Neville Chamberlain cytaty
Data urodzenia: 18. Marzec 1869
Data zgonu: 9. Listopad 1940
Natępne imiona: Arthur Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain – brytyjski polityk, torysowski premier Wielkiej Brytanii w latach 1937–1940. Autor appeasementu – polityki ustępstw prowadzonej przez rząd Wielkiej Brytanii, a później także rząd francuski z premierem Édouardem Daladierem w latach 1937–1939 względem przywódcy Rzeszy Niemieckiej Adolfa Hitlera oraz jego sojusznika, premiera Włoch Benita Mussoliniego.
Pełnił funkcję kanclerza skarbu w latach 1923–1924 i od listopada 1931 do 1937 doprowadził do znacznego ożywienia gospodarczego, wprowadzając politykę niskiego oprocentowania i łatwo dostępnego kredytu. Plany reform socjalnych nie zostały zrealizowane, ze względu na wydatki wojskowe. Był także ministrem zdrowia w roku 1923, w latach 1924–1929 i potem w roku 1931, w czasie swojego urzędowania przeprowadził ustawy socjalne.
W maju 1937 roku został premierem Wielkiej Brytanii. Jako premier prowadził politykę tzw. appeasementu , która polegała na stosowaniu ustępstw w polityce wobec hitlerowskich Niemiec i faszystowskich Włoch. Tą polityką kierował się Chamberlain w czasie negocjacji, jakie prowadził we wrześniu 1938 roku z Hitlerem w Berchtesgaden i Bad Godesberg. Taktyka ta miała na celu zachowanie pokoju w Europie za wszelką cenę, a także stworzenie przeciwwagi wobec zakusów stalinowskiego ZSRR na Europę Zachodnią. Innym wytłumaczeniem jego polityki może być próba odsunięcia wojny Wielkiej Brytanii z Niemcami ze względu na nieprzygotowanie do takiego konfliktu.
Zgodził się także podpisać układ monachijski oddający Niemcom część Czechosłowacji . Takie postępowanie mogło wówczas utwierdzić Hitlera w przekonaniu, że Wielka Brytania zachowa neutralność wobec wszelkich jego działań w Europie. Chamberlain nie odważył się na reakcję wobec hitlerowskiego pogwałcenia układu monachijskiego przez wkroczenie 15 marca 1939 Wehrmachtu do Pragi.
Po krytyce jego działań ze strony opozycji zmienił nieco kurs swojej polityki zagranicznej. Działania te, jak wprowadzenie w kwietniu 1939 roku powszechnego obowiązku służby wojskowej, były jednak spóźnione.
Jest prawdopodobne, że Chamberlain, podejrzewając rzekomą możliwość zawarcia sojuszu między Polską a Niemcami, chciał wykluczyć tę okoliczność i skierować niemiecką agresję na wschód. Z tego względu 31 marca 1939 roku ogłosił w parlamencie gwarancję niepodległości Polski. Było to zaskoczeniem nawet dla jego najbliższych współpracowników. Polsko-brytyjski traktat o wzajemnej pomocy zawarto 25 sierpnia 1939 roku. Po uderzeniu wojsk niemieckich na Polskę rząd brytyjski 3 września wystosował ultimatum żądające zaprzestania agresji niemieckiej, a wobec jego odrzucenia wypowiedział wojnę III Rzeszy.
Po fiasku brytyjskiej ekspedycji w sprawie Norwegii zaatakowanej przez Niemców i wobec ostrej opozycji w parlamencie 10 maja 1940 roku zrezygnował ze stanowiska premiera, pozostając jednak w gabinecie Winstona Churchilla.
Wkrótce wykryto u niego raka żołądka. W lipcu 1940 roku był operowany, w październiku zrezygnował z zajmowanych stanowisk, a 9 listopada zmarł. Wikipedia
Cytaty Neville Chamberlain
„To straszne, dziwaczne, niesamowite, że mielibyśmy kopać rowy i zakładać maski gazowe z powodu kłótni w jakimś dalekim kraju, między ludźmi, o których nic nie wiemy.“
How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is, that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing. (ang.)
o niemieckim żądaniu aneksji Kraju Sudetów w przemówieniu radiowym w BBC, 27 września 1938.
Źródło: Chamberlain and appeasement http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/ir1/chamberlainandappeasementrev8.shtml, bbc.co.uk
„I am myself a man of peace to the depths of my soul. Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me; but if I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind to dominate the world by fear of its force, I should feel that it must be resisted.“
Broadcast (27 September 1938), quoted in Keith Feiling, Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1946), p. 372.
Kontekst: I would not hesitate to pay even a third visit to Germany, if I thought it would do any good... I am myself a man of peace to the depths of my soul. Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me; but if I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind to dominate the world by fear of its force, I should feel that it must be resisted. Under such a domination, life for people who believe in liberty would not be worth living: but war is a fearful thing, and we must be very clear, before we embark on it, that it is really the great issues that are at stake.
„We are not sufficiently advanced to reveal our ideas to the public, but of course we cannot deny the general charge of rearmament and no doubt if we try to keep our ideas secret till after the election, we should either fail, or if we succeeded, lay ourselves open to the far more damaging accusation that we had deliberately deceived the people…I have therefore suggested that we should take the bold course of actually appealing to the country on a defence programme, thus turning the Labour party's dishonest weapon into a boomerang.“
Diary entry (2 August 1935), quoted in Maurice Cowling, The Impact of Hitler. British Politics and British Policy. 1933-1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 92.
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Kontekst: The Labour Party, obviously intends to fasten upon our backs the accusation of being 'warmongers' and they are suggesting that we have 'hush hush' plans for rearmament which we are concealing from the people. As a matter of fact we are working on plans for rearmament at an early date for the situation in Europe is most alarming... We are not sufficiently advanced to reveal our ideas to the public, but of course we cannot deny the general charge of rearmament and no doubt if we try to keep our ideas secret till after the election, we should either fail, or if we succeeded, lay ourselves open to the far more damaging accusation that we had deliberately deceived the people... I have therefore suggested that we should take the bold course of actually appealing to the country on a defence programme, thus turning the Labour party's dishonest weapon into a boomerang.
„We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.“
Speech at Heston Airport (30 September 1938), quoted in The Times (1 October 1938) Oxford Book of Modern Quotes http://hudsoncress.org/html/library/dictionaries/The%20Oxford%20Dictionary%20of%20Modern%20Quotations.pdf(pdf)
Kontekst: This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine.... We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.
„It is evil things that we will be fighting against—brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution—and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.“
Broadcast from the Cabinet Rooms at 10 Downing Street (3 September 1939)
Kontekst: This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. … It is evil things that we will be fighting against— brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution— and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.
„He could have dealt France and ourselves a terrible, perhaps a mortal, blow then. The opportunity will not recur.“
Letter to Hilda Chamberlain (30 December 1939), quoted in Maurice Cowling, The Impact of Hitler. British Politics and British Policy. 1933-1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 355.
Kontekst: I stick to the view I have always held that Hitler missed the bus in September 1938. He could have dealt France and ourselves a terrible, perhaps a mortal, blow then. The opportunity will not recur.
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„It is not inconceivable that human civilisation should be permanently overcome by such evil men and evil things, and I feel proud that the British Empire, though left to fight alone, still stands across their path, unconquered and unconquerable.“
Last broadcast (11 October 1940), quoted in Keith Feiling, Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1946), p. 454.
„We are a solid and united nation, which would rather go down to ruin than admit the domination of the Nazis…If the enemy does try to invade this country, we will fight him in the air and on the sea; we will fight him on the beaches with every weapon we have…We shall be fighting…with the conviction that our cause is the cause of humanity and peace against cruelty and wars; a cause that surely has the blessing of Almighty God.“
Broadcast (30 June 1940), quoted in Keith Feiling, Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1946), p. 449.
„There was something else in the example of my father's life which impressed me very deeply when I was a young man, and which has greatly influenced me since I took up a public career. I suppose most people think of him as a great Colonial Secretary and tariff reformer, but before he ever went to the Colonial Office he was a great social reformer, and it was my observance of his deep sympathy with the working classes and his intense desire to better their lot which inspired me with an ambition to do something in my turn to afford better help to the working people and better opportunities for the enjoyment of life.“
Speech in the Albert Hall, London (12 May 1938), quoted in The Times (13 May 1938), p. 11.
„In common with my colleagues, I recognise that no single remedy can be a complete cure, but while I am ready to examine every proposal…I must frankly say that I believe a tariff levied on imported foreign goods will be found to be indispensable…The ultimate destiny of this country is bound up with the Empire…I hope to take my part in forwarding a policy which was the main subject of my father's last great political campaign…I hope that we may presently develop into a National Party, and get rid of that odious title of Conservative, which has kept so many from joining us in the past.“
Election address in Birmingham (October 1931), quoted in Keith Feiling, Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1946), pp. 196-197.
Minster of Health
„I cannot but add that I have always been a supporter and defender of your policy when you were Prime Minister. I am sure that it was right. In view of the attitude of France and of the unreadiness of this country for which you were in no way to be blamed, it would have been folly to precipitate then a war with Germany. It was your strength of will and purpose and self-restraint that saved us from that mistake. When the time to meet the challenge of Hitler came, you had made it plain to the whole impartial world that you had done everything possible to keep Europe from war, and to fix the blame for that calamity on the unbridled ambition of Hitler. You enabled your country to enter the war with a clear conscience and a united will.“
Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Gordon Lang to Chamberlain (6 October 1940), quoted in Keith Feiling, Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1946), pp. 462-463.
„I do not think anyone would question my sincerity when I say that there is hardly anything I would not sacrifice for peace, but there is one thing which I must except and that is the liberty which we have enjoyed for hundreds of years and which we will never surrender…No greater mistake could be made than to suppose that, because it believes war to be a senseless and cruel thing, this nation has so lost its fibre that it will not take part to the utmost of its power in resisting such a challenge if it were ever made.“
Speech in Birmingham (17 March 1939), quoted in The Times (18 March 1939), p. 12.
„After reading your letter I feel certain that you can get all essentials without war, and without delay. I am ready to come to Berlin myself at once to discuss arrangements for transfer with you and representatives of the Czech government, together with representatives of France and Italy if you desire. I feel convinced that we could reach agreement in a week. However much you distrust the Prague government's intentions, you cannot doubt the power of the British and French governments to see that the promises are carried out fairly and fully and forthwith. As you know, I have stated publicly that we are prepared to undertake that they shall be so carried out. I cannot believe that you will take the responsibility of starting a world war, which may end civilization, for the sake of a few days' delay in settling this long-standing problem.“
Letter to Hitler (27 September 1938), quoted in Keith Feiling, Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1946), p. 372.
„This is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace in our time.“
"Neville Chamberlain 1937-40 Conservative" http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page135.asp, 10 Downing Street, number10.gov.uk (accessed 2006-06-11)
On returning to England from Munich in 1938; cf. Benjamin Disraeli's return from the Congress of Berlin in 1878
„I often think to myself that it's not I but someone else who is P. M. and is the recipient of those continuous marks of respect and affection from the general public who called in Downing Street or at the station to take off their hats and cheer. And then I go back to the House of Commons and listen to the unending stream of abuse of the P. M., his faithlessness, his weakness, his wickedness, his innate sympathy with Fascism and his obstinate hatred of the working classes.“
Letter to Hilda Chamberlain (28 May 1939), quoted in Maurice Cowling, The Impact of Hitler. British Politics and British Policy. 1933-1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 293.
„I am sure that some day the Czechs will see that what we did was to save them for a happier future. And I sincerely believe that what we have at last opened the way to that general appeasement which alone can save the world from chaos.“
Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury (2 October 1938), quoted in Keith Feiling, Neville Chamberlain (London: Macmillan, 1946), p. 375.