Gorque wrote: ↑
29 Jul 2022 01:49
I'm a little confused here: Wasn't Danzig like 80% German and wasn't Gdansk a fully operational port by then? If so, then what does it matter if Danzig gets incorporated into the Reich if Poland has a equally viable and much friendlier alternative?
The Free City of Danzig was a Polish-international (represented by the League of Nations) condominium. Additionally, at the beginning of 1939, Poland and Germany agreed that a Polish-German condominium there would have been a good idea.
The difference was between inherent and enforceable rights (the condominium) and (unenforceable) privileges granted by someone else (Danzig in Germany).
Germany didn't need Danzig; it had 15 such large ports (so by comparison, Poland needed 7). Danzig couldn't even exist without Poland; its goods traffic to Germany (i.e., East Prussia) was 1 percent of its traffic to Poland.
But even that was immaterial; Poland didn't argue that Danzig shouldn't have returned to Germany but that the compensation offered was inadequate. And that the other part - the extraterritorial road was unacceptable.
Hitler was aware that his offer was inadequate, so in the end, he offered a part of Ukraine for Danzig - something he didn't have and the Poles didn't need.
But even that was immaterial; Hitler went bonkers not because of Danzig but because of the British guarantees to Poland (and Eastern Europe) - negotiated, according to him, in violation of the German-Polish declaration of non-aggression.
And during the negotiations with Britain, the Poles didn't even argue that they needed Danzig badly.
The primary and only argument was Nazi Germany could have become a rogue state, determined to achieve its broader goals in Europe by military means.
That the line in the sand must have been drawn at Danzig, and Nazi Germany needed to be stopped there.
That Hitler's willingness to go to war for Danzig against the French-British-Polish coalition was the best indicator he wouldn't stop there, that there would be more.
And the "more" would directly threaten France and Britain.