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How one man’s mistake paved the road to World War II

Neville Chamberlain did not invent appeasement—but his fervent belief in it led a nation to disaster

By Josh Ireland   June 2019

Neville Chamberlain waves to crowds from the window of No.10 after the Munich Agreement was signed. Image: PA

Not long after German troops marched into Austria in 1938, Ernest Tennant, one of many amateur diplomats who travelled from Britain to Germany during the 1930s, committed his thoughts to paper. “I still believe that it should not only be possible, but easy, to make friends with them. From 1933 to 1935 they looked upon Britain much as a new boy looks upon a house master—even today that feeling has by…

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