43 Facts About Austen Chamberlain


Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain was a British statesman, son of Joseph Chamberlain and older half-brother of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

FactSnippet No. 947,477

Austen Chamberlain served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and was briefly Conservative Party leader before serving as Foreign Secretary.

FactSnippet No. 947,478

Austen Chamberlain again returned to office in David Lloyd George's coalition government, serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

FactSnippet No. 947,479

Austen Chamberlain then served as Conservative Party leader in the Commons, before resigning after the Carlton Club meeting voted to end the Lloyd George Coalition.

FactSnippet No. 947,480

Austen Chamberlain last held office as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1931.

FactSnippet No. 947,481

Austen Chamberlain was one of the few MPs supporting Winston Churchill's appeals for rearmament against the German threat in the 1930s, and remained an active backbench MP until his death in 1937.

FactSnippet No. 947,482

Harriet died giving birth to Austen Chamberlain, leaving his father so shaken that for almost 25 years he maintained a distance from his first-born son.

FactSnippet No. 947,483

Austen Chamberlain was dominated by his elder sister and was therefore sent away to be educated first at Rugby School "to release him from her thrall", before passing on to Trinity College, Cambridge.

FactSnippet No. 947,484

Austen Chamberlain made his first political address in 1884 at a meeting of the university's Political Society and was vice-president of the Cambridge Union.

FactSnippet No. 947,485

From Paris, Austen Chamberlain was sent to Berlin for twelve months, to imbibe the political culture of the other great European power, Germany.

FactSnippet No. 947,486

Austen Chamberlain returned to England in 1888, lured largely by the prize of a parliamentary constituency.

FactSnippet No. 947,487

Austen Chamberlain was first elected to parliament as a member of his father's own Liberal Unionist Party in 1892, sitting for the seat of East Worcestershire.

FactSnippet No. 947,488

Lord Salisbury retired as Prime Minister in July 1902, and the following month Chamberlain was promoted to the position of Postmaster General by the new premier, the Conservative Arthur J Balfour, who designated this a cabinet position, and appointed him to the Privy Council.

FactSnippet No. 947,489

Austen Chamberlain was one of the leading candidates to succeed as Conservative leader even though he was still technically a member of the Liberal Unionist wing of the coalition .

FactSnippet No. 947,490

Austen Chamberlain was opposed by Canadian-born Bonar Law, Walter Long and Irish Unionist Edward Carson.

FactSnippet No. 947,491

Austen Chamberlain succeeded in persuading Long to withdraw with him in favour of Law, who was chosen by unanimous vote as a compromise candidate.

FactSnippet No. 947,492

Austen Chamberlain was resolutely opposed to the dissolution of the Union with Ireland.

FactSnippet No. 947,493

Pressure from the Conservative opposition, in part led by Austen Chamberlain, eventually resulted in the formation of the wartime coalition government, in 1915.

FactSnippet No. 947,494

Austen Chamberlain joined the cabinet as Secretary of State for India.

FactSnippet No. 947,495

Austen Chamberlain was succeeded at the Exchequer by Sir Robert Horne; it seemed that after ten years of waiting, Austen would again be given the opportunity of succeeding to the premiership.

FactSnippet No. 947,496

Austen Chamberlain had previously had little regard for Lloyd George, but the opportunity of working closely with the "Welsh Wizard" gave Chamberlain a new insight into his nominal superior in the government .

FactSnippet No. 947,497

Austen Chamberlain resigned the party leadership rather than act against what he believed to be his duty.

FactSnippet No. 947,498

Austen Chamberlain was succeeded by Law, whose views and intentions he had predicted the evening before the vote at a private meeting.

FactSnippet No. 947,499

Law formed a government shortly thereafter, but Austen Chamberlain was not given a post, but it seems that he would not have accepted a position even if he had been offered one.

FactSnippet No. 947,500

Until William Hague, Austen Chamberlain had been the only Conservative overall leader in the history of the party not to become Prime Minister.

FactSnippet No. 947,501

However, Austen Chamberlain returned to government when Baldwin formed his second ministry following success in the election of October 1924, serving in the important office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1924 to 1929.

FactSnippet No. 947,502

Austen Chamberlain was largely allowed a free hand by the easy-going Baldwin.

FactSnippet No. 947,503

Austen Chamberlain's understanding was that if Franco-German relations improved, France would gradually abandon the Cordon sanitaire, the French alliance system in Eastern Europe between the wars.

FactSnippet No. 947,504

Austen Chamberlain believed that they would peacefully hand over the territories claimed by Germany such as the Sudetenland, the Polish Corridor and the Free City of Danzig.

FactSnippet No. 947,505

Austen Chamberlain was the first ordinary Knight of the Garter since Elizabethan times to die without having been made a peer.

FactSnippet No. 947,506

Austen Chamberlain secured Britain's accession to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which theoretically outlawed war as an instrument of policy.

FactSnippet No. 947,507

Austen Chamberlain infamously said that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was "a man with whom business could be done".

FactSnippet No. 947,508

Austen Chamberlain briefly returned to government in 1931 as First Lord of the Admiralty in Ramsay MacDonald's first National Government, but soon retired later that year after having been forced to deal with the unfortunate Invergordon Mutiny.

FactSnippet No. 947,509

Austen Chamberlain was again briefly considered in 1935 for the post of Foreign Secretary but was passed over once the crisis was over for being too old for the job.

FactSnippet No. 947,510

From 1934 to 1937, Austen Chamberlain was, with Winston Churchill, Roger Keyes and Leo Amery, the most prominent voice calling for British rearmament in the face of a growing threat from Nazi Germany.

FactSnippet No. 947,511

Austen Chamberlain died at the age of 73 in his London home, 24 Egerton Terrace, on 16 March 1937.

FactSnippet No. 947,512

Austen Chamberlain was altogether kinder than his father, more likeable, more honourable, more high-minded and less effective.

FactSnippet No. 947,513

David Dutton comments that early assessments of Austen Chamberlain's career compared him unfavourably with his father, who overshadowed his early career, and his brother, who overshadowed his later decades.

FactSnippet No. 947,514

Dutton quotes with approval Leo Amery's verdict written just after Austen Chamberlain's death: 'He just missed greatness and the highest position, but his was a fine life of honourable public service'.

FactSnippet No. 947,515

Austen Chamberlain could speak effectively, but was never a stirring orator.

FactSnippet No. 947,516

In 1906, Austen Chamberlain married Ivy Muriel Dundas, daughter of Colonel Henry Dundas.

FactSnippet No. 947,517

Austen Chamberlain's was created a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1925.

FactSnippet No. 947,518

Collection of archival material related to Austen Chamberlain can be found at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham.

FactSnippet No. 947,519