Thursday, 11 May 2017

It happened yesterday ... in 1940!

A chance comment by one of my regular blog readers – Geordie an Exiled FoG – made me realise that I missed a very important anniversary yesterday ... the German invasion of France and the Low Countries!

It had a traumatic effect on the political leadership of the UK, and by just after 6.00pm Neville Chamberlain had been to Buckingham Palace and resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. King George VI then asked Winston Churchill to form a new government, a task that Churchill willingly accepted. (It is perhaps worth noting that Neville Chamberlain was already unwell at the time of his resignation as Prime Minister, and that he died of bowel cancer on 9th November 1940, aged 71.)

The Dutch and Belgians had far more important things to occupy them. In the Netherlands fighting was taking place in and around The Hague, Rotterdam, Zeeland, and Maastricht, whilst in Belgium a select group of German airborne troops had landed on Fort Eben-Emael and were in the process of capturing it. By the evening of 10th May 1940, most of Luxembourg – with the exception of the south – had been occupied by German forces and the Grand Duchess Charlotte and her government had fled abroad.

The so-called Phoney War was over!


  1. Hadn't really realised that Chamberlain's resignation was linked to these invasions so directly.

    1. Legatus Hedlius,

      I think that Chamberlain realised that his credibility within parliament and in the country had gone completely, and went before there could be a vote of 'No Confidence'.

      Fundamentally he was a man of good intentions who was seriously out of his depth in the changing world of the late 1930s.

      All the best,