Corridor of Dantzig
The Corridor of Danzig was a band of ground from 30 to 90 km broad which, between the first and second world war, separated the Eastern Prussia from the remainder of the Germany, following the Traité of Versailles of 1919. It was composed of the old province of Western Prussia, and included/understood partly the province of Posen. Asserted and begun again by the Nazi Germany, it was definitively allotted to Poland at the conclusion of the Second world war.
Reasons of its creationThis corridor gave to Poland an access to the Baltique, saving to him the typical economic problems of a State without access to the sea (as for the Suisse or the Luxembourg). But the Germans saw there especially the will of their winners, in particular France, to weaken and humiliate their country.
PopulationThe part of Western Prussia which returned to Poland had counted in 1910 1,7 million inhabitants for 25.542 km ². 64,4% had indicated German like native tongue, and 58,8% in Regierungsbezirk of Marienwerder (statistical of the language in 1910). After the First World War the Treaty of Versailles granted to Poland vast Prussian sectors with a German majority and a Polish minority and Cachoube. That contradicted the principle of the right of the people to self-determination, such as had required the US president Woodrow Wilson.
One had also attached the Baltic coast to it, since the river Piasnitz to the peninsula of Hel, the Bay of Putzig until Zoppot (the latter belonging to the free Ville of Dantzig). The unimportant fishing port of Gdingen became with an arranged port and a rail link with the industrial sector of the Polish part of the High-Silesia around Kattowitz.
Plebiscites and diplomacyThere were plebiscites on July 11th, 1920 in the parts of Western Prussia which were in the east of the Vistula and in the south of Eastern Prussia, to decide on the their membership of German Reich or in Poland. In Western Prussia 92% and Eastern Prussia 98% of the population wanted to remain German. The sector surrounding Marienwerder was consequently attached to Eastern Prussia remained German as “Regierungsbezirk Westpreußen”. The free city of Danzig and Eastern Prussia were separated by the corridor from the remainder of German Reich. The Germans remained between the two wars in the territories become Polish complained to be exposed with reprisals and vexations.
Long negotiations around the transit duties of Germany through the Corridor did not succeed. However the non-aggression pact germano-Polish of 1934 brought a significant appeasing and the German government did not insist on the difficulties which remained. The possibility of recovering the Corridor by a war was however always considered as shows it the Hossbach protocol.
It is only following the agreements of Munich that at the end of 1938 Hitler brutally gave on the carpet the question of the Corridor and Danzig. Inter alia Germany required now that the delimitation of the borders of the Treaty of Versailles was re-examined and - because of the vexations undergone by the German minority in these sectors - that a payment ensured the rights of the minorities. It required a plebiscite on the membership of these territories and proposed to grant as compensation an off-shore highway through the Corridor to the State which would lose the plebiscite. As Poland disallowed the German proposals Hitler benefitted from it to make assemble the tension between the two countries. This polemic around the Corridor was in background behind the false attack of the transmitter of Gleiwitz on August 31st, 1939. The attack which followed on Westerplatte close to Danzig, followed declaration of war to Germany by Great Britain (in accordance with the security guarantee given to Poland on March 31st, 1939) and by France, on September 3rd, 1939, marked the beginning of the second world war.
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