“What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!”
—The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz
After the German surrender in World War I, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, giving a number of German territories to surrounding countries. When Hitler came to power, one of his main goals was to reunite the lost cities with the “fatherland.” By August 1939, he had succeeded in reacquiring each of the lost German cities, except for one. The Treaty of Versailles gave the city of Danzig to Poland, which gave the Polish people a land route to the Baltic Sea, referred to as the Polish Corridor. The corridor made this tiny city vitally important to the Polish economy. But this last city was also symbolic to the German people, because with Danzig added back into Germany, the Treaty of Versailles was entirely void. So when Hitler requested access to this corridor and Poland refused, war between Poland and Germany was imminent.
In September, Poland turned to Great Britain for help and the two countries signed an Agreement of Mutual Assistance. This assured Poland that if Germany tried to take Danzig, Great Britain and her ally France would likely go to war with Germany. Although the agreement with England gave Hitler pause, the goal to reunite the fallen Germany was too tempting, and Germany and their new ally, the Soviet Union, invaded.
As the new head of state for England, King George VI was responsible for announcing ...