National Geographic : 1939 Oct
War Clouds Over Danzig and Poland's Port Photograph by Rene Zuber, © C. Anders &Co. AUGUST, 1939, HEADLINES! PEACE OR WAR? German citizens of Danzig anxiously scan the daily newspapers in the window of a freshly painted tobacconist's shop. The venerable city on the left bank of the Vistula, four miles from the Baltic Sea, was the capital of West Prussia at the close of the World War. By the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919, the city and surrounding territory became a Free State, administered by the League of Nations, but in customs union with Poland. Adolf Hitler's demand that Danzig be returned to Germany, and Poland's refusal to agree to such a transfer, precipitated the world crisis of August, 1939.