Danzig Unmasks the Impotence of the League of Nations

The League of Nations was entering its death throes as was painfully obvious from the latest deliberations over the Free State of Danzig, an island of ethnic German territory surrounded by Poland, theoretically controlled by the League. The League’s Committee of Three which had been given oversight of the issue – Britain, France and Sweden – all but admitted that the situation was desperate, when faced with the question of settling grievances between the Poles and the Danzigers. It was simply accepted that the process would be a bilateral one, although the elephant in the room – Nazi Germany – was ignored. Danzig’s autonomy was largely fictional and, in practice, Berlin would make the decisions. Two and a half years later, Berlin took the decisions that caused the Second World War.

The British government was once again taken to task In Parliament for the slow pace of air rearmament with Sir Thomas Inskip, displaying once again his weaknesses as Minister for Coordination of Defence. His point that re-equipment of bombers squadrons with modern machines represented a major increase in their effective value, was perfectly valid, but it was not sufficiently strong to defeat the House’s obsession with a crude numbers game. The quantum leap in technology helped explain the painful delay in expansion of output. Mercifully for the government, Winston Churchill made only gentle criticism. He was still recovering from the Parliamentary mauling that he had suffered for his unwise support of Edward VIII and had good reason to avoid the risk of a repetition.

Spectacular storms swept over the North Sea with numerous fatal shipwrecks and damage on land.


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