Biography of Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain (1863-1937)

British politician born on October 16, 1863 in Birmingham and died in London on March 17, 1937.

He was son of Joseph Chamberlain, the Builder of the Empire and half-brother of Arthur Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister between 1937 and 1940. He/She studied at the University of Cambridge, at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris, for nine months, and in Berlin, for a year. In 1887, on his return to Birmingham, he/she became Secretary of his father. Since his youth, therefore, was prepared by his father to play an important role in the British Government, thus, he/she made rapid progress in his political career, in the bosom of the Liberal Unionist Party, thanks to the influence of his father and in 1906 succeeded this, who had to withdraw from political life by an attack of apoplexy. However, the personality of the son had then the same weight as that of the father, so Bonarlaw was preferred to direct the unionist coalition.

His political career began in 1876 when he/she was elected as a Deputy. Subsequently, under the second Presidency of Gladstone, he/she held the Ministry of trade until 1885, date in which Gladstone had to resign over the political scandal which occurred as a result of the murder of C. g. Gordon, in Khartoum, Sudan. In 1892, Austen Chamberlain, only 29 years old, entered the House of Commons as a representative of the electoral district of East Worcestershire. For forty-five years, Chamberlain stayed in the House of Commons. This long period has been divided into two stages, a first between 1892 and 1922, date at which Lloyd George had to resign as Prime Minister; and a second period between 1922 and his death in 1937. The first period was marked by internal affairs, while in the second he/she developed an active international policy.

Between 1895 and 1900 he/she served as civil lord of the Admiralty, since left to be appointed Secretary of the Treasury and general director of post. In 1902, he/she left his post at the head of the Treasury and the following year did the same in emails, to deal with the Ministry of finance, in which he/she remained until 1906. During the coalition Government formed in 1915 by Herbert Asquith , Chamberlain served as Secretary of State for the India post he/she resigned in 1917. In 1918 he/she joined the Cabinet of war, and then returned to the Ministry of finance between 1919-1921, during the coalition Government formed by Lloyd George. Chamberlain had a prominent role at the head of the Ministry of finance, managed to deal with the payment of the huge debt contracted by the United Kingdom on the occasion of the great war, maintained the commercial stability and strengthened credit, all of this through resume the protectionist policy of his father and establish a strong fiscal policy, which provoked angry criticism from the opposition. He/She also received harsh criticism for his performance in Ireland and his fierce opposition to labour.

Between 1921 and 1922 he/she was leader of the House of Commons. Between 1924 and 1929, during the Government of Stanley Baldwin, took over the portfolio of the Foreign Office (Ministry of the Government of the colonies), which deployed a great activity. His first important act in front of the Foreign Office caused a major upheaval in international diplomatic circles. In 1925, on behalf of his Government, Chamberlain rejected the Geneva Protocol by disagreements regarding their application and to the role that should play the League of Nations in international conflicts. That same year, Chamberlain scored one of his most prominent diplomatic successes with the signing, on December 1, the Locarno treaties, whereby he/she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize from 1925.Cuando Chamberlain returned to London, following the signing of the Locarno agreements, was hailed as a hero and was appointed Knight of the guard. On December 10, 1926 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, shared with C.G. Dawes; the ceremony of 1926 was special, since it surrendered the awards of 1925, cited Chamberlain and Dawes, and 1926 that were granted to Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann, the other signatories of the treaties of Locarno. In 1928 he/she passed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which sought to avoid a new war to asolase Europe after the tragedy of the first world war. In his last year at the head of the Foreign Office (1929), Chamberlain had to face a number of problems in China and India. He/She wrote a draft Treaty to regulate the anglo-egipcias relationships that formed the basis for subsequent agreements of the mid 1930's.

In 1931, when he/she occupied the post of first lord of the Admiralty, he/she decided to leave politics and retire, in part by his desire to make way for the new generation of parliamentarians. Despite his retirement, he/she continued to be member of the House of Commons, where even he/she made brilliant interventions. Chamberlain was among the first to warn of the potential danger of the rise to power of Hitler and defended the imposition of sanctions on Italy when Mussolini invaded Abyssinia.

On March 17, 1937 Austen Chamberlain died of a stroke, the same disease that had died his father a month before the start of the first world war.

Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain was a fervent advocate of the League of Nations as the best way to keep the peace in Europe and to avoid the sad events of the first world war relapse.

He wrote Peace in Our Time; Down the Years; and Politics from Inside.

JACJ