London: Friends of Europe, 1938. First and only edition. Pamphlet. This 1938 pamphlet captures one of the signal ruptures in the Conservative Party Government over the appeasement policies of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the eve of the Second World War. Specifically, according to the publisher’s note, this pamphlet publishes “the outstanding statements on the floor of the House of Commons during February and March, 1938, by the late Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Neville Chamberlain, and the Rt. Hon Winston Churchill… gathered together so as to furnish the most reliable authoritative guide to British foreign policy.”
The pamphlet is 23 pages bound in wire-stitched wraps, printed on thin stock, and measures 8.5 x 5.5 inches (21.59 x 13.97 cm). Condition is very good. The pamphlet is complete, with both original binding staples intact and no loss, tears, or appreciable wear, no spotting, and no previous ownership marks. The chief defects are some soiling and toning to the perimeter of the covers, a small stain to both covers at the spine head, and superficial rust to the binding staples. The pamphlet is protected within a clear, removable, mylar sleeve.
The contents begin with Eden’s resignation speech in the Commons of 21 February 1928 and go on to feature Chamberlain’s speech in the Commons of 24 March, followed by Churchill’s own speech of that day.
This pamphlet was “No.62” in a series of “Friends of Europe” publications. The stated objects of the publisher were: “1. To encourage effective co-operation for the prevention of war and the establishment of peace” and “2. To provide accurate information about Nazi Germany for use throughout Great Britain, the British Empire, the U.S.A., Europe and wherever the English tongue is known.” The rear cover of the pamphlet features an advertisement of twelve additional numbered pamphlets published by the “Friends of Europe”.
On 20 February 1938, then-British Foreign Secretary (and future Prime Minister) Anthony Eden resigned from the Government of Neville Chamberlain, notionally in opposition to Chamberlain’s futile attempts to mollify the expansionist ambitions of Germany and Italy while shirking Britain’s preparedness, principles, and security. Of Eden’s resignation, Churchill wrote in his WWII memoirs: "...on this night of February 20, 1938... sleep deserted me... There seemed one strong young figure standing up against long, dismal, drawling tides of drift and surrender, of wrong measurements and feeble impulses... he seemed to me at this moment to embody the life-hope of the British nation... Now he was gone." (The Gathering Storm, pp. 257-8)
Already a strident critic of Chamberlain’s appeasement policies, Churchill would replace Chamberlain as prime minister in May 1940 once war had made undeniably conspicuous the failings of Chamberlain and his policies. Eden returned to his Foreign Secretary post under Churchill’s wartime government and eventually succeeded Churchill as prime minister in 1955.
Reference: Cohen D70, Woods D(b)51. Item #006554