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Neville Chamberlain was born in 1869 and was the son of the politician Joseph Chamberlain In 1915 Neville was elected Lord Mayor of Birmingham and by 1918 he had been elected as Conservative MP for Ladywood His promotion was rapid and in 1923 the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin appointed him as Postmaster-General 1923-1924 the Minister for Health 1924-1929 During his period as Minister for Health Chamberlain was responsible for the reform of the Poor Law the promotion of Council house building and the systematising of Local Government As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the National Government from 1931-1937 he steered the economy back towards prosperity with a policy of low interest rates and easy credit However Chamberlains years as Prime Minister 1937-1940 and his appeasement policy of accommodating the European Dictators in order to avoid war gives us the opportunity to analyse his influence on European International Relations To many Chamberlains era was the beginning of Britains appeasement policy of avoiding war with aggressive powers such as Japan Italy and Germany However the origins of appeasement can be seen in British Foreign policy during the 1920s with the Dawes and Young plans These policies tried to conciliate the Germans as did the Locarno Peace treaties of 1925 - but the significant omission was that Britain did not agree to guarantee Germanys Eastern frontiers which even Stresemann the good German said must be revised When Chamberlains half brother Austin the then Foreign Minister remarked in 1925 that no British Government would risk the bones of a single British Grenadier in defence of the Polish Corridor it seemed to Germany that Britain had turned its back on Eastern Europe So it is clear that even before Chamberlain became Prime Minister that Britain had followed a foreign policy of appeasement In the earlier stages of appeasement there seemed much to commend it and the appeasers who included Macdonald Baldwin Sir John Simon Foreign Secretary 1931-1935 Sir Samuel
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