Skip to comments.Was Neville Chamberlain really a weak and terrible leader?
Posted on 09/30/2013 9:02:59 AM PDT by the scotsman
'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.'
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
I read this revisionist piece of crap. It is a way to make Chamberlain seem brilliant rather than calling him out for being the weak kneed lilly livered coward he trull was
Is there any truth to the rumor that Boehner is a distant relative of ol’ “Peace in our time” Nellie C?
Was the Marquis de Sade really a sodomite?
Yes, I am not buying it.
Read any biography of, say, Eden or Churchill, and you will see that old Nev tried to deliberately discredit men like Eden especially, who opposed him and were younger politicians whom he thought would be the men of the future.
Substitute McConnell for Chamberlain.
He was a Naïve fool IMO.
He was also stuck in "gentleman politician" mode long after it should have been clear to anyone with a working brain that he was not dealing with gentlemen.
He was probably a nice guy. And once the bombs started dropping he took his place on the battlements like a gentleman. I give him credit for that.
The Progressive are really F*****G good at UN-Learning from past mistakes...
Sorry for my french, but I took John Kerry’s advice...
I agree that Chamberlain was no war time consiglieri, when one was desperately needed. Thankfully Churchill came along at the right moment.
But the fact remains that both England and France were effectively eliminated as great powers following WWI-—the losses both nations suffered in that war were devastating.
The one thing England had that France did not have was a body of water separating it from the European mainland.
If they think WWI had exacted a heavy toll, their naivete' much had larger consequences.
You’re going to see a bunch of these. Here’s another:
Interesting that these revisionist articles about Chamberlain come along at the same time that Obama back down on Syria and is talking to Iran.
I’m sure there’s no connection. /s
His government supported the development and acquisition of the Spitfire and Hurricane, and the development and emplacement of the Chain Low radar stations that defended the UK.
Unlike Obama, he was not a complete waste of skin.
Of course he was a weak, useless, appeasing POS who emboldened the enemies of civilization. He has been outclassed in recent years by subsequent British Prime Ministers of the Labor persuasion and our own Quislings like Carter, Clinton, and most especially Der Fuehrer obama.
To me I see “Peace in OUR time” statement as hey you younger people YOU will have to fight them later we are too tired and timid to do it now.. good luck.
Really not much need to waste more bandwidth than that.
The only thing that is often not noted is that the lack of will caused by the revulsion to the carnage of WWI and expressed as “appeasement” was considered a positive force or sensible stance.
The program that Chamberlain was part of was a heartfelt attitude of all of the European government majority parties. It is a fact that while the denotation of the word “appeasement” did not change, the word itself did not bear such a negative connotation until after this period of time.
As often happens, the public, soon reflected in the press, reacted before the office holders reacted. The cries for Churchill began while they were still thinking that they would form a government with Halifax taking the place of Chamberlain.
If "fair" is the criterion, I would judge that he did his best to make up for a very public humiliation. Whether anything he could have done at that point would make up for it completely I'll let others judge.
It's Churchill's fault? Insanity.
Now I'm going to go out on a limb and read more into this opinion piece *and* this statement in particular.
It's the Republicans, and those like Ted Cruz in particular, who are making Obama and Kerry look weak. We just don't know & understand all the variables he has to consider when he bows and ass kisses despotic murders. That his appeasement of animals like the Iranian rulers is really a calculated decision that is being slandered by conservatives for political gain.
Anyone else agree?
Yep, BBC. It's fair.
And your lame attempts at history revision will not help the weak, appeasing, African communist p.o.s. Ubama.
No sale, BBC.
A laughable piece of apologia for the appeasement lobby. Are you sure that this wasn’t written by Pat Buchanan?
The most ridiculous aspect of the current Neville Chamberlain analogies is the inflating of Iran into a latter day Nazi Germany when a closer analogy from that day would be Mussolini’s Italy if not Antonescu’s Romania.
You are spot on
Show me any modern appeaser who can measure up to any of those qualities.
well we can give him that
Churchill didn’t think Neville Chamberlain was the problem. He thought that the unreadiness foisted on Britain by Stanley Baldwin was the problem.
Chamberlain certainly made mistakes, but the Munich agreement was in fact a peace treaty that made peace, at the cost of Czech defenses. Hitler went beyond the agreement and took over the rest of Czechoslovakia (except for bits handed to Poland and Hungary), but that wasn’t Chamberlain’s fault.
It should be noted that German war production was vastly over estimated, as Germany intended, with conventional intelligence reporting that, for example, tank production was as high as 1400 tanks a month, which led to an understandable caution. Only after the war started were some German tanks captured, and from analysis of their serial numbers a better estimate was derived: No more than 275 a month. That is a big difference.
There is a nice article in Wikipedia on “The German Tank Problem”.
Were it not for Florida going for George W. Bush in 2000 by an extremely narrow margin, a decision supported by a Supreme Court majority, Al Gore would have been President on September 11, 2011. Other than some token strikes to save face, Gore's response would have been the same as those we have seen from Carter, Clinton, and Obama.
One should note that after Munich, one Joseph Stalin made yet another agreement with Hitler, so the wells of supidity of European Diplomacy with Hitler were not dry after Hitler betrayed Chamberlain.
Politically Roosevelt tried to take credit for Munich, but that was too much of a stretch for even the US laptod press of the day.
The point is NOT UP FOR ARGUMENT... neville was an appeaser and an idiot. This article comes from organized criminals that are still actively screwing America and the World with their globull warming con so........
I don’t need to read anything from wiki. I have Churchill’s works AND I have Life magazines (bound) from the period 1933 until 1953.
Winston was certainly no fan of Chamberlain. He did not suffer fools lightly. Nor did he solely blame Baldwin.
He would be perfectly acceptable in today’s society of same-sex marriage.
Chamberlain and Obama should never be compared to each other.
The former, though perhaps naive, loved his country.
A weak and terrible leader?
Oh, no. He was great and astute. A magnificent leader. He just got taken to the cleaners by a megalomaniacal liar.
Good thing our leader is strong and wonderful. Better that there aren’t any modern Hitlers he may have to confront.
“You could hold his [Neville Chamberlain] head in the toilet [and] he’d still give you half of Europe” -George Costanza
Churchill’s observations on Baldwin are spot-on. After all, it was Stanley Baldwin who famously observed “the bomber will always get through,” but did less than any other pre-war British Prime Minister to prepare his nation’s defenses. As another poster observed, development of the Spitfire and Hurricane (along with radar) came on Chamberlain’s watch and (in a sense) the Brits were playing catch-up.
At the operational level, Baldwin’s feckless defense policies are one reason Bomber Command was totally unprepared for World War II and suffered staggering losses in its early, daylight raids. Of course, we weren’t much better in the run-up to the war; as I recall, the B-17 bomber program survived in Congress by a single vote, and our budget for tank development in 1941 was just under $90,000.
The Conservative Chamberlain wanted to redirect Hitler to the east where the two evil empires would destroy each other. He correctly reasoned that another general war, even a victorious war, would be the ruination of his nation. Events proved him correct in that observation. The problem with Chamberlain’s strategy was that he didn’t follow it through to the end, but reversed himself the next spring, unilaterally guaranteeing any nation from Poland to Istanbul. That let Stalin off the hook.
I don’t think Churchill went into detail on the German Tank Problem, or on ULTRA, but had good reasons for not doing so.
I figure Chamberlain was an honorable man, who was conned by a dishonorable man.
Stalin was a dishonorable man who was conned by another dishonorable man. Soviet Union paid for that with 14.5 million military casualties and about 35 million civilian casualties. Soviets lost in WWII over 1 million second lieutenants.
He kept Winston out of government so that Winnie would not be discredited.
Yeah... he made “PEACE in our time”. Peace with hitler... yep.
What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub?
He was trying to prop up his miserable tenure as Prime Minister. He didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything except saving his political ass. After the Nazis invaded and started a war his aim was to attempt to save his legacy.
chamberlain was put in a situation where he knew dern well that england could not stop germany from taking czech-via. the only thing chamberlain could do was buy time for england’s rearmament program to reap results before going to war with germany.
maybe he got a bad rap, but i don’t think it was becaause of personal gullibility - he knew that britian could not force germany out without a war there was no chance of winning.
Chamberlain certainly made mistakes, but the Munich agreement was in fact a peace treaty that made peace, at the cost of Czech defenses. Hitler went beyond the agreement and took over the rest of Czechoslovakia (except for bits handed to Poland and Hungary), but that wasnt Chamberlains fault.
Let me begin by saying that I agree with a number of other posters that these "news" stories about Neville Chamberlain and Munich are transparent attempts to defend the Obama Administration's recent mishandling of the Syria crisis.
That said, I too am going to offer something of a contrarian view for FR about the Munich Agreement itself. The agreement was a bad choice for Britain, but it was a bad choice among other bad options.
By 1938, both Britain and France had neglected defense preparations for about a decade, a de facto bilateral policy that left someone like Chamberlain in a very poor position to act in 1938. This policy and its effects were was simply facts at the time of Munich, and this policy was the fundamental mistake. Not only were both Britain and France underprepared for war against a continental power, but the doubt each country therefore had about the other's willingness to maintain a wartime alliance between the two was quite reasonable.
Remember that Britain was not faced with destruction in 1938. Nor was the German absorption of Czechoslavakia itself a strategic threat to Britain. Britain reckoned, accurately, that should war be necessary it could be prosecuted later than the spring of 1938 from a position that was no worse than at that time.
It should be noted, too, that the strategic worries Britain had in 1938 about a major war all came to pass, as things actually happened, and the British ability to avoid these outcomes by declaring war in 1938 is doubtful. The Japanese would eventually have tried to take advantage of British weakness in the far East had Britain begun a major European war in 1938, just as actually happened, and there is no reason to think that these counterfactual Japanese adventures would have been any less disastrous for Britain than the actual ones. Germany would not have abandoned its broader war plans, and it would not have accepted any settlement denying it strategic dominance in Europe without being defeated in war. Britain only suspected as much about German intentions in 1938, true. Britain did realize, though, that the ability of Britain and France to inflict defeat on Germany in 1938 was not notably greater than they could expect it to be in the near future, such as in 1939, when war actually began.
The real significance of Munich was to make vivid the one fact that Britain and France were struggling to avoid facing. Should it be necessary to go to war to curb German aggression the two countries were neither willing nor able to do so.
This deficiency persisted right up to the start of the war in 1939. By the time Britain began preparing for war in earnest, it was too late to make good a decade of neglect. Hence the disasters that ensued.
In this respect, Britain was hardly unique. France, the United States, and the Soviet Union all systematically underestimated the German and Japanese threats, all of them neglected their defense preparations despite ample warnings of strategic danger, and all of them suffered numerous catastrophes as a result. The Munich Agreement was just the last dramatic demonstration of the danger the (eventual) Allied powers had allowed themselves to drift into before war actually began. By itself, it did little to alter the strategic situation for any of the belligerent powers.
The popular discussion of Munich tends to emphasize a narrative of personal weakness on Chamberlain's part. That is unfortunate, as the more important lesson derives from Britain's strategic weakness that left Chamberlain without good options.
It's a complicated issue, but the only real argument should be over whether war in 1938 would have been fought more successfully than in 1939.
With Czechoslovakia and, potentially, USSR on the Allied side it is quite possible. However, France was, though nobody really knew it at the time, hollowed out by faction and defeatism, and USSR military was even more in turmoil from Stalin's purges than it was in 1939.
Interestingly, if Stalin had allied with UK, France and CS, there is some possibility Poland would have allied with Germany. Poland wanted its piece of CS, and for darn good reason was even more wary of USSR than Germany.
Sorry, but this idea that Britain was finished by WW1 is a nonsense.
Until 1940, we were still the greatest and most powerful superpower on earth, and the financial hub of the world. We had the world’s biggest ever Empire, which EXPANDED after WW1, we had the world’s largest navy and a large army and air force. British intelligence was also the world’s finest.
And in science, technology and culture (literature, music), Britain still led the world. Be it Alexander Fleming, John Logie Baird or George Orwell. Be it radar, Colossus or penicillin.
Yes, Britain suffered in WW1. But the idea we ceased to be a major power after 1918 because of that is complete nonsense. Britain only abdicated top spot in 1940, and remained one of the three major world superpowers for another 30 years.
This is a good point of discussion. What would have happened without that agreement? I have to do some reading up on that.
I think it is funny that the left will be defending Chamberlain, because there are some on the right that are comparing Obama's Syrian failure to Chamberlain's. Chamberlain is one of modern history's greatest losers.
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