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 THE WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, Friday 24th February 1933   

The Red Light in East Europe

Frontier Quarrel Between Germany and Poland 

By Gareth Jones 
[Click on image for larger picture- Gareth's Route across Europe]

Mr. Gareth Jones and Hitler.

On Thursday Mr Gareth Jones is to fly with Hitler, the German Chancellor, from Frankfurt to attend a Nazi meeting.

This was the first time Hitler had invited a foreign observer to fly with him since he became Chancellor

Mr. Gareth Jones will describe his experience in exclusive articles in the “Western Mail & South Wales News


One of the world’s most renowned journalists made a remarkable prophecy to me, as we lunched in a restaurant just off Unter den Linden. 

I had told him of my flight across the Polish Corridor and of the tenseness of feeling among the peoples in Danzig and East Prussia. 

“Yes,” he said; “look out for trouble there.  The Germans will sacrifice everything-life, wealth, everything-to win back that unfertile, dull patch of fields, woods and lakes.  And they will one day get the Corridor back.”

“How will they do that?” I asked.

The journalist replied: “Keep your eye on the re-organisation of the German Army.  It is going to take place this year, and the re-arming will go up steadily.  In a few years’, time-no one knows when-when the Army is strong enough, Hitler will ask Poland to reconsider the question of the Corridor.  The Poles will say emphatically, “No!” Then in Germany a huge press campaign will be opened against Poland. 

Creating Alarm 

“Germans will be fired into a blaze of indignation against everything Polish.  Rumours will be skillfully spread to the effect that the Polish soldiers are going to invade the Free, State of Danzig.  Imagine the alarm which will electrify Germany.   

To prevent Polish troops from entering Danzig, which is German by culture, but politically under League of Nations’ suzerainty, German Reichswehr troops will march in and occupy that city. 

“Then the propaganda machine will continue its nefarious activities.  There will be frontier incidents.  Some German frontier guards will be found murdered.  False documents will be published purporting to show that Poland is about to attack Germany.  Someone in Berlin will press the button and the German troops will march across the Corridor and reunite East Prussia with the Fatherland.” 

The Nazi View 

That prophecy may be alarmist, but there is no doubt that the eyes of millions of Germans are facing eastwards.  This was confirmed by my visit to the headquarters of the Nazis in the Kaiserhof Hotel (the “Ritz” of Berlin), where I was received and entertained for over two hours by Hitler’s private, secretary in his suite overlooking the Chancellor’s Palace. 

Of the several conversations I had with Nazis in the Kaiserhof one struck me as being especially dangerous in its implications in Eastern Europe.  The Hitlerite said that Germany should look towards the East of Europe, where she should have economic and political power. 

“Our National Socialistic Eastern policy,” he said, “means nothing more or less than this: that we must conquer, colonise and settle our Germans in, the East of Europe just as the ‘Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation’ advanced towards the East from A.D. 900 to A.D. 1500.” 

Future Battleground 

The first push for such a policy would be that area which I saw from the air a day or two ago.  The panorama of Danzig, Gdynia, the Baltic and the Polish woods and fields which seemed to roll underneath as the aeroplane rocked and tossed is a vital clue to the future of Europe. 

That area may be a real military battle• field in the future.  It is already now a battlefield on which the Poles are trying to smash the Germans politically and economically. 

What is the quarrel between Germans and Poland?

Firstly, the Polish Corridor, which connects Poland with the sea and cuts off Germany from East Prussia, has become for each nation a symbol.  For Germany it is a symbol of national dishonour which must be effaced. 

The German says: “It is a disgrace that a great civilised country should be cut in two and that an uncivilised set of scoundrels like the Poles should rule brutally over our fellow countrymen.  It is a disgrace that our defeat in the war should have led to East Prussia standing open to attack from the Poles.  Moreover, our defeat has led to Poland’s frontier ‘coming dangerous1y near to Berlin.  Germany must have the Corridor back again.  We must have the German areas back again and not be treated like dogs. 

Poland’s Attitude 

The Pole says: “For 150 years we Poles had no State.  Our land was stolen from us in the end of the Eighteenth century by the rapacious Germans, Russians and Austrians.  Poland was partitioned.  Since 1919 we are a State again, and our suffering and struggles for our nation have been rewarded.  And now Germany wishes, partition us again, to sweep us off the face of the earth. 

“The first step is the return of the so called Polish Corridor.  Once we give up that area, which is rightly and justly ours we are lost as a nation and we will be partitioned again.  No; we will fight to the death rather than give up our territory.” 

Life or Death Race 

The second question is Gdynia, the brand new Polish Corridor port on the Baltic, from which coal is exported in competition with Welsh coal in the Scandinavian countries.  It is Poland’s only port and millions of pounds have been spent on it, although there is a first- class harbour and docks in Danzig, a few milesa way.  The competition of Gdynia is ruining Danzig, and the Danzigers are alarmed for their existence.  The Poles, wanting to become a seafaring nation, are favouring in every way their new port and thus strangling Danzig.  Gdynia has made rapid strides, and though in 1923 it was merely a group of fishermen’s huts.  It exported in 1932 over 4,000,000 tons of coal.  In 1932 this former village and now mushroom port exported 650,000 more tons of coal than did the vast port of Danzig.  The race between Gdynia and Danzig is a race of life and death between the old German city and the newly-arisen Polish outpost on the sea, and, with the help of powerful backers, the Polish port is winning.  Gdynia is thus for the Poles also a symbol-the symbol of national triumph over a proud German city, and Poles would lay down their lives rather than acknowledge defeat and give up Gdynia. 

The Tariff War 

The third bone of contention is the city of Danzig-once a part of the German Empire, now under the suzerainty of the League of Nations.  Danzig has a Customs Union with Poland, but also has the right to import from Germany certain foods which are not allowed to be imported into Poland, for there is still a Tariff war waging between Germany and Poland.  The Poles accuse the Danzigers, of taking a mean advantage and of sending goods imported from Germany further, into Poland, thus providing unfair competition against Polish manufacturers.  This has given the Poles a remarkably good pretext for blocking the import of goods from Danzig—although there is a Danzig-Polish Customs Union-and of hitting Danzig manufacturers.  Thus the petty war continues and both sides suffer. 

Powers Should Act 

There is no doubt that the Poles have acted badly towards the Germans in their territories.  On the other hand the Nazis in Poland have no desire, to co-operate with the Poles and cause great trouble. 

To remedy this it is easy to say: “The Corridor must be revised.”  But the question is, “How?”  If the Corridor is given back to Germany means immediate war, for the Poles would fight to the last drop of blood.  There is no easy solution for the Corridor question; but one thing can be done.  The Poles should be forced by the diplomats of the world, and especially by the British Government, to behave like gentlemen, to carry out their treaty obligations, to make full use of Danzig, and to stop oppressing the peoples over whom they rule. 

Even then, however, the conflict remains irreconcilable, and the red light of danger shines in the East of Europe.








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


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