Why did Neville Chamberlain sign the Munich Pact?

1 Answer
Mar 31, 2018

In an attempt to avoid another war


The modern view is that Chamberlain was a gullible but well meaning man who was fooled by Hitler, thats the myth that has developed (predominantly by the hatchet job Churchill did to him in WSC's memoirs) But the reality was not as simple as WSC portrayed it

Firstly lets consider the times - the First World War had ended in 1918 , all of the senior politicians had lived trough it, indeed many had served in it and understood the true horrors of industrial warfare and had no reason to believe that another European War would not be similar in its style and effects, so clearly they were anxious to avoid another war

Lets consider Britian's objectives and concerns, Britain had considered the Treaty of Versailles to be far to harsh on Germany not particularly out of sympathy but that Britain's great fear in the 20's and 30's was that of communism and Britain wanted a strongish Germany as a barrier to communist expansion

Lets eliminate hindsight, we all know what type of people Chamberlain was dealing with in Germany now, but far less was understood about them at that time

Lets consider what other activity Chamberlain was doing, from taking office in 1937 he had been secretly preparing Britain for war the evidence is clear, the modernization of both the RAF and the Army, the Radar defence network, the shadow factory system etc - all of which Churchill reaped the benefits of!

Lets look a British public opinion, the current meaning of the word "appeasement" carries very negative tones and has almost become an insult - in the 1930's it was a hugely popular policy in the UK

So with hindsight we see Chamberlain as a fool, in reality was he??