German ultimatum in Poland
HistoryThe August 29th 1939, Germany requires of London to convince Warsaw to send to Berlin, for the August 30th, a plenipotentiary Polish in order to settle the question of Dantzig and corridor. The 30, the ambassador of the the United Kingdom in Germany suggests that the request is presented to the Poland by the normal diplomatic channels.
The 31, the ultimatum is diffused by the radio and officially given to the British ambassador. The fact that Warsaw did not send to Berlin, in the 24 hours, a representative invested of the capacities necessary to accept the ultimatum is interpreted by a rejection of their peace proposals by the Germans.
Text of the ultimatum
“ the situation between the German Reich and Poland is currently such as any later incident can lead to the release of the hostilities between the armed forces of the two countries, which already gave an opinion on each side of the border. Any peaceful solution of the problem must be of such nature that the events which, at the origin, led to the actual position of the things should not be repeated on another occasion and thus determine a state of tension, not only in Eastern Europe but elsewhere too.
the causes of this situation are to be sought in the intolerable demarcation of the borders imposed by the Traité of Versailles and by the unbearable fate which is made with the German minorities in the territories cut off from Reich.
While presenting these proposals, government German aims to find final solution which would put a term at the situation resulting from the current delimitation of the borders, solution which would ensure the two parts their vital routes transportation, which would eliminate as much as possible the problem from the minorities and which, for the part for which that is not possible, would return the fate of these minorities bearable by an effective guarantee their rights.
the government of Germany is fully convinced that it would be advisable to evaluate the economic damage and personnel which was inflicted to him as from 1918, and to refund them completely. Naturally, the German government considers that this engagement is obligatory for the two parts.
Of the preceding considerations rises the following specific proposals:
1. Because of its purely German character and unanimous will of its population, the free city of Dantzig must be immediately restored in German Reich.
2. The territory known under the name of Polish Corridor, i.e. the territory delimited by the the Baltic and a line which goes from Marienwerder to Graudenz, Kulm, Bromberg (these cities being included) and from there, in direction of the west, towards Schônlanke, will decide itself if it must become part of German Reich or remain with Poland.
3. With this intention, a plebiscite will be organized in this territory. Have the right to vote all the Germans who had domiciled in this zone at January 1st, 1918, or who were born there until this date inclusively, like all the Poles, Kachoubes, etc who had domiciled in this zone at the above mentioned date or who were born in this zone until this date inclusively. The Germans who were expelled of this territory will go back there to make record their vote.
to ensure an impartial plebiscite and to guarantee that the preparations necessary will have been correctly accomplished, an international commission similar to that which was formed for the plebiscite in the Saar, composed members designated by the four great powers: Italy, the USSR, France and Great Britain, will be immediately made up and will sit in this territory. This Commission will exert sovereign rights. For this purpose, the territory will be evacuated by the Polish military forces, the Polish police force and the Polish authorities, as soon as possible, to agree.
4. In theory, the Polish port of Gdynia is recognized like Polish territory. The details relating to the fixing of the limits of this Polish port will be decided by Germany and Poland and, if necessary, they will be defined by an international court of arbitration.
5. In order to have sufficient time to proceed to the preparations necessary of one impartial plebiscite, the plebiscite itself will not take place before a twelve months deadline.
6. So that, for this period, the transportation routes of Germany with the Eastern Prussia and the access of Poland to the sea can be guaranteed without restrictions, one will determine certain road axes and railway on which the transit will be free. According to what will be imposed only the rights necessary for handling of the transportation routes and for transport.
7. The assignment of this territory will be decided on the basis of absolute majority of the votes.
8. To not ensure after the plebiscite (and independently of its result) of the communications subjected to restrictions between Germany and the provinces of Eastern Dantzig-Prussia as well as the access of Poland to the sea, if the territory would go back to Poland in result of the plebiscite, it will be granted to Germany an off-shore zone of passage, energy of Butow with Dantzig or Dirschau, so that she builds there a German highway ( Reichsautobahn ) and a railway line with four ways. The construction of the highway and the railway line will have to be made in order not to harm the Polish transportation routes which will be crossed by separate level crossings: footbridges or undergrounds. This zone will be one kilometer broad and will belong to the German territory.
If the plebiscite would be favorable to Germany, Poland would have the same rights that Germany would have had to build road and railway routes transportation off-shore, guaranteeing same manner an free access and without restrictions on its port of Gdynia.
9. If the Polish Corridor would be restored in Reich, this last declares being laid out to negotiate with Poland an exchange of populations, insofar as the conditions of the Corridor lend themselves to this exchange.
10. Special straight claimed by Poland on the port of Dantzig will be negotiated on a basis of parity, in exchange of equal rights for Germany on the port of Gdynia.
11. To prevent that are born from the apprehensions on both sides, Dantzig and Gdynia will have to be purely commercial; i.e. none of these two localities will be equipped with military defenses or fortifications.
12. The peninsula of Hel which, according to the result of the plebiscite, will be allotted to Germany or Poland, will be demilitarized, it also, in any event.
13. The German government, having many complaints to make on the treatment inflicted with the German minorities by the Poles, and the Polish government, which is also considered him in right to complain about Germany, decide to carry out estimates for all the complaints relative to economic and personal damage, like for all the other terrorist acts.
Germany and Poland commit themselves compensating the minorities on both sides, of any economic damage or all other wrongs which would have been inflicted to them as from 1918, like revoking all expropriations or, if not, completely compensating the people for all the usurpations of an economic nature.
14. To release the Germans remained in Poland, or the Poles remained in Germany, of the impression not to be protected by the international law, and especially to ensure the certainty to them whom they will not be constrained to take share with actions, or to provide incompatible services, by nature, with their national convictions, Germany and Poland reciprocally commit themselves safeguarding the rights of their respective minorities by complete and obligatory agreements aiming at guaranteeing to these minorities a protection and a free development, as well as the respect of their uses, habits and traditions national; and in particular to guarantee to them, with this intention, the form of organization which they consider necessary. The two parts begin to exempt the members of the minority of the obligation of the military service.
15. If one would manage an agreement on the basis of these proposal, Germany and Poland declare themselves laid out to order and carry out immediately the demobilization of their respective armed forces.
16. Any necessary complimentary measure to accelerate the conclusion of the known as agreement will have to be decided jointly by Germany and Poland. ”
(Subject to translation conforms to the original).
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