Monday, November 4, 2013


Much of the story I learned in school about Neville Chamberlain came to us through the pen of Winston Churchill.  Chamberlain, the "great appeaser," has not been treated kindly by such history.  It is probably more complicated than that. I suspect that absent the infamous 1938  "peace with honour...peace for our time" quote, school boys would have had more respect for him.  Feel free to study the cliff notes on Chamberlain - here.  The quotes below, from the run up to the Second World War, have been attributed to Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, holding the Munich "Agreement," on his return to England

In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers.
-July 3, 1938

Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me, but if I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind to dominate the world by fear of its force I should feel it should be resisted.
-September 26, 1938

How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. It seems still more impossible that a quarrel which has already been settled in principle should be the subject of war.
-September 27, 1938

This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine.... We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.
-September 30, 1938

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.
-September 30, 1938

I often think to myself that it's not I but someone else who is P.M. and is the recipient of those continuous marks of respect and affection from the general public who called in Downing Street or at the station to take off their hats and cheer. And then I go back to the House of Commons and listen to the unending stream of abuse of the P.M., his faithlessness, his weakness, his wickedness, his innate sympathy with Fascism and his obstinate hatred of the working classes.
-May 28, 1939

This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. ... It is evil things that we will be fighting against—brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution—and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.
-September 3, 1939

I stick to the view I have always held that Hitler missed the bus in September 1938. He could have dealt France and ourselves a terrible, perhaps a mortal, blow then. The opportunity will not recur.
-December 30, 1939

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