CHAMBERLAIN, (Arthur) Neville, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Neville Chamberlain's wartime Christmas Card

CHAMBERLAIN, (Arthur) Neville (1869-1940). Prime Minister.
Chamberlain's Christmas Card for 1939, unsigned, but a remarkable relic of what must have been his most difficult Christmas, 110 x 175mm. (4½ x 7 inches). The card is embossed in gilt on the front 'Christmas 1939' and is adorned with a red ribbon.

Neville Chamberlain had become prime minister on 28 May 1937 at a time when the policy of appeasement was already established by the Foreign Office. He was a strong advocate of British rearmament, especially of the air force, for which purpose he raised the rate of taxation in the 1937 budget. The sequence of events leading to the outbreak of war with German on 3 September 1939 is well known to history. Anthony Eden and Winston Churchill now returned to the government and Chamberlain, although unhappy with his role as a war leader, became firmly opposed to any kind of rapprochement with Hitler without there being an end to Nazi policy.

Christmas 1939 could hardly have been a happy time for Chamberlain. The strange quietness engendered by the so-called 'phoney war' came to an end on 10 May 1940 with Hitler's invasion of France. On that day Chamberlain resigned and Churchill became prime minister.

1939 was Chamberlain's last Christmas. Soon after his resignation he became aware of symptoms of the abdominal problem which was confirmed as the cancer from which he was to die on 9 November 1940.

£125 [No: 26716]
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