Chamberlain, Arthur Neville


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Chamberlain, Arthur Neville

 

Born Mar. 18, 1869, in Edgbaston, Birmingham; died Nov. 9, 1940, at Heckfield House, near Reading. British state figure and leader of the Conservative Party. Son of Joseph Chamberlain.

Neville Chamberlain was educated at the exclusive Rugby School and at Mason College, Birmingham. For many years an entrepreneur, he served as lord mayor of Birmingham in 1915 and 1916 and was elected to Parliament in December 1918 as a Conservative. He held the posts of postmaster general in 1922 and 1923, minister of health in 1923, from 1924 to 1929, and in 1931, and chancellor of the exchequer from 1931 to 1937. Chamberlain served as leader of the Conservative Party in 1930 and 1931 and as prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party from 1937 to 1940.

Pursuing a policy of appeasement toward the fascist aggressors, Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact of 1938 with A. Hitler, B. Mussolini, and E. Daladier. His government was responsible for breaking off the Moscow negotiations of 1939 between the USSR, Great Britain, and France, which were aimed at containing the aggressors; during these talks he conducted secret negotiations with fascist Germany (seeLONDON NEGOTIATIONS OF 1939). When appeasement failed, Great Britain entered World War II in September 1939 under extremely adverse conditions. The Chamberlain government then tried to direct German aggression eastward against the USSR. In May 1940, after Great Britain suffered major military defeats, Chamberlain was forced to resign as prime minister, but until September 1940 he remained a member of W. Churchill’s coalition government and the leader of the Conservative Party.

REFERENCES

Trukhanovskii, V. G. Vneshniaia politika Anglii na pervom etape obshchego krizisa kapilalizma (1918–1939). Moscow, 1962.
Trukhanovskii, V. G. Vneshniaia politika Anglii v period vtoroi mirovoi voiny (1939–1945). Moscow, 1965.
Macleod, L. Neville Chamberlain. London, 1962.

V. G. TRUKHANOVSKII