Chamberlain at Heston
At Heston Aerodome on 30th September 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who had just came back from Munich holds up the Anglo-German Non-Aggression Declaration. This Munich Agreement gave the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler in an attempt to satisfy his desire for Lebensraum or “living space” for Germany. Now in retrospect, the settlement was a misguided appeasement, but back then, a war-weary populace embraced Chamberlain’s statesmanship.
He gave a speech on the airfield, “The settlement of the Czech problem, which has now been achieved, is, in my view only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace” (Cheers). “This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor Herr Hitler and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine.” (As he holds paper up and waves it, people cheer again). “Some of you perhaps have already heard what it contains, but I would just like to read it to you.” He Reads, “We, the German Fuhrer and Chancellor and the British Prime Minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognising that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for the two countries, and for Europe. We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German naval agreement, as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again” (Cheers) “We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted” (lots of “hear hears”.) “to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe.'”
Someone shouts “three cheers for Chamberlain”, and everyone joins in the cheers as the PM walks away and gets into the car. Waves and cheers encouraged Chamberlain to make a much more daring speech from Number 10 Downing Street. He read the agreement again, but this time added, “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time … Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”
The next day, the German occupation of Sudetenland began, and the world entered the downward spiral into WWII.