War: Sympathy & Neighbours

“However much we may sympathise with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbour, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in a war simply on her account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that…”

Neville Chamberlain (1869 to 1940)

Talking as the British Prime Minister, in 1938, on the conflict between Germany and Czechoslavkia.

As Minister of Health, he introduced the Local Government Act of 1929 reforming the Poor Law, effectively laying the foundations of the welfare state. Other major acts include: Factories Act 1937 (limited hours worked by women and children); Holiday with Pay Act 1938 (recommendation of week’s paid holiday which led to expansion of holiday camps); and Housing Act 1938 (aimed to encourage slum clearance and maintain rent controls).

Succeeded Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister in May 1937. Fooled by Adolf Hitler on several occasions due to wanting/restoring peace at almost any price. Forced to resign in May 1940 after the failure of the British efforts to liberate Norway. Died of bowel cancer in November 1940. There are those who suggest that his appeasement policy only fuelled the threat of war, not lessened it.


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