Chamberlain was British prime minister between 1937 and 1940, and is closely associated with the policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain was born on 18 March 1869 in Birmingham into a political family. His father, Joseph, was an influential politician of the late 19th century and Neville's older half-brother Austen held many Conservative cabinet positions in the early 20th century and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Chamberlain was educated in Birmingham. After a successful career in business, in 1915 he was appointed lord mayor of Birmingham. In 1916, Lloyd George appointed him director-general of the department of national service, but disagreements between them led Chamberlain to resign. In 1918, Chamberlain was elected Conservative member of parliament for Ladywood in Birmingham and was rapidly promoted. He served as both chancellor of the exchequer (1923 - 1924) and minister of health (1923, 1924 -1929, 1931). In 1937, he succeeded Stanley Baldwin as prime minister.
Like many in Britain who had lived through World War One, Chamberlain was determined to avert another war. His policy of appeasement towards Adolf Hitler culminated in the Munich Agreement in which Britain and France accepted that the Czech region of the Sudetenland should be ceded to Germany. Chamberlain left Munich believing that by appeasing Hitler he had assured 'peace for our time'. However, in March 1939 Hitler annexed the rest of the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia, with Slovakia becoming a puppet state of Germany. Five months later in September 1939 Hitler's forces invaded Poland. Chamberlain responded with a British declaration of war on Germany.
In May 1940, after the disastrous Norwegian campaign, Chamberlain resigned and Winston Churchill became prime minister. Chamberlain served in Churchill's cabinet as lord president of the council. He died a few weeks after he left office, on 9 November 1940.