1920-1939 | Palestine | Refusing refugees

First British shots of the war targets Jewish refugees

1 September 1939 Before dawn on the 1 September 1939, Hitler’s Wehrmacht commenced the invasion of Poland, triggering Number 10’s declaration of war two days later. During those same early hours, a British police launch, patrolling the coast off Palestine to prevent the unwelcome arrival of fugitives fleeing Nazi persecution, opened fire with a Lewis…

1920-1939 | Appeasing Hitler | Germany

British officials and aristocrats attend Hitler’s birthday

20 April 1939 20 April 1939 marked Adolf Hitler’s fiftieth birthday. Less than five months later Britain would be at war with Germany.  A month earlier, German troops had marched into the Czech Republic, proving that the Munich Agreement, which Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had proclaimed as ‘peace in our time,’ was worthless. Yet, the…

1920-1939 | Appeasing Hitler | Germany

Cabinet – not sending birthday greetings might offend Hitler

19 April 1939 On 19 April 1939, the Cabinet deliberated over the correct diplomatic etiquette with regards to celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday, who would turn fifty the next day. The first issue raised was whether the British Charge d’Affaires in Berlin should offer a birthday present to the Fuhrer or at least join in a…

1920-1939 | Appeasing Hitler | Germany

The Bank of England hands over Czech gold to the Nazis

15 March 1939 On 15 March 1939, less than six months before the outbreak of the Second World War, German troops occupied the Czech Republic, a parliamentary democracy. It was a military takeover without any credible pretext beyond Hitler’s fanciful claim that the provinces of ‘Bohemia and Moravia (had) for thousands of years belonged to the…