Home Discover Gdańsk Westerplatte


by Dan

Monument to the Defenders of Westerplatte.

Westerplatte, the start of World War II

The invasion of Poland began in on September 1, 1939 when the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on a transit depot (Wojskowa Składnica Tranzytowa, or WST) on the peninsula at Westerplatte in the harbour of the Free City of Danzig (today Gdańsk). The Battle of Westerplatte was the start of World War II in Europe.

There were no real bunkers or tunnels on the peninsula which made it easier for the Germans to attack. There were only five small concrete outposts (guardhouses) hidden in the peninsula’s forest and a large barracks prepared for defense, supported by a network of field fortifications such as trenches and barricades. Several of the buildings were reinforced with concrete, which enabled 210 Polish soldiers (actually more than expected) to withstand during seven days of continuous attacks by sea and land.

This battle is still seen as the symbol of the resistance of the Polish invasion.

You can visit Westerplatte and its museums and wander across what was once the setting of a horrible war scene.

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