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From: Irish Foreign Affairs: Editorials
Date: July, 2009
By: Editorial

Danzig and the Start of the Second World War

Seventy years ago the British Empire made use of the anomalous position of the City of Danzig, between Germany and Poland, to provide the occasion for launching a World War. The Danzig anomaly was created by Britain in 1919. Its only purpose could have been to make mischief. If might have been made part of either the Polish State or the German State. Instead of that it was made a point of contention between them.

In the Fall of 1938 Poland took part along with Germany in the breaking up of Czechoslovakia. Then early in 1939 Germany proposed a final settlement of the German-Polish border dispute, with the transfer of Danzig to the German State and German recognition of the Polish Corridor as Polish. To avert a settlement Britain offered Poland the use of its Army in its dispute with Germany. France under British influence did likewise. Poland refused to settle with Germany. Britain availed of the resulting conflict to launch general war but did not come to the assistance of the Poles.

In late August 1939 Russia, seeing how Britain and France were fuelling the German/Polish conflict, and with Poland absolutely refusing to make a defensive alliance with Russia against Germany, made a Non-Aggression Pact with Germany. This included a secret protocol about the eventuality of a collapse of the Polish State in its conflict with Germany. On the 70th anniversary the German/Soviet Non-Aggression Pact is presented as the cause of the World War, while the Agreements by which Britain built up the power of Nazi Germany are not mentioned. There would have been no dissent from this view if it had not provoked post-Communist Russia, which is emerging from the phase of capitalist anarchy, into thinking and speaking.

The European Parliament, intent on establishing Cold War relations with national-capitalist Russia, set the scene last year (23 September 2008) with a motion to establish a Day of Remembrance on August 23 for the victims of Nazism-Stalinism:

“The European Parliament having regard to [list of Conventions] ... Whereas the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 23 August 1939 ... divided Europe into two spheres of interest by means of secret additional protocols ... Proposes that 23 August be proclaimed European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, in order to preserve the memory of the victims of mass deportations and exterminations, and at the same time rooting democracy more firmly and reinforcing peace and stability in our Continent ...”

The motion was carried by 410 votes out of 736. It was circulated to member states with a list of its supporters, which included Jim Allister (Ulster Unionist), Brian Crowley (Fianna Fail), Gay Mitchel (Fine Gael), Sean O Neachtain (Fianna Fail) Eoin Ryan (Fianna Fail), and Kathy Sinnott (Independent). The reasoning seems to be that the Soviet Union, by making contingency provisions for the collapse of the Polish state in a German/Polish War caused the German/Polish War, which led to the British declaration of war and the division of Europe. The Soviet intervention, and reoccupation of territory conquered by Poland in 1920, happened in mid-September, after the Polish collapse. It would not have happened if the Polish state was holding its own against Germany, or if Britain (and France) had actually made war on Germany in early September in accordance with their Guarantee to Poland.

The division of Europe came about because Britain (and France) availed of the Danzig issue to declare general war on Germany, while neglecting to support Poland, and because it then stood idly by on the German border for 9 months, allowing the declaration of war to stand but making no effort to prosecute it, until Germany struck in the West, sent the British Army home, and made a provisional settlement with France. As it became clear that Hitler did not intend to invade Britain (clear to Churchill very early because of the breaking of the Enigma coding system), Britain let the declaration of war stand and sought means of getting others to fight it, as the French had let them down. That was the phase of ‘spreading the War’. The great prize was a German/Soviet War. That came about in June 1941.

By December 1941 the German offensive had been held. The defeat of Germany was set in motion in Russia in 1942. When Britain returned to France to re-engage in battle a couple of years later, the defeat of Germany by Russia was a virtual certainty. The spheres of interest followed naturally from that fact. And that is how civilisation was saved. Or was it? The European Parliament doesn’t think so. In its conception—supported by Irish pro-Europeans—the War, in its substance, was an event within a Nazi-Soviet continuum of totalitarian barbarity.