Speech by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on Sep. 30, 1938
The context within which the speech “Peace for Our Time” was made needs to be clarified first. At that time, in September 30, 1938, Prime Minister Chamberlain of Great Britain, had signed an agreement with Italy, Germany, and France. This agreement essentially allowed for the Nazi annexation in part of Czechoslovakia. However, this agreement was quite futile as the war was not stopped and in reality the German military position was strengthened further. Thus, Prime Minister Chamberlain made this speech in the hope of defending this agreement.
Content of the Speech
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried to defend the Munich Agreement with his words. He tried to emphasize the fact that the agreement was not signed in an attempt to decide whether the Sudentenland were to be passed over to the Germans as that had been already concluded beforehand. He emphasized this so as to try and reduce the supposedly weak status resulting from the agreement. According to him the Anglo-French proposals had already been accepted by Czechoslovakia.
Secondly, he tried to outline the importance that there could be a provocation that might lead to unnecessary incidents and problems. Time was of the essence, and as he said it was critical that a decision was reached as quickly as possible to avoid any catastrophe. Their main aim was a peaceful resolution. In fact he then spent a good amount of his speech talking about the positivity of having reached a conclusion between four large countries’ governments. War needed to be averted as much as possible, and the main aim of the Munich agreement had been to do their best to avoid this. In fact the pacification of Europe remained Prime Minister Chamberlain’s main issue throughout the “Peace for Our Time” speech.