Following the failure of the Munich Agreement, Winston Churchill sent Neville Chamberlain a parting message.
When Winston Churchill’s predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, died in May 1940, just months after stepping down as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill sent him a warm farewell message.
From 1937 to May 1940, Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
He is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and he was a key figure in the September 1938 Munich Agreement, which gave Germany control of the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
As he was photographed waving an agreement with Adolf Hitler in the air, Chamberlain famously declared “peace for our time.”
The Munich Agreement is the subject of a new film titled ‘Munich: The Edge of War,’ which is based on Robert Harris’ bestselling novel of the same name.
On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, kicking off World War 2.
Two days later, Chamberlain declared war on Germany, leading the UK for the first eight months of the war, until May 1940.
Because there was only one limited military land operation on the Western Front during the first eight months, it was dubbed the ‘Phoney War.’
On May 10, 1940, the German invasion of France and the Low Countries brought the period to an end.
After the Norway Debate, which had left him with a drastically reduced parliamentary majority, Chamberlain stepped down on the same day.
Chamberlain intervened, according to historian and journalist Leo McKinstry, to ensure Winston Churchill succeeded him in Downing Street.
Lord Halifax, the then-Foreign Secretary, was favored by King George VI, much of the Cabinet, and the majority of Tory MPs, but Chamberlain had other ideas.
“Despite his personal antipathy to Churchill, Chamberlain put the cause of the nation above his own feelings and party politics,” Mr McKinstry wrote in The Telegraph in 2018.
“On May 10 and 11, after a series of meetings, he decided to tell the King that Churchill was the only option.”
Churchill himself acknowledged Chamberlain’s role in his ascension to the position of Prime Minister.
“I owe something to Chamberlain,” he told Manchester Guardian journalist WP Crozier soon after his premiership began.
“He could have advised the King to send for Halifax when he resigned, but he didn’t.”
On November 9, 1940, at the age of 71, Chamberlain died of bowel cancer.
Due to wartime security concerns, his funeral was held five days later at Westminster Abbey, but the details were kept under wraps.
Churchill and Halifax were both active participants in the war.
“Brinkwire News Summary.”