Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

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Delwin
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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Delwin » 10 Jan 2019 16:47

The way that the Polish Corridor was set up in real life likely allowed it to have a Polish-majority population if one considers Kashubians to be Poles. To my knowledge, Danzig was a German-majority city even back in the days of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
It would be difficult to call people living in Gdansk during Commonwealth to be called Germans or even Prussians. For sure you may claim that them German speaking population was the majority for Gdansk itself (not that much for surrounding villages) but even though they might be called German- speaking "Poles" since Gdansk was defiantly first left German speaking Teutonic Order and further resisted being incorporated by Prussia. For sure however, in 1919 most the local population were Germans.

From the perspective of having "divided" country, it was (as one may see) not uncommon. Prussia before the partition of Poland is obvious example. Now we have Kaliningrad Circuit...

The proposed solution was compromise which could not satisfy neither Germany or Poland. For Poland, the existence of the real harbor was essential to having independence and it was obvious that both for military and commercial reasons Poland will build the new harbor anyway. This however is a economical blow to Gdansk - Gdansk without Poland (as it was clearly seen in XIX century) was degradated to third class harbour in Baltics.

So the only options I can see (assuming no-one wants to have Poland subordinated to Germany after 1919) is:
- grant Gdansk to Poland with part of west bank of Vistula river.
- grant Gdansk to Germany after having it termporarily with certain benefits for Poland until Poland builds its own harbor. This however would require significant subsidizing Poland to have it be able to build it, along with railways. Poland is unhappy in military terms (it is undefendable as in real life) but economically it works. But it costs...

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 10 Jan 2019 17:12

Futurist wrote:
10 Jan 2019 07:18
In regards to the Soviets, I believe that Churchill wrote in his post-war memoirs that there were railroads through Romania and Hungary which the Soviet Union could use to avoid Czechoslovakia and which did not pass through either the Romanian capital or the Hungarian capital.

Churchill sometimes wrote very ignorant things.
Laws of War
Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land (Hague V)
October 18, 1907
...
Art. 2.
Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 10 Jan 2019 17:34

Futurist wrote:
10 Jan 2019 07:03
BTW, wm, why exactly wouldn't even a surviving Weimar Germany have tried to resolve its border issue with Poland by force if it would have been sure that Britain and France wouldn't intervene on the side of the Poles in any German-Polish conflict?
Well, Europe and Germany were changing, the old ways (war is the continuation of politics by other means) really were slowly becoming old news. Peaceful movements were massive everywhere.
I don't think Germany would have decided to wage a major war just to regain some territory. Especially that according to international law it would be pure aggression. Legally the lands were Polish forever.

Germany wasn't a nation of murderers as it was claimed later.
According to one source at the height of the Sudeten crisis, Hitler asked someone (Goebbels or Goering) about the Germans, and the answer was; Mein Fuhrer the Germans observe the events (leading to war) with leaden indifference. And at this very moment, he decided to choose peace instead of war.
It wasn't that easy wage wars even in Germany.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 10 Jan 2019 17:48

Futurist wrote:
10 Jan 2019 02:14
IIMHO, if it was acceptable for Poland to create an independent Ukrainian state on Ukrainian territories west of Galicia and Volhynia, it should have also been acceptable for Poland to create an independent Ukrainian state in Galicia and Volhynia--both of which Poland retained in its peace settlement with the Soviets. After all, wasn't Poland going to puppetize Ukraine anyway? If so, there wasn't going to be any risk of a Communist takeover in Galicia and Volhynia even if Poland would have given them independence (of course, Poland would obviously keep Polish-majority western Galicia for itself).
The goal was Russia as it's today, and Poland protected by a few states - exactly as today.

Russia (and later the USSR) was called the prison of nations. Piłsudski wanted to free the prisoners and make Poland safe in the process.
Poland was going to puppetize (and defend) Ukraine. Ukraine couldn't survive on its own.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 10 Jan 2019 21:32

wm wrote:
10 Jan 2019 17:48
Futurist wrote:
10 Jan 2019 02:14
IIMHO, if it was acceptable for Poland to create an independent Ukrainian state on Ukrainian territories west of Galicia and Volhynia, it should have also been acceptable for Poland to create an independent Ukrainian state in Galicia and Volhynia--both of which Poland retained in its peace settlement with the Soviets. After all, wasn't Poland going to puppetize Ukraine anyway? If so, there wasn't going to be any risk of a Communist takeover in Galicia and Volhynia even if Poland would have given them independence (of course, Poland would obviously keep Polish-majority western Galicia for itself).
The goal was Russia as it's today, and Poland protected by a few states - exactly as today.

Russia (and later the USSR) was called the prison of nations. Piłsudski wanted to free the prisoners and make Poland safe in the process.
Poland was going to puppetize (and defend) Ukraine. Ukraine couldn't survive on its own.
That plan is all fine and dandy other than for the fact that Poland's eastern border is located much further to the west today than it was back then. If you want to have a strong, pro-Western Ukraine, you need to give Galicia and Volhynia to Ukraine. As I previously wrote here, without Galicia and Volhynia, the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine would have likely been able to get their way and have Ukraine join the Eurasian Union.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 10 Jan 2019 22:23

It wasn't doable, major political forces were against it. It's pointless to propose impossible things. It was one of those things that eventually would need "shooting it out".

The territories were in Poland for hundreds of years, joined willingly, were populated by Polish, Jewish, local elites that "went Polish," and masses of mostly indifferent Ukrainian peasants.
Resistance of the emerging Ukrainian movement wasn't especially strong, The Ukrainian "IRA" killed a few Polish politicians but Poland had lots of them. There wasn't any sense of urgency.

Ukraine wasn't threatened by pro-Russian forces - they didn't exist, it was threatened by communism - because communism was a very powerful pathogen readily accepted by the poor and by the elites.

Piłsudski's strategy was going to take care of that anyway - by eliminating the Russian/Soviet Empire.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 11 Jan 2019 05:12

In answer to a few points raised by wm. There was Polish planning for a German attack; it would be surprising if there wasn’t. Work on a strategic plan against Germany was initiated by Rydz-Smigly in 1935. The team assigned to it was led by General Kutrzeba and an initial draft was completed in spring 1936 and discussed with the French that summer. Later there were studies on what would be Plan Zachod an initial version of which was ready in March 1939. Army Pomorze was situated in the neck of the corridor apparently in case the Germans only tried to seize Danzig and the corridor. The Poles did expect the French to launch an offensive in two weeks.

I would not describe the Ukrainian peasants as indifferent and the Ukrainian resistance movement or O.U.N was bigger and more brutal than the IRA. A Soviet report on the O.U.N. estimated that during the Polish collapse in September about 7,000 Ukrainians rose up and killed hundreds of Poles.

In answer to a few points raised by Futurist. Even after the Nazi Soviet pact was signed the penny does not seem to have dropped with the Polish leadership as to its implications. Quite likely if Poland had accepted Stalin’s help it would have ended up as Czechoslovakia did in 1948. Rumania also did not agree to the passage of Soviet troops and if I remember correctly the Poles said they would not allow the Red Army to move through Rumania into Czechoslovakia. Churchill’s remarks are silly and may have been intended to make Chamberlain look bad over how he handled the crisis. Churchill had a very selective memory.

True you can argue that the Germans in Danzig had the right to self determination as did the Sudetenland Germans. The three million Germans in Czechoslovakia had never been under German rule which is perhaps why Germans were more incensed over Danzig. Lloyd George was strongly against weakening Germany to much one reason being that if Germany did not sign the Versailles treaty it would cause a crisis. He proposed that Poland be given free use of the Danzig Mlawa Warsaw railway and free use of the port. On one occasion he reportedly said that “he wanted to lock Poland off from the sea” an odd attitude.

Danzig in 1939 was not vital for Poland’s survival. In terms of bulk cargos perhaps rather more than half went through Danzig but in terms of value it was well below half. Gdynia was growing rapidly while Danzig was stagnating. Danzig needed Poland perhaps more than Poland needed Danzig. It was easy for a German to cross the corridor but quite likely crossing was an occasion for anger and revanchist thoughts.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Delwin » 11 Jan 2019 11:59

Army Pomorze was situated in the neck of the corridor apparently in case the Germans only tried to seize Danzig and the corridor.
That's true. In original Plan Zachod Army Pomorze was supposed to be south to Vistula, outside of the neck. The change of plans was made last minute in August - so called "Intervention Corp" was devised and three IDs, single Cavalry Brigade and number of smaller units (however altogether around few battalions) were put into the neck. At the end, only one full division made the retreat fast enough (by trains) and the rest was decimated by Guderian forces - the decision to withdraw the Intervention Corp was taken on 31st August so at least 48 hours late...
The Poles did expect the French to launch an offensive in two weeks.
Not just just expected- it was an element of the agreement (Kasprzycki-Gamelin) made in May 1939. Although French had slightly different interpretation of their commitment... Recently, very good Polish historian, Wojciech Mazur, published very good account (focusing on airforce issues but also giving general background) of UK and French "dancing" how to help Poland, doing as little as possible. Or even less.
I would not describe the Ukrainian peasants as indifferent and the Ukrainian resistance movement or O.U.N was bigger and more brutal than the IRA. A Soviet report on the O.U.N. estimated that during the Polish collapse in September about 7,000 Ukrainians rose up and killed hundreds of Poles.
I am not sure whether we can draw parallels but it was less fierce than Easter Rising of 1916. OUN was pretty strong but their base was mostly in former Austria-Hungary part of seized Poland. I need to check the numbers of involved participants though. On the other hand - Ukrainian and Belorussian soldiers in Polish army were praised as tough and disciplined. One of the best Polish ID divisions (20 and 30 ID) had significant part of lower ranks from those areas. Despite fears about their loyalty, as long as the units kept together, there was no issue with them (other than with anyone else).

On Danzig- yes, in 1939 it was not matter of live and death for Poland from the economical perspective: but Gdynia could not handle the whole trade of Poland. Not sure whether it could be possible without building second harbor: after the war (outside of Szczecin/Stettin area) there were three big harbors: Gdynia and two (including newly build North Harbor) and still it was not too much. I believe if German would come with some reasonable offer, like some transition period, common petition to LN, some kind of guarantees and maybe incentives (German investment in Gdynia?) some kind of agreement could be reached. The problem was that FSD was just the pretext - it went together with highway and (which quite few conveniently forget) obligatory joining the Anti-Comintern Pact which actually would mean open hostility against SU.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 11 Jan 2019 20:14

Steve wrote:
11 Jan 2019 05:12
I would not describe the Ukrainian peasants as indifferent and the Ukrainian resistance movement or O.U.N was bigger and more brutal than the IRA. A Soviet report on the O.U.N. estimated that during the Polish collapse in September about 7,000 Ukrainians rose up and killed hundreds of Poles.
Some Ukrainians exploited the occasion and attacked small groups of soldiers trying to gain weapons. That was something to be expected.
And there were many criminal attacks and robberies. That was something to be expected too.

Much more dangerous were communist attacks and uprisings, mainly by Ukrainian and Jewish communists leading sometimes to prolong battles.
In earlier years the territories were more like a battlefield than anything else as communist terrorist groups (local but mostly from the USSR) were trying to radicalize the population.

It should be remembered the Ukrainians weren't restricted in their political activities (at least not differently from the Poles - it was after all a semi-authoritarian country), but communism was forbidden as a terrorist movement. Communism was much more dangerous and destructive than (weak) Ukrainian independence movement.

In 1938 after the Polish military exercises in Volynia (directed at Soviets) it was universally reported the population became more friendly (impressed the massive display of force).

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 11 Jan 2019 20:28

Steve wrote:
11 Jan 2019 05:12
Work on a strategic plan against Germany was initiated by Rydz-Smigly in 1935. The team assigned to it was led by General Kutrzeba and an initial draft was completed in spring 1936 and discussed with the French that summer. Later there were studies on what would be Plan Zachod an initial version of which was ready in March 1939.
Those was fact-finding studies (there were a few of them), they had nothing to do with military planning.
The studies demonstrated the infamous - it would be a few months and no more, used in the talks with the French.

The best expert on the September Campaign Marian Porwit (a lecturer in the pre-war Polish War College, later a defender of Warsaw) writes in one of his books (Komentarze do historii polskich działań obronnych 1939 roku):
with a heavy heart I have to say that the Polish General Staff received directions for the defensive war with Germany at the end of February 1939 ... only in March 1939 strategic decisions were made by state authorities.
Even more, the naive 1939 plan (and the ancient from 1936) was never war-gamed because the time ran out. The Germans war-gamed their plan of the Battle of France several times till he became "not bad". The Poles never - thousands of Polish soldiers died pointlessly and the war was shorter than it should have been as result.
Frankly speaking, the plan was worthless and it was worthless because there was no time to make it at least "not bad."

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Steve » 12 Jan 2019 05:07

Hello Delwin.
Mr Mazur is right there was never any intention to make an effort to help Poland. A common misconception is that when the war started there was an agreement in place that France would launch an offensive on the fifteenth day of the war. The military part of the agreement reached on May 19 had no validity until a political agreement had been signed and the French did not sign until September 4. There was no way France would commit to a war against Germany without being sure of the UK which declared war on September 3. Any aid sent to Poland could only get in through Rumania along I believe a single track railway and the Germans told Rumania not to allow it in. The British planned for a long war and they expected Poland to be overrun in about three months so there was no point in trying to send aid.

The offer Ribbentrop made on October 21 1938 was for the return of Danzig and an extraterritorial road and rail link. In exchange Poland would receive a free port in Danzig and retain transport links and economic facilities there and the Polish-German frontier would be guaranteed. There was talk of extending the 1934 pact, colonial matters, emigration of Jews from Poland and a joint policy towards Russia based on the Anti-Comintern Pact.

When Beck met Hitler January 5 the proposals seem to have been much the same but Hitler talked of creating a new way of running Danzig that would safeguard both countries interests. As far as I am aware Hitler did not say that joining the Anti-Comintern Pact was obligatory and his offer was on condition Poland joined the pact. Lipski in his “Diplomat in Berlin” says about the meeting in general that “Hitler exerted no special pressure in this matter”

Given the economic and military imbalance between the two countries for Poland to insist on the status quo was a dangerous policy. I have never understood why after destroying Czechoslovakia Hitler never stopped Polish trade through Danzig and imposed a blockade. Lithuania would probably have joined in, the USSR was no friend and Rumania could probably have been persuaded to see the light.

N/B I am not suggesting that Hitler was a decent fair minded person who would have kept to an agreement.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 12 Jan 2019 06:54

Steve wrote:
12 Jan 2019 05:07
As far as I am aware Hitler did not say that joining the Anti-Comintern Pact was obligatory and his offer was on condition Poland joined the pact. Lipski in his “Diplomat in Berlin” says about the meeting in general that “Hitler exerted no special pressure in this matter”
You mean "was on condition Poland joined the pact" or "wasn't on condition Poland joined the pact"?

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by Futurist » 12 Jan 2019 06:57

Delwin wrote:
10 Jan 2019 16:47
The way that the Polish Corridor was set up in real life likely allowed it to have a Polish-majority population if one considers Kashubians to be Poles. To my knowledge, Danzig was a German-majority city even back in the days of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
It would be difficult to call people living in Gdansk during Commonwealth to be called Germans or even Prussians. For sure you may claim that them German speaking population was the majority for Gdansk itself (not that much for surrounding villages) but even though they might be called German- speaking "Poles" since Gdansk was defiantly first left German speaking Teutonic Order and further resisted being incorporated by Prussia. For sure however, in 1919 most the local population were Germans.

From the perspective of having "divided" country, it was (as one may see) not uncommon. Prussia before the partition of Poland is obvious example. Now we have Kaliningrad Circuit...

The proposed solution was compromise which could not satisfy neither Germany or Poland. For Poland, the existence of the real harbor was essential to having independence and it was obvious that both for military and commercial reasons Poland will build the new harbor anyway. This however is a economical blow to Gdansk - Gdansk without Poland (as it was clearly seen in XIX century) was degradated to third class harbour in Baltics.

So the only options I can see (assuming no-one wants to have Poland subordinated to Germany after 1919) is:
- grant Gdansk to Poland with part of west bank of Vistula river.
- grant Gdansk to Germany after having it termporarily with certain benefits for Poland until Poland builds its own harbor. This however would require significant subsidizing Poland to have it be able to build it, along with railways. Poland is unhappy in military terms (it is undefendable as in real life) but economically it works. But it costs...
Yes, it's possible that the people of Danzig were initially Poles and ended up being Germanized over time.

As for a divided country, there is also the mainland U.S. and Alaska. Of course, I am unsure as to just how much traffic goes by land through Canada between the U.S. and Alaska.

As for your solutions here, your second solution appears to be the most reasonable one. Of course, the Polish Corridor would permanently remain Polish in such a scenario--thus providing another bone of contention between Germany and Poland.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by wm » 12 Jan 2019 13:00

I don't quite understand what problem that would solve.

It wasn't about Danzig or corridor. There were long, snail-paced preliminary discussions, opinions were exchanged and no real negotiations.
Then Hitler invaded Czecho-Slovakia and this led to talks between alarmed Britain and Poland,
Hitler got offended and started issuing threats as he became aware Poland was not going to remain passive during his planned war with France.

And Poland wasn't going to remain passive with Danzig or without Danzig.

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Re: Would Pilsudski have allied with Hitler had he lived?

Post by henryk » 12 Jan 2019 19:46

Futurist wrote:
12 Jan 2019 06:57
As for a divided country, there is also the mainland U.S. and Alaska. Of course, I am unsure as to just how much traffic goes by land through Canada between the U.S. and Alaska.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Highway
The Alaska Highway (also known as the Alaskan Highway, Alaska-Canadian Highway, or ALCAN Highway) was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska across Canada. It begins at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. Completed in 1942 at a length of approximately 1,700 miles (2,700 km), as of 2012 it is 1,387 mi (2,232 km) long. The difference in distance is due to constant reconstruction of the highway, which has rerouted and straightened out numerous sections. The highway was opened to the public in 1948.[1] Legendary over many decades for being a rough, challenging drive, the highway is now paved over its entire length.[2] Its component highways are British Columbia Highway 97, Yukon Highway 1 and Alaska Route 2.
The Alaska Highway is popularly (but unofficially) considered part of the Pan-American Highway, which extends south (despite its discontinuity in Panama) to Argentina.

Proposals for a highway to Alaska originated in the 1920s. Thomas MacDonald, director of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, dreamed of an international highway spanning the United States and Canada. In order to promote the highway, Slim Williams originally traveled the proposed route by dogsled. Since much of the route would pass through Canada, support from the Canadian government was crucial. However, the Canadian government perceived no value in putting up the required funds to build the road, since the only part of Canada that would benefit was not more than a few thousand people in Yukon.

In 1929 the British Columbia government proposed a highway to Alaska to encourage economic development and tourism. American President Herbert Hoover appointed a board with American and three Canadian members to evaluate the idea. Its 1931 report supported the idea for economic reasons, but both American and Canadian members recognized that a highway would benefit the American military in Alaska. In 1933, the joint commission proposed the U.S. government contribute $2 million of the capital cost, with the $12 million balance borne by the Canadian and BC governments.[5] The Great Depression and the Canadian government's lack of support caused the project to not proceed.

When the United States approached Canada again in February 1936, the Canadian government refused to commit to spending money on a road connecting the United States. The Canadians also worried about the military implications, fearing that in a war between Japan and North America, the United States would use the road to prevent Canadian neutrality. During a June 1936 visit to Canada, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Prime Minister W. L. M. King that a highway to Alaska through Canada could be important in quickly reinforcing the American territory during a foreign crisis. Roosevelt became the first American to publicly discuss the military benefits of a highway in an August speech in Chautauqua, New York. He again mentioned the idea during King's visit to Washington in March 1937, suggesting that a $30 million highway would be helpful as part of a larger defense against Japan that included, the Americans hoped, a larger Canadian military presence on the Pacific coast. Roosevelt remained a supporter of the highway, telling Cordell Hull in August 1937 that he wanted a road built as soon as possible.[6] By1938, Duff Pattullo, the BC premier, favored a route through Prince George. The U.S. offered either a $15 million interest-free loan, or to cover half the construction costs.[5]

The attack on Pearl Harbor and beginning of the Pacific Theater in World War II, coupled with Japanese threats to the west coast of North America and the Aleutian Islands, changed the priorities for both nations. On February 6, 1942, the construction of the Alaska Highway was approved by the United States Army and the project received the authorization from the U.S. Congress and Roosevelt to proceed five days later. Canada agreed to allow construction as long as the United States bore the full cost, and that the road and other facilities in Canada be turned over to Canadian authority after the war ended. It proved unimportant for the military because 99 percent of the supplies to Alaska during the war were sent by sea from San Francisco, Seattle and Prince Rupert.

The original agreement between Canada and the United States regarding construction of the highway stipulated that its Canadian portion be turned over to Canada six months after the end of the war.[14] This took place on April 1, 1946, when the U.S. Army transferred control of the road through Yukon and British Columbia to the Canadian Army, Northwest Highway System. The Alaskan section was completely paved during the 1960s. The lower 50 miles of the Canadian portion were paved in 1959,[15] but the remainder was largely gravel. Now completely paved (mostly with bituminous surface treatment), as late as the mid-1980s, it comprised sections of winding dusty road sandwiched between high quality reconstructed paved segments.

The portion of the Alaska Highway in Alaska was planned to become part of the United States Numbered Highway System, and to be signed as part of U.S. Route 97. In 1953, the British Columbia government renumbered a series of highways to Highway 97 between the U.S. border at Osoyoos, U.S. 97's northern terminus, and Dawson Creek. In 1964, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved an extension U.S. 97 from the Yukon border to Livengood along Route 2, conditional to Yukon renumbering its portion of the Alaska Highway; the Yukon government declined to renumber its portion of the highway and approval was withdrawn in 1968.[

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