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5 Brit. Y.B. Int'l L. 89 (1924)
The Free City of Danzig

handle is hein.journals/byrint5 and id is 97 raw text is: THE FREE CITY OF DANZIG

By MALCOLAI M. LEWIS, A.A., LL.B.,
Director of Legal Studies, University of Bristol.
THE Port of Danzig, situated at the mouth of the Vistula,
provides Poland's only outlet to the sea.' Its population is of
course predominantly German, and the Principal Allied and
Associated Powers, in recasting the map of Europe after the
World War, were, therefore, confronted with the problem of
affording Poland access to the sea without unduly violating the
principle of nationality. The German proposal was that Danzig
should remain German territory but that it should be a free port
in which Poland should have far-reaching rights. 2 This
proposal, however, was not acceptable to the Allies, and the
solution to the problem was eventually suggested by Danzig's
own history. The city had for centuries been a member of the
Hansa League, the cities of which enjoyed complete autonomy,
for any authority that the Emperor or neighbouring Princes
could claim within their walls was an unsubstantial shadow.
The League itself was a loose and ill-defined confederacy with
a Diet which usually met at Liibeck, and whose assemblies were
held in the name of all the cities ; it does not appear to have
possessed a formal constitution or a fixed mode of government.
The binding link between the members was mutuality of com-
mercial interests, and the cities were largely kept together by
the fear of being unhansed, i. e. being expelled from the
League, a punishment which involved the loss at one blow of
the delinquent city's commerce, as Bremen learnt. to its cost
in 1356.3
Although the League itself had virtually dissolved by the
beginning of the seventeenth century, most of the individual
I The Polish Government has recently taken the preliminary steps with a view to
building a seaport in Gdynia, a village in the extreme west corner of Danzig Bay, in
the - Polish Corridor. It is intended that the new port should supersede, or at any
rate supplement, Danzig as a harbour for Poland. (The Times, March 7, 1924.)
2 Temperley : History of the Peace Conference of Paris, Vol. II, p. 292.
2 Zimmern : Hansa League, pp. 83-5 and 201-8.

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