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CHUR 4/143A-B Literary: "The Second World War", Volume 1 "The Gathering Storm": Various material.

  Reference Description Date range  
CHUR 4/143/380-383

Copy of a speech by the late [Arthur] Neville Chamberlain [Prime Minister] made at Birmingham [Warwickshire] following Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, and used by WSC as source material for “The Gathering Storm”, volume 1 of “The Second World War”.

Chamberlain contests the view that the occupation of Czechoslovakia was a direct result of the Munich Agreement, stating that if he had been right to make the agreement in the previous year, then he was still right. He states that the problems he had been dealing with had existed since the end of the First World War, and that he had achieved his main object, in securing peace for Europe. Chamberlain recalls Hitler’s pledge that he had no more territorial ambitions in Europe and expresses his disappointment at the breaking of that pledge and his fears for the Czechs and wonders what reliance could be placed on any of Hitler’s assurances. He asks whether this was the beginning of a new venture for Germany, and whether it would be followed by further attacks, as an attempt to dominate the world. Chamberlain states the need to review all aspects of national safety, explaining that though he would sacrifice almost anything for peace, he would never surrender Britain’s liberty. He refuses to engage in any unforeseen commitments, but warns against the belief that just because Britain considered war senseless and cruel, it would not defend itself to the utmost, and declares his confidence that he had the support of the whole country, the Empire and all other nations who valued freedom. Typescript.

4 folios
17 Mar 1939