Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sources Used

The Path to War

During the aftermath of the Munich Conference, I took a cautious course of rearmament. I said that, “It would be madness for the country to stop rearming until we were convinced that other countries would act in the same way. For the time being, therefore, we should relax no particle of effort until our deficiencies had been made good.” Despite the fact that Hitler was relatively quiet as his Reich absorbed the Sudetenland, I was still occupied with foreign policy concerns. I made frequent trips to Paris and Rome, trying to hasten French rearmament and persuading Mussolini to be a “positive influence on Hitler.” Several members of my Cabinet were starting to disagree with my idea of appeasement. I, however, still hoped for reconciliation with Germany. I sought to build an interlocking series of defense pacts among the remaining European countries as a means of deterring Hitler from war. On March 31st, I informed an approving House of Commons of British and French guarantees that we would lend Poland all possible aid in the event that any action threatened the independence of Poland. I was reluctant to seek military alliance with the Soviet Union, but I had little choice but to proceed. However, about a week later, Germany signed the Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union -__- I was, however, dismissive about the publicly announced pact and said that it didn’t affect our British obligation toward Poland. Nevertheless, Hitler instructed his generals to prepare for an invasion of Poland. My last peacetime Cabinet met late that night and determined that an ultimatum would be presented in Berlin the following morning.  However, the ultimatum expired, prior to the Cabinet convening. The very next morning, at 11:15 am, I addressed the nation by radio, stating that our nation was not at war with Germany:
“We have a clear conscience; we have done all that any country could do to establish peace. The situation in which no word given by Germany's ruler could be trusted, and no people or country could feel itself safe had become intolerable [...] Now may God bless you all. May He defend the right. It is the evil things we shall be fighting against—brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression, and persecution—and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.”

 Over the radio, telling my nation that we were now at war. It was a difficult thing to do.

The Munich Conference

After I returned to London from the preliminary meetings, Hitler tried to suggest his proposals. His proposals met with resistance from the French, the Czechs, and even some members from my own Cabinet. There was no agreement in sight. War seemed inevitable. On the 28th of September, I called on Hitler to invite me to Germany once again to seek a solution along with the British, French, Italians, and Germans. Hitler replied favorably. On my arrival in Munich, I was taken directly to the Fuhrerbau, where I later met up Daladier, Mussolini, and Hitler. The four of us held an informal meeting where Hitler proposed his plan to invade Czechoslovakia on October 1st. I began to raise the question of compensation for the Czech government and citizens, but Hitler refused to consider it. After a while we took a break and resumed the Munich Conference at about ten at night. The conference by then was mostly in the hands of the drafting committee. At about one-thirty in the morning, the Munich Agreement was finished and ready to sign. That night, Daladier and I returned to our hotels and informed to the Czechs of the agreement. We were quick to urge the Czech acceptance of this agreement, due to the fact that the Czech evacuation was to begin the very next day. Later in the afternoon, the Czech government in Prague objected the decision, but ended up agreeing to its terms. Before returning to London, I decided to hold a private meeting with Hitler, in which I told him that I viewed the Munich Agreement as a "symbolic of the desire of our two people never to go to war again". I, being the appeasement advocate that I am, was fairly satisfied with the outcome of the agreement. In my heart I believed that peace could be reborn in Europe.
 Hitler and I after the Munich Conference

Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano, as they prepared to sign the Munich Agreement From left to right: myself, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and the Italian foreign minister as we were about to sign the Munich Agreement

Preliminary Meetings for the Munich Conference

It was early in the morning on September 13th, 1938. The Cabinet and I were informed by some secret service sources that all German embassies were told that Germany would invade Czechoslovakia on September 25th. How could this happen?! I knew that the French wouldn’t fight. Therefore, I decided to implement what I liked to call, “Plan Z.” “Plan Z” basically said that if war seemed inevitable, I would fly to Germany and negotiate directly with Hitler. I later sent a message to Hitler saying that I was willing to come and negotiate with him. I flew to Berchtesgaden in Germany on the 15th of September. The face to face meeting with Hitler and I lasted a long and weary three hours. How I longed to go back and relax at home with Anne! Anyway, during the meeting, Hitler demanded the annexation of the Sudetenland. I questioned him thoroughly, and by the end I was pretty convinced that Hitler had no plans for the rest of Czechoslovakia and other German minority areas. On my return to London, I honestly believed that I preserved the peace. Due to my indefatigable efforts, I was able to get France and Czechoslovakia to agree to the requirements of the meeting. However, when I flew back to Germany on the 22nd, Hitler had the nerve to say that the previous proposals wouldn’t do anymore. He demanded the immediate occupation of the Sudetenland and the address of German territorial claims in Poland and Hungary. How dare he?! Does he not know that I had worked so hard to bring the Czechs and the French into line with Germany’s demands?! Nay, after my pleading, Hitler was unmoved. We met again late on the evening of September 23rd and our meeting lasted until the early hours of the morning. I didn’t know what to do. I simply said that Hitler’s demands should now be circulated with the French and the Czechs. Upon my flight back to London, my exact words were, “It’s up to the Czechs now.”
Chamberlain and Hitler leave the Bad Godesberg meeting, 1938 Hitler and I (I'm on the left) after the meeting on September 23rd. Notice how I'm not smiling -__-

My Early Days in Government

Being the appeasement advocate that I am, I tried to conciliate Nazi Germany and make it a partner in a new and stable Europe. I believed that Germany would be satisfied if she got back some of her colonies. Even during the Rhineland Crisisof March 1936, Germany said that, “if we were in sight of an all-round settlement the British government ought to consider the question [of restoration of colonies].” As a new Prime Minister, my attempts to secure such a settlement were disturbed due to the fact that Nazi Germany was in definitely in no hurry to converse with us. Even Germany’s Foreign Minister, Konstantin von Neurath, was supposed to visit our country, but ended up cancelling his visit. Instead, the Lord President of the Council of our country privately visited Germany in order to meet with Hitler and other German officials. I still remember the day when I, along with my esteemed colleague, said that the visit was a success. Later on I ended bypassing the Foreign Secretary, Eden, by directly speaking with Italy. At a Cabinet meeting in 1937, I saw "the lessening of the tension between this country and Italy as a very valuable contribution towards the pacification and appeasement of Europe" which I believed would weaken the Rome-Berlin axis. I ended setting up a private line of communication with Mussolini. In 1938, when Hitler began to press for a union between Germany and Austria, I believed that it was crucial to cement relations with Italy. I hoped that this Anglo-Italian alliance would prevent Hitler from imposing his rule over Austria. Eden, however, disagreed with my policy. Therefore, I told him to either accept the policy or resign. It was no surprise that the Cabinet unanimously decided for my idea. I mean, if you think about it logically, my idea makes perfect sense. After Eden resigned from office, he began to stand against appeasement; a way of asking for attention in my opinion. He just couldn’t get over the fact that my ideas were better than his!
 Look at how happy I am! :)

Introduction Blog

Hello everybody, my name is Neville Chamberlain and I was a British Conservative politician and served as the Prime Minister of Great Britain from May 1937 to May 1940. I would say that I’m best known for my appeasement foreign policy. The best example of this would be in 1938 at the Munich Conference, when I signed the agreement allowing Nazi Germany to take to the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. But what can I say?! I believe that in order for peace to be achieved here in Europe, you’ve got to make the angry people happy. I would say that that is a perfectly logical reason to give the Sudetenland to Germany, wouldn’t you? Anyway, I will get into my political life later. I will first begin this blog by telling you my background. I was born to my father, Joseph Chamberlain in Birmingham, England. I was educated in Rugby School and was later sent to Mason Science College. However, I had very little interest in the sciences. So, in a very short amount of time, I left that boring school. Fortunately, my father apprenticed me to a firm of accountants. Within about half of a year, I became a salaried employee. I wasn’t getting paid much, but hey, it was a start. Although my father was an accomplished man whom I respect very much, there are some things that he did (rather, made me do) that upset me quite a bit. For example, in order to recover our faulty family fortune, my father sent me to the Bahamas to establish a sisal plantation. Although the scenery was very beautiful and extremely different from Britain, I very much desired to return back to my homeland. I ended up spending six years on the island, and the plantation ended up being a failure. In addition to my wastage of six years, my father lost about fifty thousand pounds. Sigh -__- On my return to England, I entered in business by purchasing Hoskins & Company, a manufacturer of metal ship berths. I served as the managing director there for about seventeen years. During my seventeen years with the company, Hoskins & Company prospered. Perhaps due to the fact that they were under my direction, I’m not sure :). At the same time, I was also involving myself in civic activities in Birmingham. In 1910, I met the love of my life, Anne Cole. From the moment I saw her, I knew she would be the one for me. We married the following year and we both had one son and one daughter. That’s pretty much my background life, outside of politics. My story of how I entered politics is quite an interesting one. Initially, I showed very little interest in politics, even though my father was in Parliament. I thought it was extremely boring, even more so than the sciences that I studied for a short time at Mason Science College. During the “Khaki Election” of 1900, however, I realized that in politics was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. During the election, I made speeches in support of my father’s Liberal Unionists. The following year, I successfully stood as the Liberal Unionist for the Birmingham City Council. The rest of my political life grew from there. Well, now that you have a little bit of my background, hopefully the rest of my blog will make a little bit more sense for those who desire to read it :).
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain "The Right Honourable Arthur Neville Chamberlain" I like that title :)