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Did people agree with Churchill's stand on appeasement?

Source 4

A letter from Mr Lambert, one of Churchill’s constituents, late September 1938


CHAR 7/107/13 (image 18)

Simplified Transcript

Dear Sir

For goodness sake can’t we do something to stop this constant humiliation? We’re all relying on you to try to restore the honour of English people in the world. Please use all your strength and influence.

Yours faithfully
Sydney E Lambert

Original Transcript

Ackd [Acknowledged] 1-10-38 94 Dale Gardens
Woodford Green
The Right Hon.
Winston. S Churchill

Dear Sir

For goodness sake, cannot something be done to stop this persistant humiliation? We are all relying on you to place us English back among honourable peoples who stand by their pledges

For heavens sake use your strength and ability to save English Prestige & Honour, no one else it seems will

Yours faithfully
Sydney E Lambert

What is this source?

This is a letter from Mr Sidney Lambert, one of Churchill’s constituents, in September 1938.

Background to this source

Although the letter-writer didn’t put the date on his letter, Churchill’s secretary added a note at the top showing that Churchill sent an acknowledgement (a basic response) on 1 October 1938. So we can infer that this letter was sent to Churchill in late September, immediately after the Munich Conference in which British Prime Minister Chamberlain agreed to let Hitler take the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia in return for promising peace in Europe.

In the years 1935–38 the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had been pursuing aggressive policies such as building up German arms and demanding territories. In 1936 he marched troops into the Rhineland and there’d been no resistance. In 1938 he joined Austria to Germany. In September 1938 he was demanding the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia should become part of Germany. War looked very likely but British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to meet Hitler in Munich and effectively gave him what he wanted, assuming that this would satisfy Hitler and guarantee future peace.

How can we use this source in the investigation?

Remember, we are hoping that this source can be useful to us in investigating how far people agreed with Churchill’s views on appeasement in the 1930s. Sources usually help historians in two ways:

Surface level

  1. What is concerning the writer of the letter?
  2. What does the writer want Churchill to do?
  3. What does the writer think Churchill stands for?

Deeper level

Which of the inferences below can be made from this source?

On a scale of 1-5 how far do you agree that this source supports this inference? Which extract(s) from the source support your argument?
There’s widespread support for appeasement.

The Munich Agreement is popular.

The writer is an admirer of Churchill.

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Need help interpreting the source?

  • On its own, this source is one isolated example of an opinion expressed at the time. To assess how far it is representative of public opinion at the time it needs to be used alongside other sources. Historians would use hundreds of such letters to make a judgement but comparing this to the other sources in this investigation would be a good start in working like a historian.

Explore the guide to interpreting letters

Source 5

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