Courtesy Reuters

THERE is a strange contrast between the history of this sleepy Baltic port in the centuries prior to the Paris Peace Conference and its prominence in the subsequent fifteen years. Until 1917, Memel had few claims to fame. As a port it was surpassed by the greater activity of Königsberg and Danzig. Historically, it was overshadowed by Tilsit, that city farther up the Niemen where Napoleon and Alexander of Russia had divided the world between them.

In 1919 Memel City and its hinterland were separated from East Prussia. The unit comprised an area of 945 square miles and a population of 150,000 (25,000 Germans

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