Appeasement under Neville
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