National Geographic : 1925 Mar
318 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZI~£ Photograph by Deutscher Aero Lloyd RAILWAY CROSSINGS IN GERMANY, NEAR STETTIN The value of aerial photography in studying traffic and high'v"ay problems is suggested by this view. The French occupation of the Ruhr created an unusual condition at Cologne, where German merchants were practically shut out from all outside markets except as they could be reached by air. As a result of this embargo, very heavy freight shipments were recorded between London and Cologne, including 55 motorcycles and TOO tons of tobacco. For a time the German Government resorted to shipping German paper money into Cologne by sending it first to London by airplane and thence by air back across the Channel into Cologne. This proved highly satisfactory for their purposes until one plane, loaded with many billions of paper marks, had the misfortune to make an emergency landing in a French zone, and thereafter the shipments ceased. there are busses which will carry one as far as Konigsberg-without crossing Polish territory. I reached Dirschau late at night on my enforced train journey, without a special Polish vise, the dismal light of the long platform revealing the steady downpour of an early autumn rain on the sodden streets beyond. For ten minutes my fate hung gloomily in the balance, while a score of customs officials cross-examined me and pondered whether or not to leave me with my baggage under the dripping eaves. Finally a kindly Pole, with whom I had struck up a casual acquaintance, assured the unfriendly agents I was a bona fide American diplomat, and that grave inter- national dissension might arise were I detained. Thus I was permitted to continue, after being strongly \yarned to procure an ad- ditional Polish vise before attempting to return. Of course, I earnestly agreed to do so, with the mental proviso that I would not soon again wander so far from the friendly freedom of air travel. THE PROSPECT OF A RACE OF AERIAL COMMUTERS In contrast with this harrowing tale, the journey back to Danzig by air was idyllic. It was early morning, and the rising sun threw splashes of color on the green meadow through scattering clouds that overhung the Konigsberg field. The Nord Europa Union monoplane to Riga and Helsingfors was the first to get away; then the big liner for Smolensk and 1\los- cow, carrying the Russian courier and several hundred pounds of diplomatic mail (see page 3 17) .