In 1938, on this day the architect of appeasement, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from the Munich Conference where he had negotiated a carthaginian peace with the megalomaniac monster he respectfully called "Mr Hitler". From the first floor window at 10 Downing Street, Chamberlain acknowledged the crowd which had gathered outside, declaring, "My good friends, this is the second time in our history there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time".
Countdown to War Part 1: Peace in Our TimeWinston Churchill condemned the Munich Agreement as a "total and unmitigated defeat", stating that "You [Chamberlain] were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war". When Churchill died later that year, the case for war would be taken up by Conservative backbencher Leo Amery, who would now Speak for England.
After Chamberlain's death, his successor Prime Minister Halifax would ensure that argument would be lost in the "mother of all parliaments"; whilst war did not follow - at least for the British - there was plenty more dishonour. Because in the so-called Third Munich Agreement1 hammered out at Yalta in February 1945, Polish land east of the Curzon Line was passed to Russia. Mr Hitler had established the principle of "Might makes right" in foreign policy and perhaps after all Britain's new-found "Splendid Isolation" was no bad thing. Because the Churchillian sense of honour was surely an anacronyism in the New World Order that had emerged from the collapse of the British Empire.