Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

versy has gone far enough to move the Indian titles stand searching inquiry Leyden professors formally to refute, quite as well as most of those sold in in an article in the monthly review De America. 'In 1925 there were twice as Gids, these allegations so far as they many “dukes” and “princes," and imply hostility to the Government or three times as many other "nobles," in to Dutch rule in general. The profes- the French Republic as there were sors assert that their teaching favors a under Louis XVI.' When, in 1909, the policy of coöperation with the natives French Foreign Office decided to look and the continuous furtherance of into the alleged titles of the members Indonesian social interests.

of its staff and diplomatic corps, it dis

covered that, of some forty, only six or Le Quotidien, half in fun, half in pro- seven were able to produce documentest, satirizes ingenuous American heir- tary proof of the validity of their esses and their 'dads,' who show little claims. 'Of course,' Le Quotidien obevidence of the business acumen to serves, 'American girls may marry these which they presumably owe their wealth men, so far as we are concerned. It when they buy foreign titles for their brings dollars to France. But we do families. "The Negroes of Santo Do consider it bad, and frankly say so to mingo are not more ridiculous'. than our American friends, for republican such purchasers — when they assume America to let the vanity of its rich the titles of Duc de Marmalade, Mar- citizens be played upon to supply quis de Trou-Bonbon, and Vicomte de financial support for reactionary and l'An -à-Veau.' In fact, these West monarchist intrigues in France itself.

[merged small][graphic][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed]

DANZIG AND THE POLISH CORRIDOR 1

BY LUDOVIC NAUDEAU

WHEN a passenger left Berlin on the that it immediately arouses apprehenNorth Express before the war, he paid sions of what Germany will do about it. little attention to the sombre country But one need hardly wait even for that, through which he passed in Germany, since the Germans are already making and felt that the Russian frontier must the welkin ring with their threats. be very close. His train rumbled They declare roundly that whatever through avenues of evergreens, while he else they may consent to under the drowsily meditated on two great names: Treaty, they will never tolerate the perSchopenhauer, born at Danzig, and manent separation of Berlin from KoKant, born at Konigsberg. If he was nigsberg. If you ask anyone at the Gerimpressionable and inclined to indulge man capital to-day, either a native or a in generalizations, he may have asked foreigner familiar with the country, to himself if the skull capacity of these name the most irritating and dangerous Nordic coast dwellers was not unusu- question in international politics, he ally large. But the appearance of the will instantly reply, 'The Polish Corfirst Russian gendarmes quickly put an

ridor.' end to these reflections.

On the other hand, when you exHad we then, in those former days, amine the considerations that moved completely forgotten the partition of the diplomats at Versailles to make Poland? Were we utterly ignorant of such a grave and menacing decision, the fact that the banks of the Vistula you will discover that they merely drew were not peopled by Germans? Of political frontiers to correspond with course not, but the German Empire as the ethnographic map. They simply it then existed appeared indestructible. gave Poland territory inhabited by It seemed inconceivable that anything Poles. Was that a crime? could happen revolutionary enough to Only five or ten minutes by the railrestore Poland.

way along the sea from the heart of To-day a Westerner who makes this Danzig are districts where the Poles journey has several new experiences. form eighty-five per cent of the populaHe knows about the Treaty of Ver- tion. This Polish coast, which you will sailles; he examines the map; he recalls find marked on your map just west of that in order to create a new Poland the Danzig as the coastal extremity of the Peace Conference has divided Germany corridor, has not been christened Polish asunder, cutting the main part of the by political caprice. When it was part country completely off from the Ger- of the German Empire it was invariably mans of East Prussia.

represented in the Reichstag by a Germany cut in two! Even after all Polish Deputy. Its geographical name that has happened during the past ten is Polish Pomerania, and Pomerania years this thought is so disconcerting comes from the Slavic words po morie,

From L'Illustration (Paris illustrated literary meaning 'on the sea.' If you draw a weekly), March 7

straight line from Cracow to the coast

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

just west of Danzig, it will pass through we are dealing with one of those conunbroken Polish territory. What can troversies that, to the eternal distress of you do about that?

mankind, have become so complicated

that both sides have equally potent Bornholm

reasons for their opinion. Let us admit at once that the resentment the Germans feel at having their two Prussias separated by a belt of Polish territory is perfectly natural. On the other hand, the desire of the Poles to recover a dis

trict inhabited by their own people, and Sohn wroclaw

to control the entire course of their national river, the Vistula, to the sea, is likewise justified by arguments so obvious that no sane man can dispute them.

In fact, this controversy is many

centuries old. In 1433, when the Poles, Gradores de

temporarily victorious, reached the sea

near Danzig, they jubilantly filled their When you point this out the Ger- canteens with its water as a trophy of mans answer: "That does n't affect the their triumph. It would take us too far fact that ever since the Congress of afield to recite the checkered history of Vienna, or for more than a century, the the long struggle that has since ensued King of Prussia was Grand Duke of between the Teutons, obstinately dePosen. The incorporation into Ger- fending the coast from Danzig to Reval, many of this part of Poland was an and the Slavs, with equal obstinacy accomplished fact, sanctioned by a fighting for access to the sea. hundred years of custom, labor, and I sit in the Berlin train for East administration. Prussia's final borders Prussia. If I had intended to go directly had been fixed to accord with this situa- through to that destination, I should tion. To-day you are trying to revive, have been put in a special car, properly without consulting the population by a sealed, and should have passed without plebiscite, ancient historical boundaries interference across the Polish Corridor. that had been forgotten. You have . But I am going to Danzig. Apparently destroyed overnight the work of a cen- it is an extraordinary expedition. What tury. You have cut our country into could a man possibly have to do in two fragments without reliable com- Danzig? So, at a station with an unremunication between them. You have memberable name, Prussian officials, inflicted upon it a mutilation that the veritable border-wolves, question me, future will not accept. The superior minutely scrutinize my documents, necessity of preserving Germany's ter- search my luggage, scan me with susritorial unity should justly have taken picious eyes. A Warsaw official, wearprecedence of the vague and question- ing a haughty mien and armed with an able aspirations of two hundred thou- enormous rapier, follows these gentlesand Kachoubs who live in the little men down the aisle of the car, visas my district called to-day “the Corridor."" passport, and we enter the Polish Cor

The more one studies these opposite ridor. A minute later another Pole contentions, the clearer it becomes that stamps my papers and authorizes me to

[graphic]

DANZIG AND THE POLISH CORRIDOR

135

their eyes.

leave the Corridor. Finally a Danzig dent of the Free State. It was readily employee again stamps my documents, granted. I found myself facing a giant so that I may leave the train at last at of a man, whose formidable visage the station of the Free State of Danzig. gazed down upon me from an intimiFour visas to come here, plus the regu- dating height. This tiny country inlar German visa and the regular Polish dulges in the luxury of the largest Presivisa procured at Berlin before my de dent I ever saw. Herr Sahm, however, parture! When I reach the hotel I find is a courteous gentleman of impeccable a courteous but reserved reception. official correctness, whom even the People scan me out of the corners of Poles respect for his integrity. I gazed

with admiration on this superb example But what is this languorous music? of the Danzig male, and asked if his What! What! Here in a gorgeous room good city found life supportable under attached to the hotel people are drink- the new régime. ing, eating, and smoking in a sort of "We should get along very tolerably music-hall atmosphere, where imitation Herr Sahm replied with deliberation, English girls in tights and fictitious ‘if Danzig's liberties were respected. Russian dancers are performing on a But as a matter of fact, our rights are stage. I confess I am surprised to catch constantly violated. For example, Pothe pious burghers of Danzig, the ultra- land does not recognize that Danzig respectable city, thus in flagrante is an independent state. She insists delicto. The same evening I visit a that we are merely a free city, and since movie show. There everything is Ger- she is the only country to hold this man. Pictures of prominent German opinion we feel justly indignant. For politicians are thrown on the screen what is the idea behind her attitude? followed by the motto, Deutschland We ourselves stand by the terms of the über Alles, which Theodore Wolff as- Versailles Treaty. We simply insist sures me simply means Vive l'Allemagne. that it be loyally respected. That is the

After the first of July, 1878, when only way we can get along. To illusDanzig was made the capital of East trate, a tariff convention exists between Prussia, it became one of the most Poland and the Free State of Danzig, important military posts in Germany. under which Poland is not entitled to To-day it is not at all happy at revert- levy new duties without previously ing to its ancient status of a free city. notifying our Government. Now PoOne cannot walk many steps along its land changes her export tariffs inside streets without running into twenty-four hours to the serious detrimonument erected to the glory of the ment of our trade. To cite another great men who followed the elder Wil- instance, although the League of Naliam. At the City Hall hangs a large tions has formally stipulated that we canvas portraying French prisoners shall under no circumstances become a captured during the retreat from Mos- military centre of any kind, we are cow, surrounded by Prussian soldiers. compelled to allot part of our harbor to The building also contains busts of Poland for a munitions depot. What is Hindenburg and Mackensen, wearing worse, we are ordered offhand and the fierce military mien that the Ger- forced to pay part of the cost of its man people like to give their army construction.

After leaving President Sahm's office I requested the privilege of present. I visited the Polish officials stationed ing my respects to Herr Sahm, Presi- here and questioned them regarding

some

men.

my face.

his complaints, which seemed to me to take such a vote to-morrow you plausible enough. They laughed in would find a vast majority anxious to

return to Germany. They have had 'Herr Sahm is not any more a Dan- enough of Polish administration. They ziger than you are,' they said. 'He is appreciate the superiority of the Germerely a Prussian official born in man administration to which they have Pomerania. Neither is Herr Ziehm, the been accustomed for years. They find Vice-President of the Senate. Herr their country overrun with officials Treichel, the President of the Volktag, trained in the Russian or Austrian is a Prussian born at Riesenburg. Dr. school — gentlemen with certain pecuSrusen, the Minister of Justice, was liar weaknesses. The people have sufformerly the chief legal adviser of one fered badly at their hands. More than of the Prussian Ministries at Berlin. that, the Kachoubs miss the German The trouble is that Danzig has no local social legislation, especially our sickness official class, no native bourgeoisie insurance. In a word, they feel that trained in public affairs, with whom we they are superior to the population of can discuss these subjects. The city is the rest of Poland, and want to get merely a branch of Berlin, administered back to Germany.' by Prussian bureaucrats who, while I did not venture to tell this gentleformally irreproachable in their politi- man that he might be taking his wishes cal conduct, are constantly stirring up for realities. Whenever two countries strife. That munitions depot is an old are competing for the favor of a little bone of contention. Colonel de Reynier, community like that of the Corridor, the Swiss Chairman of the Harbor men will be found in it who will flatter Board, finally took matters in his own both sides. I have no doubt that some hands and designated a point near the Kachoubs will tell the Germans in mouth of the Vistula for a site. It was private that they prefer Germany, and entirely unimproved; and if the city has likewise tell the Poles in private that to pay half the cost, that is because it they prefer Poland. But at bottom the obstinately refused to let us use some Kachoubs are Slavs, and do not differ other part of the harbor. While the from other Poles more than a FrenchSenate of Danzig governs the city man of Auvergne differs from a Frenchproper, it has no authority over the man of Picardy. port. The Treaty places that in the I have on my desk a portfolio stuffed hands of a harbor board consisting of with papers and documents relating to five Poles, five Danzigers, and a Swiss the innumerable controversies, trickerchairman.'

ies, mystifications, complaints, and anSubsequently I talked with a foreign- swers that have gathered around the affairs expert in the service of the Presi- Danzig-Polish dispute. There is no dent of Danzig. He gave the situation conceivable aspect of the question still another slant. 'You are aware, of historical, economic, or political — course,' he said to me, 'that the in- that has not been abundantly aired by habitants of the Corridor are not Poles, experts of one side or the other. In but Kachoubs. There is more differ- fact, a ceaseless battle is being fought ence between a Pole and a Kachoub for the mouth of the Vistula. Since the than is commonly known. You are like- policing of both the port and the city is wise aware, of course, that these people in the hands of the Free State Governwere never allowed to vote upon their ment, - although the engineering conseparation from Germany. If you were trol of the harbor is not, the Poles

« ElőzőTovább »