Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Waspie_Dwarf

A weak man?

4 posts in this topic

Was Neville Chamberlain really a weak and terrible leader?

Seventy-five years after the Munich Agreement signed with Hitler, the name of Neville Chamberlain, British prime minister at the time, is still synonymous with weakness and appeasement. Is this fair, asks historian Robert Self.

During his 21-hour filibuster denouncing President Barack Obama's healthcare law, popularly known as Obamacare, last week, Ted Cruz, the conservative Republican senator for Texas, claimed that Neville Chamberlain had once told the British people, "Accept the Nazis. Yes, they'll dominate the continent of Europe but that's not our problem."

Admittedly Cruz's speech was notable more for its near record-breaking length than its historical understanding, but this derogatory reference reflects the continuing potency of a well-established conventional wisdom assiduously propagated by Chamberlain's detractors after his fall from the premiership in May 1940. As Churchill is once supposed to have quipped, "Poor Neville will come badly out of history. I know, I will write that history".

.

arrow3.gifRead more...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never really thought of him as weak... obviously, anyone who can claw their way to the top of the political heap back then had to have some "moxie"... I just thought of him as

a bit naive when it came to Hitler...

of course I never really looked at the British domestic situation at the time... so in hind sight, perhaps he was just being a realist (short term)...

Most American's have a somewhat brighter picture of Churchill, than it seems the British people do nowdays... We tend to only see him as portrayed in the wartime newsreels, and in

the movies that came out later... Not so much by his 'peacetime' years after the war... Chamberlin - on the other hand - we remember (if at all) by a single photo, and a very short video

clip saying "Peace in our time" - as the tanks are rolling across the Polish border...

Edited by Taun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ealdwita snippet alert......

Polls from the time show that many people in Britain supported what Chamberlain was trying to achieve. It was only after the failure of appeasement that Chamberlain's decisions and career acquired a more negative image.

Two schools of thought exist as to why Chamberlain pursued appeasement.

One is that he honestly thought that he could address the grievances that he believed Germany rightly held after the Treaty of Versailles Chamberlain believed that if he was seen as being fair to German concerns, then he could achieve success and stop Europe from declining into war.

Another theory is that Chamberlain believed that appeasement was worth trying but that war was inevitable. He also realised that Britain was not well prepared for war and that he needed to buy time to improve Britain's military position. In particular, it is said that Chamberlain knew that our air defences were weak and that the more time he could gain, the stronger they would become.

It is possible that a combination of the two - a desire for peace matched with a desire to ensure Britain was able to defend itself - determined what Chamberlain attempted to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The great failure of European diplomacy vis-a-vis Hitler was the failure to respond to his remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936. The consensus among Germans who were in the know at the time was that a forceful response by the French would have destroyed the Nazi regime. The Prime Minister of the UK at the time was Stanley Baldwin, not Neville Chamberlain. Lots of dropped balls on the way to WW2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.