Ralph Morley – King’s School Canterbury Junior School

Tell the whole story revolving round ONE of these famous quotations:

(His choice:)

‘I believe that it is peace in our time.’

In 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped out of a Lockhead L.14 Electra and uttered these words.  He had spoken with the German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, and declared that this document ‘represents the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.’  In May 1938, the German Reich had annexed Austria and in October this vicious and powerful nation had invaded the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia, known as the Sudetenland – ‘to protect the millions of Germans who live there.’  The Conservative government of Neville Chamberlain favoured the Stanley Baldwin approach: appease Adolf Hitler with one hand, and re-arm the British Empire with the other.

Chamberlain flew out to Munich to talk with Adolf Hitler.  Meanwhile, Britain prepared.  RAF aircraft were given camouflage, and factories were allocated for possible war-work.  A degree of panic was apparent in Great Britain – and in Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as people feared a repeat of the Great War, of Gallipoli, Vimy Ridge or Ypres.

However, Chamberlain came back with the Munich Agreement, allowing Hitler to stay in the Sudetenland , somehow having assured himself that no further moves would be made.

In May 1939, however, Germany invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia and turned its eyes on Poland.  Britain and France moved to guarantee the neutrality of Poland, and in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, declared war.  So much for ‘peace in our time.

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