The Danzig Corridor

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Piotr Kapuscinski.
User avatar
Steve
Member
Posts: 946
Joined: 03 Aug 2002 01:58
Location: United Kingdom

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by Steve » 10 Jul 2022 21:19

In 1934 Hitler was in breach of the Versailles treaty by rearming. If Poland and France had combined to stop him rearming Hitler would have had to back down. Poland deciding to cuddle up to him meant this possibility was greatly reduced. When you have the grievances that Germany had against Poland you would not sign such an agreement unless there was something that superseded these grievances. In late 1938 these grievance again came to the fore because Hitler was now no longer worried about what Poland would do.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by wm » 10 Jul 2022 21:51

Steve wrote:
10 Jul 2022 21:19
In 1934 Hitler was in breach of the Versailles treaty by rearming. If Poland and France had combined to stop him rearming Hitler would have had to back down. Poland deciding to cuddle up to him meant this possibility was greatly reduced.
Unfortunately, that's just an unsupported opinion, not a fact.
Specifically, how did Poland greatly reduce the possibility to stop Hitler in 1934?
Considering that the largest military power in Europe - France faced defenseless Germany?

And why was everybody so enthusiastic about the Polish-German declaration - exactly in the same 1934?
The Times (Jan. 27 1934)
Jan. 27.png
The Times (Jan. 29 1934)
Jan. 29.png
nyt2a.png
nyt2b.png
nyt4.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Steve
Member
Posts: 946
Joined: 03 Aug 2002 01:58
Location: United Kingdom

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by Steve » 12 Jul 2022 12:39

That Germany was rearming in 1934 is an unsupported opinion of mine can only be described as strange. I said that if Poland and France had combined in 1934 (there were rumours at the time that the idea had been floated) they could have stopped Hitler. I do not see what is controversial about that. Until Germany had rearmed Hitler was not looking for military confrontations, he was apparently prepared to back down over the occupation of the Rhineland in 1936. As long as his military weakness prevented him from taking action over his grievances with Poland it was in his interest to maintain good relations and neutralise a possible threat. As to why people were so enthusiastic about the 1934 declaration it says why in the Times article. Clearly the future did not work out as seems to have been expected by the writer of the Times article.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13608
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by ljadw » 12 Jul 2022 14:11

Steve wrote:
12 Jul 2022 12:39
That Germany was rearming in 1934 is an unsupported opinion of mine can only be described as strange. I said that if Poland and France had combined in 1934 (there were rumours at the time that the idea had been floated) they could have stopped Hitler. I do not see what is controversial about that. Until Germany had rearmed Hitler was not looking for military confrontations, he was apparently prepared to back down over the occupation of the Rhineland in 1936. As long as his military weakness prevented him from taking action over his grievances with Poland it was in his interest to maintain good relations and neutralise a possible threat. As to why people were so enthusiastic about the 1934 declaration it says why in the Times article. Clearly the future did not work out as seems to have been expected by the writer of the Times article.
There was no reason for France and Poland to invade Germany in 1934.
They had also not the military power to defeat Germany and to occupy it .
And : a successful invasion would not profit them but would hurt them .
Besides : already in 1929, 4 years before Hitler took power, France had already decided to accept the rearmament of Germany .

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by wm » 14 Jul 2022 23:24

Steve wrote:
12 Jul 2022 12:39
That Germany was rearming in 1934 is an unsupported opinion of mine can only be described as strange. I said that if Poland and France had combined in 1934 (there were rumours at the time that the idea had been floated) they could have stopped Hitler. I do not see what is controversial about that.

I merely don't understand what Poland is guilty of here.
Considering that article 2 of the Locarno Pact between Germany, Belgium, France, and Great Britain (1925) stated:
Germany and Belgium, and also Germany and France, mutually undertake that they will in no case attack or invade each other or resort to war against each other.
and the German-Polish declaration of non-aggression merely stated:
Should any disputes arise between them ... in no circumstances, however, will they proceed to the application of force for the purpose of reaching a decision in such disputes.
Isn't what's good for the goose good for the gander?

User avatar
Piotr Kapuscinski
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 3722
Joined: 12 Jul 2006 19:17
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 16 Jul 2022 14:36

Steve wrote:
21 Jun 2022 02:28
On first reading the post I wondered what the point of it was but presumably the point is to show that Poland had an absolute right to the corridor and also that the Germans behaved badly in Danzig. This seemed obvious at first but then I thought did Poland have an absolute right?
Here is a timeline of the Corridor's history published by Poland during the Inter-War period:

Image

^^^
I posted it in a thread about Polish border changes since 960 (my nickname there is Domen):

http://www.historycy.org/index.php?showtopic=178521

English Google translation:

https://www-historycy-org.translate.goo ... x_tr_hl=pl

=====

And this video (with English subs) show how long each territory was under Germany's rule:

There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

User avatar
Piotr Kapuscinski
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 3722
Joined: 12 Jul 2006 19:17
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by Piotr Kapuscinski » 16 Jul 2022 14:47

Steve wrote:
21 Jun 2022 02:28
As far as I am aware the Polish Sejm of 1773 signed away the territory of the corridor so its acquisition by Prussia was legal.
But the Sejm signed it away only under the coercion by brute military force, of course.

And in general the Partitions of Poland were considered illegal by many lawyers, because:

1. No international power (apart from those which were directly involved in partitioning Poland - i.e. Russia, Prussia and Austria) recognized the partitions of Poland directly (= declared that "we accept the partitions of Poland"). We can argue if any of international powers recognized them indirectly (implicitly), indeed there were arguments about this during the decades following the Polish regaining of independence in 1918.

2. Some powers never recognized the partitions of Poland and stated so directly (e.g. the Ottoman Empire).

3. In 1918 the Polish Supreme Court initiated a discussion about the character of the legal bond between the 1st Republic of Poland (pre-1795) and the 2nd Republic of Poland (post-1918) in the context of Polish private property and estates confiscated after the January Uprising (1863).

The Polish Supreme Court stated, that Poland after the 3rd Partition continued to exist. It argued that:

- Poland collapsed by brute force, which was contrary to the international law.
- Western Powers never directly recognized the partitions of Poland.
- some Powers (e.g. the Ottoman Empire) directly opposed the Partitions.
- partitioning Poland was contrary to the right of self- determination of peoples.


In 1918 the Supreme Court announced the resumption of activities of state authorities of the Polish state, which had never ceased to exist (according to the Supreme Court). In the 1920s this position of the Polish Supreme Court was not questioned by any lawyers.

Also the Polish Constitution of March 1921 supported this position of the Supreme Court.

The preamble of the constitution of March 1921 says (translation):

In the name of Almighty God!
We, the Polish Nation, thanking Providence for liberating us from a hundred years long enslavement, remembering with gratitude the courage and perseverance of sacrificial struggle of generations, who their best efforts constantly devoted to the case of independence, referring to the great tradition of the memorable Constitution of May 3 - bearing in mind the welfare of the entire united and independent Mother Homeland, and desiring to reassure its independent existence, power and safety, as well as social order on everlasting principles of law and freedom, desiring also to ensure the development of its moral and material forces for the sake of entire renascent humanity, protecting equality, respect for labor, owing rights and special state care of all citizens of Rzeczpospolita - this here's Constitutional Act on the Legislative Sejm of Rzeczpospolita Polska resolve and proclaim.


However, in the 1930s Polish experts of international law started a legal debate / discussion about this issue.

Prof. Hubert from Lviv and his followers claimed that the 2nd Republic of Poland and the 1st Republic of Poland were the same state. Prof. Berezowski from Warsaw and his followers did not agree with Hubert and claimed that the post-1918 Poland was a brand new state.

=====

But there were also violations of international law by the partitioning powers (Prussia, Russia, Austria), quote:

"(...) The partitions of Rzeczpospolita were violations of the then existing in Europe international law, law which was based yet on the principle established in the Roman Law of the Twelve Tables, which said pacta sunt servanda - agreements must be kept. Russia conducting the partitions violated the international agreement which was the Treaty of Grzymultowski. All partitioning powers violated their commitments made after the first partition, in which they pledged not to lay any further territorial claims towards Rzeczpospolita. Catherine II also violated her commitments from 1764 & 1768. Also other principles of the international law were violated, including the principle of sovereignity of the state and the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other states. Constraint was applied to the Polish Parliament in order to force it to ratify the 1st and the 2nd partition treaties, which was also a violation of European law, which said that international agreements couldn't be concluded under coercion or duress. The 3rd partition wasn't even ratified, but it was yet only an act of violence, aggression. (...)"
There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13608
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by ljadw » 16 Jul 2022 16:23

Pacta sunt servanda is a 19th/20th century invention from Anglo-Saxon lawyers, thus after the partitions of Poland .
Besides :international laws have no place in international politics:these are based not on rights but on power .
Before the partitions,Poland had conquered, by force!, a lot of territories without the consent and even against the approval of the inhabitants of these territories . As did and still do all countries .
Pacta sunt servanda is something that can be used in private law, not in politics .

User avatar
Steve
Member
Posts: 946
Joined: 03 Aug 2002 01:58
Location: United Kingdom

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by Steve » 17 Jul 2022 17:11

As I said if the argument is that the Sejm only signed away the area of the corridor because of “coercion” and the treaty therefore has no standing then surely this argument can also be used by the Germans about Versailles. To base a claim to territory on what was there or who it belonged to centuries ago is a double edged sword. Germans in the future will be able to use this argument to claim that Pomerania is German because of its past. Will Poland agree that this is a valid argument?

The partition of Poland was recognised by the UK as well as the three participating partition countries at the 1815 Congress of Vienna. I hope no one is suggesting that the UK would ever recognise something that was not strictly legal!!!!!

Maybe the Polish Supreme Court was right in its statement but it can hardly be regarded as neutral in the matter. Did any other country apart from Poland take any interest in what the Polish Supreme Court or Polish experts on international law thought? It seems to be the fashion to apologise for what happened centuries ago so maybe the partitioners will very sincerely apologise.

I would guess that international law is on the side of the Cyprus Government in its dispute over Northern Cyprus but it matters not a hoot whether Cyprus is right or wrong legally. It only matters what the partitioning power Turkey wants.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by wm » 17 Jul 2022 17:41

ljadw wrote:
16 Jul 2022 16:23
Before the partitions,Poland had conquered, by force!, a lot of territories without the consent and even against the approval of the inhabitants of these territories .
Do we have examples of those massive territories conquered by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth? Excluding, of course, those which joined the Commonwealth willingly.


ljadw wrote:
16 Jul 2022 16:23
Pacta sunt servanda is something that can be used in private law, not in politics .
Really?
The Plenipotentiaries of North Germany, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Italy, Prussia, and Turkey, assembled this day in Conference, recognize, that it is an essential principle of the Law of Nations, that no Power can liberate itself from the engagements of a Treaty, nor modify its stipulations, except with the consent of the contracting parties by means of an amicable understanding.
London Protocol of 17 January 1871
THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES,
In order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security
…

by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another,
...
Agree to this Covenant of the League of Nations.

The Covenant of the League of Nations (1920)
Article 2
2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
The Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice (1945)
Article 26
“Pacta sunt servanda”
Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.
Article 27
Internal law and observance of treaties
A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform
a treaty.

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969)
(g) The principle that States shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter,
The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States (1970)

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13608
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by ljadw » 17 Jul 2022 18:05

1969,1970 ,etc have nothing to do with what happened before ww2 .

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13608
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by ljadw » 17 Jul 2022 18:26

wm wrote:
17 Jul 2022 17:41
ljadw wrote:
16 Jul 2022 16:23
Before the partitions,Poland had conquered, by force!, a lot of territories without the consent and even against the approval of the inhabitants of these territories .
Do we have examples of those massive territories conquered by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth? Excluding, of course, those which joined the Commonwealth willingly.



The inhabitants of Smolensk, Minsk, Kiev became inhabitants of Poland without that anyone asked their opinion .That was how things were done before the Americans were meddling in the business of Europe .
Before 1914 no one was talking about democracy and the right of self determination of people .After WW1 ,politicians were doing blahblah about the self determination and democracy,without any intention to do what they were preaching .
The Czechs did not ask the opinion of the inhabitants of Teschen or of Sudetenland when they occupied these territories . Neither did Poland when it invaded Russia and Ukraine, neither did the Italians when they occupied Trieste or Tirol ,etc,etc . Or the US when they prevented the independence of the Philippines .
The protocol of 1871 is another example of people saying : listen to what I am saying,but do not look at what I am doing .
All 6 signatories of the London protocol violated several times their engagements .A/H annexed in 1908 Bosnia-Herzegovina which was legally a part of the Ottoman Empire . Italy did the same with Libya,Germany annexed the Alsace without asking the consent of the population and invaded Belgium in 1914 .And all violated the sovereignty of China .

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by wm » 18 Jul 2022 22:06

ljadw wrote:
17 Jul 2022 18:05
1969,1970 ,etc have nothing to do with what happened before ww2 .
Although I didn't say that.

But of course, much earlier examples are easy to find:
the pacta doctrine is of divine origin in the Islamic legal tradition. It is an obligatory command of Allaah and a sacred practice (Sunnah) of the Prophet.
It is part and parcel of the faith (Iman) of the Muslims. Allaah has commanded them to fulfill their promises and thereby to uphold their faith and to render justice to others. Otherwise, punishment will follow both in this world and hereafter. So believers must keep their promises of all sorts, including international treaties unless they are against Shari’ah law. The Prophet has set the best examples of keeping promises by truly acting upon the command of Allaah. He honored treaties with other nations even at the expense of strategic disadvantages, humiliation, and perils to his community (Ummah). He kept his treaties until their agreed time limit had expired despite his and Muslim community’s unquestionable power and authority after the conquest of Makkaah.
...
As a consequence, it may be said that Islam perceives the pacta doctrine as a sacred principle of faith, religion, and law. The principle has emanated from Allaah, and the prophet has implemented it in the real-life situation setting examples for the Muslims and for the people at large.
Pacta Sunt Servanda: Islamic Perception by Anowar Zahid, Rohimi Shapiee
In Europe similar ideas were advanced by Henry of Segusio (+1272), John Wycliffe (+1384), Hugo Grotius (+1625).
Last edited by wm on 19 Jul 2022 01:08, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by wm » 18 Jul 2022 22:07

ljadw wrote:
17 Jul 2022 18:26
The inhabitants of Smolensk, Minsk, Kiev became inhabitants of Poland without that anyone asked their opinion .That was how things were done before the Americans were meddling in the business of Europe .
Smolensk was Polish just for 50 years during the period of lawlessness and anarchy in Russia (Smuta.) I'm rather sure its inhabitants preferred Polish rule to Smuta.
Minsk was settled by Lithuanians and, as result, merged into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Similarly - Kiev.
Even more, The Treaty of Hadiach envisaged Kyiv becoming the capital of the Grand Duchy of Rus' within the Commonwealth of Three Nations - Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth.


ljadw wrote:
17 Jul 2022 18:26
Before 1914 no one was talking about democracy and the right of self determination of people .After WW1 ,politicians were doing blahblah about the self determination and democracy,without any intention to do what they were preaching.
The Czechs did not ask the opinion of the inhabitants of Teschen or of Sudetenland when they occupied these territories. Neither did Poland when it invaded Russia and Ukraine, neither did the Italians when they occupied Trieste or Tirol ,etc,etc . Or the US when they prevented the independence of the Philippines.
The examples are irrelevant. Which treaty did the Czech violate by not asking the opinions? Or the US when they prevented the independence of the Philippines?

btw Poland didn't invade Russia and Ukraine. All the countries, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were defending themselves from the Soviet westward offensive of 1918–1919.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: The Danzig Corridor

Post by wm » 18 Jul 2022 22:34

I think we have a huge misconception here.
Poland (or rather Mr. Beck) was well aware that the British weren't interested in moth-eaten, old treaties.
And, being reasonable people, the British weren't interested in dying by hundreds of thousands for them.
Similarly, the British weren't interested if Danzig was valuable or not to the Poles. It wasn't their problem; they weren't Poles' keepers.
So, reasonably, Beck didn't use such arguments.

The principal argument was that (after Czechoslovakia and Memel) Danzig was a good indicator of Hitler's intentions.
If Hitler was ready to wage a (presumably world) war for such an insignificant gain (a provincial town, as he called it), then he wasn't going to stop there.
Warsaw. 2 lune 1939
secret.
To Mr. Marian CHODACKI
General Commissioner of the Republic of Poland
in Danzig.
...
As you know, in our negotiations with England and France, we raised the matter of Danzig i.e., we included it in casus foederis as a necessary condition for our agreement.
Our principal argument was that irrespective of Poland's direct interests in the Free City, from the European point of view, Danzig took on symbolic significance as the first 'no' spoken against the aggressive policy of the German Reich.
In our basic negotiations with the two partners, we obtained their recognition for our position.
...
Beck

Return to “Poland 1919-1945”