After the end of the First World War, Germany had been forced to cede a strip of land in West Prussia (the so-called Polish Corridor) to Poland. In addition, the harbor city of Danzig and the surrounding area, with its predominantly German population, was placed under the protection of the League of Nations. After 1933, the NSDAP became the strongest party in the Danzig popular assembly. Thereafter, it increasingly agitated against the city’s Polish residents and government and demanded that Danzig be returned to the German Reich. In early 1939, Hitler began systematically provoking a conflict in Danzig and the Polish Corridor as a pretext for the war of conquest he was planning. While Goebbels spread atrocity propaganda about Polish violence and the mistreatment of the German population of Danzig and the Polish Corridor, Hitler issued an order code-named "Case White" [Fall Weiß] to prepare for the attack on Poland, which was planned for the beginning of September. On May 23, 1939, he announced to high representatives of the military leadership that war was now inevitable. The German people could no longer do without the "living space" [Lebensraum] and raw materials of Eastern Europe.
The photo shows a Danzig street scene in 1937. The view is from Breitgasse through Korbmachergasse toward the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Photo by Hanns Hubmann.