‘What did Neville Chamberlain do?’

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On Thursday’s Hardball, Chris Matthews had a discussion about President Bush all but accusing Sen. Barack Obama of appeasement for wanting to talk to enemies of the United States. Conservative radio talk show host Kevin James and Chris Matthews then had a disagreement about what constituted appeasement. Chris Matthews had the following to say on Friday:

“Look, I’m a student of history, especially of the late 1930s when the world didn’t stand up to Hitler and my hero Winston Churchill saw all the hell coming and couldn’t stop it. The catastrophe of the 1930s was thinking that Hitler would be satisfied with the gift of bite-sized countries. The evidence suggests he wanted war to avenge World War I and to dominate Europe.  He also had his heart set on extermination of the Jewish people.  The horror of appeasement was not in talking to him and letting him yammer. It was giving him countries - like Czechoslavakia in 1938. 

Anyway, perhaps it’s little surprise that our Big Number tonight is the number of times my guest - demanding we not repeat the appeasement of the 1930s - failed to tell me what that appeasement actually was. ‘What did Neville Chamberlain do?’ I kept asking to no avail. The number? 24! 24 times I tried to get an answer out of our guest!

Anyway, we do like Kevin James and hope he’ll be back on Hardball again.”

'What did Neville Chamberlain do?'

Updated