History's HEROES? Dated 1869 - 1940

Neville Chamberlain

Created by

Gemma M

Location

London
Lived and worked there

Achievements

  • Signed the Munich Peace Treaty with Hitler
  • Married Anne de Vere Cole
  • He was made Minister of Health
  • Became Conservative MP

Characteristics

  • A good and strong leader
  • Clever
  • Decisive
  • Determined
  • Wise
  • Honest
  • Just and fair minded

External link

The official website of the Prime Minister

Quotations

"This is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time" - Neville Chamberlain, London, 1938

The man behind 'Peace in our time'

Prime Minister of Britain from 1937 to 1940. Signed peace treaty with Hitler. Didn't work. Bravely led Britain through the first 8 months of WW2 until he resigned in 1940.

Arthur Neville Chamberlain was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his policy of appeasement, and for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, in which the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia was conceded to Nazi Germany. When Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, Britain declared war on Germany on 3rd September 1939, and Chamberlain led Britain through the first eight months of the Second World War.

He started work in business and local government and for a short time was Director of National Service in 1916 and 1917. Chamberlain then followed his father and older half-brother, to become a Member of Parliament in the 1918 general election when he was 49. He turned down a junior ministerial post, and stayed a backbencher until 1922. He was rapidly promoted in 1923 to Minister of Health and then Chancellor of the Exchequer.

There was a short Labour-led government, and then he returned as Minister of Health, introducing a range of reforms from 1924 to 1929. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in the National Government in 1931. When Stanley Baldwin retired in May 1937, Chamberlain became Prime Minister.

His premiership was dominated by the question of what he should do about  Germany which was becoming more and more aggressive, and his actions at Munich were very popular among Britons at the time.

Chamberlain promised that Britain would defend Poland if they were attacked by Germany, which they did in 1939, so Britain declared war. Chamberlain resigned on 10 May 1940, after the Allies had to retreat from Norway as he thought a government supported by all parties was necessary, and he knew the Labour and Liberal parties would not join a government headed by him.

He was succeeded by Winston Churchill and remained very well regarded in Parliament, becoming an important member of Churchill's War Cabinet and heading it iwhen Churchill was away. Chamberlain died of cancer six months after resigning the premiership.

Chamberlain's reputation remains controversial among historians. At first he was regarded highly but then books such as Guilty Men, published in July 1940,  blamed Chamberlain and his associates for the Munich agreement and for not preparing the country for war.

Most historians in the time after Chamberlain's death held similar views, led by Churchill in The Gathering Storm. Some recent historians have taken a more favourable view of Chamberlain and his policies, having seen government papers that were released under the Thirty Year Rule.

Life in Neville Chamberlain's world

A world much like ours but without modern technology and inside toilets was where Neville Chamberlain worked. These were also the days of the Phoney War; people didn't believe that there was a war being fought as the Germans hadn't (yet) bombed them. However, the government was kept on their toes as the worry of invasion by Germany loomed dangerously.

Was Neville Chamberlain a Hero?

  • He probably ensured Britain's victory in 1945.
  • He despately tried hard to ensure peace.
  • Chamberlain also tried really hard to help other countries- Norway namely.

Things you might not know about Neville Chamberlain

His nickname was 'The Coroner' Although a lot of people say that the war was partly Neville Chamberlain's fault, he was maybe the one who ensured Britain's victory in 1945.
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