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30-09-1938

Chamberlain declares ‘peace in our time’

Having the previous day signed the Munich agreement with Adolf Hitler; British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain triumphantly returns to Britain claiming to have negotiated, ‘peace with honour’ and declares, ‘I believe it is peace in our time.’ In the summer of 1938, Hitler began openly to support the demands of Germans living in the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia for closer ties with Germany. The Czechoslovakian government opposed this threat to its sovereignty, especially after Hitler demanded the immediate accession of the Sudetenland region to Germany.

On 23rd September, Czechoslovakia called for mobilisation and war seemed imminent. Chamberlain and the French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier, unprepared for the outbreak of hostilities, travelled to Munich, where they, along with Italian leader Benito Mussolini, agreed to Hitler’s demands to takeover the Sudetenland land. Daladier abhorred the Munich agreements appeasement towards the Nazis, but Chamberlain was elated, and declared before a jubilant crowd in London that the Pact brought peace in our time. On 1st October, Germany annexed the Sudetenland and within six months nearly all of Czechoslovakia was under German control. In September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and Britain and France declared war on Germany.