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Westerplatte is famous for the Battle of Westerplatte, which was the first clash between Polish and German forces during the Invasion of Poland and thus the first battle of the European theater of World War II.

The Germans expected the capture of the Westerplatte to take a matter of hours, but the 182-man garrison under Major Henryk Sucharski resisted for seven days, their heroism becoming a symbol of Polish resistance in the struggle against the Nazi invasion. The ruins of the defenders' barracks and guardhouses are still there. After the war, one of the guardhouses was converted into a museum. A Monument of the Coast Defenders was unveiled in 1966.

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