This is a great historical original photo of the English Prime Minister Chamberlain and Brittisch Ambassador in nazi-Germany Sir Neville Henderson, taken during the Conference of Godesberg.
One needs to place this picture in it’s historical context to understand it’s importance:
Everyone knows the Munich conference, but there is quite some interesting background to the story: In september 1938, England and France negotiated with Nazi Germany in a final attempt to prevent war. The final calls of these negotiations took place in the party headquarters of the nazis in the Brienner Straße in Munich.
The summer of 1938 was one of strongly rising tension. The dormant conflict between Germany, England and France about the annexation of the Sudetenland – a part of Czecho-Slovakia – seemed to degenerate into a new war. European powers England and France were not ready for war at all. That is why they tried to stop the expansionism of Germany at the negotiating table, by means of what would be known in history as ‘appeasement ‘: an approach with which was succumbed to some extent to the wishes of the opponent. The great animator of this approach was the English Prime Minister Chamberlain. He was supported by the British Ambassador in nazi Germany, sir Nevile Henderson.
England and France were convinced of the importance of the talks. To be sure of positive results, Henderson planned for two talks. Chamberlain and Hitler would meet each other during the talks for the first time. The first meeting took place in the residence of Hitler, the second call in Bad Godesberg (during which the hereby offered pressphoto was taken!).
On Thursday, september 15, the English premier flew for the first time to Germany. He traveled from Munich to Berchtesgaden, the residence of Hitler on the Obersalzberg. The American historian William Rock described the atmosphere between Chamberlain and Hitler as “proper but strained”. Hitler made on polite show one hard requirement clear: the instantaneous transfer of the Sudetenland to nazi Germany. Instant comment on this requirement on the spot went to far for Chamberlain. He wanted consultation with London first. Although visibly impatient, Hitler agreed. However, he proposed no further talks on the subject of ‘ peace ‘ in a broad sense, before the issue of Czecho-Slovakia was settled to his satisfaction.
Within a week after the first meeting Chamberlain was back in Germany. The second meeting took place in Bad Godesberg. Chamberlain wanted to come to agreements with Hitler about the ever-increasing problems of Czecho-Slovakia. On his arrival he had to deal with a totally different Hitler: one that demaned the immediate military occupation of Sudetenland by his troops. According to Hitler the command was already given that within days the Wehrmacht would invade the Sudetenland. There followed a period of 36 hours during which rock hard negotiations occured. The end of it was that the planned occupation by Hitler was temporary postponed and that Chamberlain returned to London to consult with his Cabinet at lightning speed.
During the third, most important, visit of Chamberlain with Germany – on 29 september 1938 in Munich – it had to happen. On the basis of a treaty was – as was the story – prevented that Europe would find itself again in a large-scale war.
The agreement that Hitler, Mussolini, the French premier Daladier and Chamberlain signed on 30 september 1938, resulted in the German annexation of the Sudetenland. Germany offered peace guarantees as ‘ compensation ‘. To ensure that both the agreements if all other conditions were fulfilled, an International Commission would be monitoring if Germany would act within compliance of the treaty.
The above story of the Munich Treaty is one of the most important historical events of the twentieth century. However, the Godesberg meeting is always overschadowed by the larger context of history. This does however show that the hereby offered photo is indeed of historical importance!
In very good condition.
The dimensions of the photo are 18 x 13 centimeter.
Atlantic Photo Verlag, Berlin.