adult population of these 750 square miles of territory forming the Free City.

But the High Commissioner appointed by the League takes no active part nowadays,
while, according to Mr. George Bilainkin, the author of "Poland's Destiny," "the resident
Polish High Commissioner is also ignored." Bilainkin, in the Sunday Press (July 16th,
1939) wrote that "Danzig's German citizens - and they are admittedly in a vast majority -
have every possible opportunity of exercising complete Germanism." Bilainkin also
writes of Danzig that "already Nazi flags fly from all houses." And his article aims at
proving that Danzig must remain outside the Reich. Yet he cannot avoid making these
important admissions.