In 1937, just two years before Hitler invaded Poland, President Heber J. Grant made a memorable journey from Salt Lake City to Europe (fig. 1). President Grant had served as president of the European and British Missions from 1903 to 1906 and was now returning to Europe as prophet of the Church. He was the second Church President to visit Europe while serving in that capacity. His predecessor, Joseph F. Smith, visited Europe in 1906 and again in 1910.
Although the close succession of President Smith's two visits probably raised hopes among the European Saints that such frequent visits would continue, circumstances prevented any Church President from traveling to Europe again until 1937. The worldwide depression, for example, had forced President Grant to concentrate his efforts on saving the Church and its members from economic catastrophe while maintaining the Church's missionary effort, temple work, and daily affairs.