The following is the wording of the statement that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waved when he stepped off the plane after the conference in Berlin had ended on 30 September, 1938.
“We, the German Führer and Chancellor, and the British Prime Minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for two countries and for Europe.
“We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.
“We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe.”
Chamberlain read this statement to a cheering crowd in front of 10 Downing St. and said;
“My good friends this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor. I believe it is peace in our time.”
The French and the British handed Germany a large portion of Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference in September 1938. Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia by March 1939, having already taken Austria in March of 1938. On September 1, 1939, German forces invaded Poland. On September 3, with Germany’s forces penetrating deeper into Poland, Great Britain and France both declared war on Germany. World War II had begun.
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
– John F. Kennedy