Table of Contents
The Era of Aggressors
The Totalitarian State

Appeasement under Neville Chamberlain

Chamberlain's Plans

The fear of involving England in another conflict like the Great War prompted the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, to do anything to avoid conflict. Chamberlain was not prepared to sacrifice Englishmen in a battle over German-speaking people in Czechoslovakia. As a result, Chamberlain worked to convince France not to support Czechoslovakia, and France agreed because she was concerned about having to fight Germany alone.

Chamberlain believed that if Hitler did not get what he demanded, a major war would occur. To avoid war, he was prepared to give Hitler what he wanted to appease or satisfy him. Once the threat of France was eliminated by England, Hitler had the Nazis in Czechoslovakia cause problems again. During the riots, Czech police shot a group of German supporters, and the gave Hitler and excuse he was looking for and threaten invasion.

The Munich conference

To prevent war, Chamberlain stepped in and proposed that he meet with Hitler to settle the question. In 1938 Chamberlain flew to Germany three times to broker a deal. On the third trip, the leaders of France and Italy were present to make the final decision. After lengthy discussions, England, France and Italy all agreed to give the Sudetenland to Germany. Czechoslovakia was not even allowed a say in the matter. Sudetenland was simply turned over to Germany.

Hitler's part of the deal was to promise that he would threaten no other country in the future. This was a promise he quickly made and would break just as quickly. Chamberlain claimed success, and stated that he had saved the world from a war in 1938. There is now "peace for our time." He later recognized that his policy of appeasement was a failure, and worked to have England support Poland, against German aggression.



Audio Clip: Chamberlain's Speech on German Aggression