This day in history - September 27, 1938 and the famous "Gas Mask Speech" by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain regarding the crisis over Czechoslovakia.
September 27, 2011

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. The prospects seemed dismal.

On this particular September day in 1938 war was looking inevitable. With talks between France, Great Britain, Czechoslovakia and Germany at a standstill it looked like twenty years after the end of the last one, a new one was about to break out.

So Prime Minister Chamberlain went on the air to explain the situation as it stood ahead of a call for an emergency session of Parliament. His assessment of the situation was not hopeful.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain: “How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is, that we should be digging trenches and trying on gasmasks here because of a quarrel in a far away country, between people whom we know nothing.”

This was the famous "gasmasks" speech so often referred to in history books during the Crisis in Munich.

In case you've only read about it and haven't heard it, or only heard the "soundbite", here is the speech in its entirety as it was relayed to the U.S. on September 27, 1938.

Despite the upbeat music at the close of the broadcast, this was an ominous address and the implications were widely felt, even in United States where the Isolationist movement really picked up steam as a result.

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