Arthur Neville Chamberlain was the eldest son of the second marriage of Joseph Chamberlain, Lord Mayor of Birmingham, and a half-brother to Austen, later Sir Austen Chamberlain and he was born on March 18, 1869. He was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940.
Biography and Career :
Joseph's first wife had died shortly after giving birth to Austen; Arthur Neville Chamberlain's mother also died in childbirth in 1875 when Neville was six years old. The Chamberlain children found their relations with their father strained, and Neville grew up developing strong bonds with those siblings who were closest to him in age, most notably his sisters Ida and Hilda, to whom he would write every week he was away from them.
e Chamberlain was educated at Rugby School, but the experience unsettled him and he became rather shy and withdrawn. At first he declined to join the school debating society, changing his mind only in 1886 when he spoke in favour of his father's position in the controversy over Irish
Home Rule. It was during this period that Chamberlain developed a love of botany, and he was later to become a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain was also fascinated by birds, becoming a keen ornithologist; he would later become interested in angling. Chamberlain had a passion for literature
and music, and in later life would at crucial times quote William Shakespeare
After leaving school, Arthur Neville Chamberlain became a day attender at Mason Science College (later the University of Birmingham), thus becoming one of only two future Prime Ministers to attend a university other than Oxford or Cambridge
(the other being Lord John Russell, who attended Edinburgh). He took a degree in science and metallurgy, but shortly after graduation became apprenticed to an accounting firm.
In 1890, Joseph Chamberlain's finances took a downturn, and he decided, against better advice from his brothers, to try growing sisal in the Bahamas
. Arthur Neville Chamberlain and Austen were sent to the Americas to investigate the island of Andros, which seemed a good prospect for a plantation, but the crops failed in the unsuitable environment, and by 1896 the business was shut down at a heavy loss.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain's later ventures at home were more successful. He served as chairman of several manufacturing firms in Birmingham
, including "Elliots", a metal goods manufacturer, and "Hoskins", a cabin berth manufacturer. He gained a reputation for being a hands-on manager, taking a strong interest in the day-to-day running of affairs.
Chamberlain succeeded Stanley Baldwin as prime minister of the United Kingdom
in 1937 and the appeasement years were upon Britain. In an attempt to forestall a general European war, Chamberlain traveled to Germany
three times in September 1938, as Germany demanded the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. As Germany's demands increased throughout the month of September, Chamberlain recommended the convening of a four-power conference. On 29th September, Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier of France and Mussolini of Italy met in Munich
to agree upon a plan that would remove the Germany army by 10th October.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain left Munich with a declaration signed by Hitler that assured peace. The prime minister returned home happy, believing that he had achieved 'peace with honour. I believe it is peace in our time'.
Six months later, Hitler would disregard the agreement with the annexation of Czechoslovakia and later with the invasion of Poland in September of 1939. Chamberlain's policy of appeasement was seen as a failure by many at the time, and for many years to follow. Current thinking has shifted, however, believing Chamberlain to have shrewdly agreed to appeasement to give the British armed forces the time they desperately needed to prepare for full-blown war.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain , the man who made 'appeasement' famous, was from a family of statesmen.
In May 1940, Arthur Neville Chamberlain was ousted from power after a failed British expedition to Norway. Arthur Neville Chamberlain served under Prime Minister Churchill as Lord President of the Council and died a few weeks after he left the post in October 1940.
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