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This Sceptred Isle

Anschluss and the Munich Agreement
In 1938 Germany annexed Austria. Then Hitler looked to Czechoslovakia. At this point Chamberlain with the French Prime Minister Daladier and Mussolini of Italy went to Munich and agreed autonomy for Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain arrived home promising "Peace in our time".

Six months later Hitler took over Czechoslovakia. War was inevitable. For the first time in history Britain was faced with the terrible threat of attack from the air.

Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940)

  • Born in Birmingham
  • Followed the Chamberlain tradition by becoming Lord Mayor of Birmingham in 1915
  • Became MP for Birmingham Ladywood in 1918
  • Appointed Minister for Health in 1924 and Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1931
  • Became Prime Minister in 1937
  • Remembered for his "peace" agreement with Hitler in 1938 promising "peace in our time" and for his declaration of war on September 3 1939
  • Relinquished his post as Prime Minister to Churchill in 1940 and died at the end of that year

did you know?
Walt Disney produced Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in cartoon form for the first time in 1938.

Extract From The Times 1938

"The problem is immense but its elements are simple. Lord Baldwin declared some time ago that the frontier of Britain now lay on the Rhine. He said this to prepare the country for a huge armaments programme. No one has yet thought of preparing the country for the even bigger plan of civil defence by declaring that our first line of defence is the Thames. Yet that is the fact. No minister has really taken the public into his confidence over the question of air raid precautions. The House of Commons debates have been scrappy and ill-informed. The average MP seems to have taken little interest in the defence problem of his constituency.

It is not true to say, as a government spokesman said recently, that we are all pretty well acquainted with the details of air raid precautions. The public who have noticed only the sensational superficialities of newspapers, have the most fantastic ideas about the nature of aerial warfare, the dangers of gas, and the futility of resistance. Misleading analogies have been drawn from the wars in China and Spain.

As a result there has been general apathy and a lack of critical, informed interest. Local authorities have preened themselves on elaborate paper schemes or on their success in marking time while the financial question was fought out between Mr Herbert Morrison's United Front and the Government. Eight valuable months were lost during last year. Yet the problem is such that public awareness and interest are the very essence of any scheme of precautions."

Select historical period

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1933Hitler becomes German Chancellor
Roosevelt becomes US President
1935Baldwin becomes Prime Minister
1936George V dies
Edward VIII becomes King
Edward VIII abdicates
George VI becomes King
1937 Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister
1938The Munich Agreement is signed
Germany annexes Austria
1939World War II begins
Conscription is introduced
1940Churchill becomes Prime Minister
Rationing is introduced
1941The Atlantic Charter is formed
Anglo-Soviet Treaty is signed
1942The Beveridge Report is published

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