What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

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jabhatta
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by jabhatta » 02 Oct 2023 14:31

Test..Do not respond
Last edited by jabhatta on 02 Oct 2023 14:40, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by jabhatta » 02 Oct 2023 14:40

ljadw wrote:
02 Oct 2023 08:19
In May 1940 Chamberlain resigned as PM, but not as leader of the Tories,and, de facto, he remained PM .One word of Chamberlain and Churchill was out .
Churchill became PM only because there was no other candidate and because Chamberlain wanted to form a coalition cabinet,but Labour and the Liberals refused to serve under Chamberlain .
Thanks @ljadw ! Interesting ..

Can you explain the underlined part above a bit more ? How was Chamberlain "De-Facto" Prime Minister ?

Also - why in the world would Chamberlain resign as Prime Minister but continue to be the Leader of the Conservative Party ? One would assume, that if Chamberlain resigned as PM, he should also resign as the head of the Conservative Party as well

I think it may have to do with Chamberlain's Cancer. Chamberlain was in constant pain because he had bowel cancer.

That can be the only explanation regarding why Neville Chamberlain would continue to remain head of the conservative party BUT not be the Prime Minister

In 1935 - the Conservative Party had a complete majority in the parliament (386 seats out of the 615 seats)

Can you give some modern day examples of this situation, whereby the leader of the Party is NOT the Prime Minister (Assuming the Party has a complete majority in the Parliament)

I cant think of it personally

ljadw
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by ljadw » 02 Oct 2023 16:27

Chamberlain was de facto PM,as he was the leader of the conservatives,who had the majority in the Commons .
On 10 May 1940 Chamberlain resigned as PM,as he wanted a broad coalition government and as Liberals and Labour refused to serve under Chamberlain .
The majority of the conservatives still supported Chamberlain,who remained their leader till October,and were hostile to Churchill .

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by jabhatta » 02 Oct 2023 19:20

ljadw wrote:
02 Oct 2023 16:27
Chamberlain was de facto PM,as he was the leader of the conservatives,who had the majority in the Commons .
On 10 May 1940 Chamberlain resigned as PM,as he wanted a broad coalition government and as Liberals and Labour refused to serve under Chamberlain .
The majority of the conservatives still supported Chamberlain,who remained their leader till October,and were hostile to Churchill .
Hi @ljadw
Neville Chamberlain resigned the PM on May 1940
Neville Chamberlain resigned as head of the conservative party on 22nd September 1940 [because of bowel cancer per my understanding]

Quick question - if the majority of the Conservatives were hostile to Churchill (As you claim in the underline above)

a) How did Churchill become the head of the Conservative party when Chamberlain resigned as the head of the conservative party on 22nd September 1940 ??

Something seems off

The conservatives made Churchill the head of the conservative party from 1940 to 1955 (15 years) !

ljadw
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by ljadw » 02 Oct 2023 19:34

Answer: very simple : because there was no one else who could become leader of the Conservatives when Chamberlain resigned and because Chamberlain supported Churchill to become leader of the Conservatives .If Chamberlain had proposed an other candidate,it is very doubtful that Churchill would have succeeded .
Till he resigned as party leader Chamberlain's influence in the party was greater than that of Churchill .

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by Steve » 02 Oct 2023 21:47

In 1937 Churchill published a book of collected essays entitled Great Contemporaries in which he assessed Hitler. He attacked “the darker side of his work and creed” and his Jewish policy and internal repression. He also wrote the following:- “the story of that struggle cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate or overcome, all the authority or resistance which barred his path.”

In July 1938 Churchill was asked by the Gauleiter of Danzig whether German discriminatory legislation against Jews would prevent an understanding with Britain. Churchill said “it was a hindrance and an irritation but probably not a complete obstacle to a working agreement, though it might be to comprehension”.

If Churchill had been PM in September 1938 he would have had the same advice from the Chiefs of Staff as Chamberlain had. This was that the fall of Czechoslovakia could not be prevented that Britain could come under aerial bombing and that only two divisions were available to help the French. Not surprisingly the French seem to have been no keener to fight in 1938 than they were in 1939. There was also the Czech alliance with the Soviet Union to take into account. Chamberlain said he had no wish to see the Red Army in Vienna. The British public did not view the Sudetenland as an issue worth going to war over and the Empire was divided. I think it very likely that if Churchill had been in power during the Munich crisis he would have done the same as Chamberlain.

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by wm » 02 Oct 2023 22:44

It is not possible to form a just judgment of a public figure who has attained the enormous dimensions of Adolf Hitler until his life-work as a whole is before us.
Although no subsequent political action can condone wrong deeds, history is replete with examples of men who have risen to power by employing stern, grim, and even frightful methods, but who, nevertheless, when their life is revealed as a whole, have been regarded as great figures whose lives have enriched the story of mankind.
So may it be with Hitler.
...
Those who have met Herr Hitler face to face in public business or on social terms have found a highly competent, cool, well-formed functionary with an agreeable manner a disarming smile, and few have been unaffected by a subtle personal magnetism.
Nor is this impression merely the dazzle of power. He exerted it on his companions at every stage in his struggle, even when his fortunes were in the lowest depths.
Thus, the world lives on hopes that the worst is over, and that we may yet live to see Hitler a gentler figure in a happier age.
Great Contemporaries

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by ljadw » 03 Oct 2023 14:49

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
01 Oct 2023 14:27
wm wrote:
01 Oct 2023 14:04
Churchill cried wolf when there was no wolf at the gates, and Britain was protected by (seemingly invincible) France.
He must have known that his fearmongering based on the idea that Hitler would bomb London to smithereens was impossible - London was way too far for that.
Hmmm,

"He must have known" - is that because of what you now think you know? See Homer's The Iliad, and who can be wise after the event. :roll:

He was actually just repeating what many in the British establishment thought at the time - I'd recommend reading any book about British politics in the 1930's or you could start with the first chapter in Richard Overy's 'The Bombing War'. That should give you a better idea of the context within which Churchill was speaking.

Regards

Tom
That London could be destroyed by the LW was a lie ,spread by the Bomber Command lobby, to have more money at the cost of Fighter Command, besides : it was irrelevant as the destruction of London would be followed by the destruction of Berlin by the RAF .
And there is no proof that this claim had any influence on British Foreign Policy .
Appeasement was not invented by Chamberlain :it started immediately after the Conference of Versailles and it was supported by Churchill when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Oct 2023 16:50

ljadw wrote:
03 Oct 2023 14:49

That London could be destroyed by the LW was a lie ,spread by the Bomber Command lobby, to have more money at the cost of Fighter Command, besides : it was irrelevant as the destruction of London would be followed by the destruction of Berlin by the RAF .
And there is no proof that this claim had any influence on British Foreign Policy .
Appeasement was not invented by Chamberlain :it started immediately after the Conference of Versailles and it was supported by Churchill when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
While I agree to a certain extent with the last statement, there was no threat during the 1920s, once the aftermath of the Great War had died down. There was much support in the UK and France for the League of Nations and hopes for world disarmament including the Kellog Briand pact of 1929. The policy that was called "appeasment in the 1930s we would now call "containment".

I do take issue with the claim that Bomber Command spread a lie that London would be destroyed by aerial bombing shortly after the start of a major conflict. The idea of strategic bombing as the future of warfare was perpetrated by many airmen and other observers of military affairs. Attacking the enemy's industrial base and centre of govenrment looked like a way to win a war without repeating the attritional slaughter of the trenches.

Pre WW2 British calculations of casualties were based on each bomb inflicting C 70 casualties, perhaps by projecting the WW1 casualties from bombing with a multiplier for bigger bombs. This is where the figure of one million casualties comes from. (One thousand two hundres bomber sorties each dropping 10 x 50Kg bombs) JFC Fuller wrote that bombing would cause chaos and widepread panic amongst a civilian population lacking military discipline.

One of my favourite historians US professor Jim Sheehan pointed out that warfare is full of cruel disappointment and trajic irony. The idea of strategic bombing deterring war or leading to quick wars did not work - a cruel disappointment to those who thought it would - including RAF Bomber Command. The trajic irony is that bombing campaigns led to the kind of attrition they were hoping to avoid.

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 03 Oct 2023 19:50

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Oct 2023 16:50
there was no threat during the 1920s,
So who was appeasing who?
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Oct 2023 16:50
I do take issue with the
Why bother, he won't listen! :idea:

Regards

Tom

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by Michael Kenny » 03 Oct 2023 20:11

wm wrote:
01 Oct 2023 14:04

He must have known that his fearmongering based on the idea that Hitler would bomb London to smithereens was impossible - London was too far away for that.
Has no one seen the 1936 film 'Things To Come' and the fate of Everytown?



https://youtu.be/knOd-BhRuCE?si=cBhaZUdOzNB82Nin&t=628

Everytown was clearly a representation of London/Piccadilly Circus and the voters believed that what was going to happen to them. Blame H G Wells not Chamberlain.

Mass bombing raids was a very real fear justified or not.

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by ljadw » 03 Oct 2023 20:40

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
03 Oct 2023 19:50
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Oct 2023 16:50
there was no threat during the 1920s,
So who was appeasing who?
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Oct 2023 16:50
I do take issue with the
Why bother, he won't listen! :idea:

Regards

Tom
Curzon opposed the advance of the Polish forces in former Russia,because this could result in a big war where Britain could/would be involved and following him and most people in Britain,Britain could not afford an other war .
It is not a question of who would appease who , appeasement was a policy with as aim to avoid an other war .
Britain opposed the French occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 because this could result in a big war where Britain would be obliged to join it .
Britain opposed the claims of some people who wanted to conquer the Soviet Union,because such a war would not be good for Britain .

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by ljadw » 03 Oct 2023 20:47

Michael Kenny wrote:
03 Oct 2023 20:11
wm wrote:
01 Oct 2023 14:04

He must have known that his fearmongering based on the idea that Hitler would bomb London to smithereens was impossible - London was too far away for that.
Has no one seen the 1936 film 'Things To Come' and the fate of Everytown?



https://youtu.be/knOd-BhRuCE?si=cBhaZUdOzNB82Nin&t=628

Everytown was clearly a representation of London/Piccadilly Circus and the voters believed that what was going to happen to them. Blame H G Wells not Chamberlain.

Mass bombing raids was a very real fear justified or not.
The fear of mass bombing raids did not decide British foreign policy .
Britain and France did nothing when Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland, but not because they feared mass bombings .
They accepted the Anschluss of the Sudetenland,but not because of the fear of mass bombings .
British government took the needed measures to counter a German air attack on London ,and these measures were defensive, to the anger of Bomber Command ,which did not believe in RADAR and anti-aircraft defense .

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wm
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by wm » 03 Oct 2023 22:03

Michael Kenny wrote:
03 Oct 2023 20:11
Mass bombing raids was a very real fear justified or not.

Certainly, the fear was real.
In particular, residual fears of aerial warfare resurfaced, provoking a clamour for enhanced measures of passive defence. Given such apprehensions, the bare fact that conflict had been avoided was cause for celebration.

As Garvin in the Observer noted, the alternative was unthinkable:
‘including women and children – especially here where they are most exposed – millions and millions would have died on account of a racial medley in Central Europe’.

Many saw this latent war-anxiety as the ultimate justification for Munich.
As Lord Rothermere told Churchill, the ‘public is so terrified of being bombed that they will support anyone who keeps them out of war’.
Public Opinion and the End of Appeasement in Britain and France by Daniel Hucker

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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by Pavel Novak » 05 Oct 2023 10:33

Steve wrote:
02 Oct 2023 21:47
In 1937 Churchill published a book of collected essays entitled Great Contemporaries in which he assessed Hitler. He attacked “the darker side of his work and creed” and his Jewish policy and internal repression. He also wrote the following:- “the story of that struggle cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate or overcome, all the authority or resistance which barred his path.”

In July 1938 Churchill was asked by the Gauleiter of Danzig whether German discriminatory legislation against Jews would prevent an understanding with Britain. Churchill said “it was a hindrance and an irritation but probably not a complete obstacle to a working agreement, though it might be to comprehension”.

If Churchill had been PM in September 1938 he would have had the same advice from the Chiefs of Staff as Chamberlain had. This was that the fall of Czechoslovakia could not be prevented that Britain could come under aerial bombing and that only two divisions were available to help the French. Not surprisingly the French seem to have been no keener to fight in 1938 than they were in 1939. There was also the Czech alliance with the Soviet Union to take into account. Chamberlain said he had no wish to see the Red Army in Vienna. The British public did not view the Sudetenland as an issue worth going to war over and the Empire was divided. I think it very likely that if Churchill had been in power during the Munich crisis he would have done the same as Chamberlain.
I think that Churchill in Chamberlain position in 1938 would be more cautios from mentioned reasons.

But major difference will be that there will be no Munich crisis as developed in reality as it required leader like Chamberlain to repeatedly fly to Germany for repeated negotiations (and humiliations) with Hitler and I really doubt that Churchill had any desire for it.

So it could develop that there will be lot of rumblings, lot of warnings but no serious negotiations at all as Germany refused to negotiate directly with Czechoslovakia. At the end at some point Germany would just launch "unexpected" invasion of Czechoslovakia as they actually planned and British and French leaders would havo to decide if stay away from it or join it but without possibility to prevent it.

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