Inspiration

Photography-World War 2 Museum Gdansk

It was fitting that I should visit Gdansk recently because on 1/9/1939 it was the invasion of this area of Poland that led Chamberlain to deliver the ultimatum to Adolf Hitler and the entry of the UK into World War 2 on 3/9/1939.

The museum is located in a brutalist metal structure and entry is actually located on level -3 below ground.  Both are architectural echoes of the conditions that prevailed at that time.  There  is also an air raid shelter located just around the corner.

Inside they start by showing how the events of WW1 set up the conditions that ultimately led to WW2.  Gdansk also known as Danzig at that time was an independent free state of Germany.  It was set up as part of the Treaty of Versaille in 1919.   The population was majority German but Poland had rights of access.

See Wikepedia for the full historical details

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_City_of_Danzig

The museum shows Chamberlain meeting Adolf Hitler – presumably at the famous meeting in Munich

The museum describes how World War 2 was started by the Nazis invading Westerplatte near Gdansk.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Westerplatte

From them on matters escalated.  The pictures are graphic

The museum however manages to show the real human cost of all this

They also have a Sherman tank which shows the destruction that would have been caused in a typical street.

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There are also copies of photographs from that time which show how much of the city was destroyed

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The museum closes with the Peace conference at Potsdam from 17 July 1945.  It is notable that the Prime Minister of the UK had changed following a general election.

IMG_0206.JPGThere also seemed to be a lack of clear action about how the Soviet block was going to take charge of the countries including Poland in the eastern part of Europe.

This was to be described by Churchill in a speech on 5 March 1946 as the formation of the Iron Curtain.

The Sinews of Peace (‘Iron Curtain Speech’)

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This is very relevant as Gdansk has another  Museum, the Solidarity Museum, which details the struggles from 1980 for workers to have rights and human rights.  This ultimately lead to the fall of communism.

Solidarity Museum  https://www.ecs.gda.pl/title,Jezyk,pid,21,lang,2.html

It is well worth a visit as the issues continue to this day and affect many parts of the world.

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