During the 1930s, Chamberlain's professed commitment to avoiding war with Hitler resulted in his controversial policy of
appeasement, which culminated in the Munich Pact (1938). Although contemporaries and scholars during and after the war criticized Chamberlain for believing that Hitler could be appeased, recent research argues that Chamberlain was not so naive and that appeasement was a shrewd policy developed to buy time for an ill-prepared Britain to rearm. After Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, he pledged military support to Poland and led Britain to war in September. After the British debacle in Norway, he was forced to resign in May, 1940. He was lord president of the council under Winston Churchill until Oct., 1940, and died a few weeks later.
See biographies by W. R. Rock (1969) and D. Dilks (vol. 1, 1984); R. Cockett, Twilight of Truth (1989); J. Charmley, Chamberlain and the Lost Peace (1990).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies