Canada in the Second World War


Neville Chamberlain

Arthur Neville Chamberlain, born in Birmingham (England) March 18, 1869, died in Heckfield (England) November 9, 1940. Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1937 to 1940.

Educated at Rugby and at Mason College, Birmingham, Chamberlain’s interests were at first with the business world, before he turns to politics. He was elected to the Birmingham city council in 1911, and later mayor of that city (from 1915 to 1916). He is elected to the House of Commons in 1918 as Conservative MP for Birmingham.

In Parliament, Chamberlain serves as Health Minister (1923-1924, 1924-1929, 1931) and as Chancellor of the Exchequer (1923-1924, 1931-1937). In 1937, he succeeds Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister. A conscientious and responsible administrator, Chamberlain faces the threat created by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany by favouring a policy of appeasement, preferring negotiations with Mussolini and Hitler to armed confrontation. When Germany invades Poland in August 1939, hostilities are inevitable and Great Britain proclaims the state of war on September 3. His policies discredited, Chamberlain resigns in May 1940. Winston Churchill succeeds him as Prime minister.