|Full Name||Â||83 Free City of Danzig|
|Alliance||Â||Neutral or Non-Belligerent|
|Entry into WW2||Â||1 Sep 1939|
|Population in 1939||Â||420,000|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Free City of Danzig (German: Freie Stadt Danzig; Polish: Wolne Miasto Gdansk) was created by the League of Nations in Nov 1920 per the terms of the Versailles Treaty at the end of WW1. This new semi-autonomous nation was formed without referendum; the newly re-established nation of Poland had special rights in Danzig despite that the city was under direct control of the League of Nations. The Free City of Danzig was consisted of the city itself as well as the town of Zoppot (Polish: Sopot), the town of Tiegenhof (Polish: Nowy DwÃ³r Gdanski), the town of Neuteich (Polish: Nowy Staw), 252 villages, and 63 hamlets; the total area of the country was 1,966 square kilometers or 754 square miles. In terms of ethnicity, somewhere between 80% to 90% of the population were German, thus when members of the Nazi Party became influential starting around 1933, it became a driving reason for the movement for Germany to take over Danzig. Shadowing the development of the Nazi Party in Germany, the Nazi Party members in Danzig similarly gained control of the Danzig Volkstag and Senate, using the legislative powers to enact anti-Semitic laws. With a much less restrictive emigration law in place when compared to Germany, Danzig, already a popular point of departure for Jews emigrating to North America, saw a greater flight in the late 1930s. Trade unions, again similar to their counterparts in Germany, also faced increasing restrictions through the 1930s.
ww2dbaseStarting in Jun 1939, a force 4,000-strong and loyal to the Nazi Party was organized in Danzig, reinforced by 1,000 German SS men later in that month; in Jul, this force publicly proclaimed itself Home Guard Danzig. Meanwhile, German forces assembled in preparation for war against Poland and Danzig as Adolf Hitler and his diplomats demanded more from Poland and Danzig than what they knew Poland was willing to concede. On 1 Sep 1939, German forces crossed into Poland and Danzig, and on the following day, Germany incorporated Danzig into German borders as a part of Reichsgau of Danzig-West Prussia.
ww2dbaseDuring the Soviet East Pomeranian Offensive, Soviet forces reached the Baltic Sea coast on 4 Mar 1945, pushing German forces back toward Danzig. The city was surrounded by Soviet forces by 22 Mar, and it was captured 6 days later. A great portion of the city was destroyed in the Mar 1945 battle with many thousands of residents, along equal numbers of refugees stranded in the city, losing their lives.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, in accordance to the Potsdam Conference agreement, the Free State of Danzig was dissolved and its territory incorporated into Poland. Ethnic Germans were expelled en masse; by 1947, 126,472 ethnic Germans were expelled from the former Danzig territory, and 128,502 Polish settled into the homes vacated by the ethnic Germans.
Last Major Update: Nov 2012
|Forster, Albert||Greiser, Arthur|
|Events Taken Place in Danzig|
|The Danzig Crisis||24 Oct 1938 - 29 Aug 1939|
|Invasion of Poland||1 Sep 1939 - 6 Oct 1939|
|East Pomeranian Offensive||24 Feb 1945 - 4 Apr 1945|
|Danziger Werft AG||Shipyard|
|F. Schichau Danzig||Shipyard|
Danzig in World War II Interactive Map
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943