Neville Chamberlain resigned from office, 10 May 1940

Posted in: World War II
Written on 10th May 2013 11:48am

Following the failed campaign to capture Norway by Allied forces and growing pressure from the opposition, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned from office on 10 May 1940. Winston Churchill then became Prime Minister.

In early 1940, the Allies launched a naval campaign to seize nothern Norway. However, the campaign was unsuccessful and on 26 April, the War Cabinet ordered a withdrawal.


On 7 May, the "Norway debate" opened, and last for two days. Calls from the opposition, The Labour were for Chamberlain to leave office, or atleast reconstruct  his government.


He met with Clement Attlee, leader of the Labour Party, on 9 May. Chamberlain wanted Labour to join his government and attempted to persuade Attlee to do so.


Attlee, however, was unwilling. But he did agree that the Labour Party would form a coalition government with the Conservatives under a different Prime Minister.


Chamberlain decided to resign from office the following day. Chamberlain went to Buckingham Palace to resign and advised the King to send for the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.


In a resignation broadcast, Chamberlain told the nation,


    "For the hour has now come when we are to be put to the test, as the innocent people of Holland, Belgium, and France are being tested already. And you, and I, must rally behind our new leader, and with our united strength, and with unshakable courage fight and work until this wild beast, which has sprung out of his lair upon us, has been finally disarmed and overthrown."

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