Skip to content
Marjorie Taylor Greene Is No Neville Chamberlain
Go to my account

Marjorie Taylor Greene Is No Neville Chamberlain

Stop with the needless insults.

Left: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at Heston Aerodrome, United Kingdom, after meeting with Adolf Hitler on September 15, 1938. Right: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene with reporters on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on April 18, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Photos by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images and by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Irritated by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s tireless dedication to serving Moscow’s interests, Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz offered an amendment to the Ukraine aid bill that would have renamed her office the “Neville Chamberlain Room.” It was an ugly, stupid, juvenile insult. 

Say what you will about Marjorie Taylor Greene, she is no Neville Chamberlain.

Neville Chamberlain was an honorable and decent man, a patriot and a statesman who led the United Kingdom during the first months of World War II before serving honorably in Winston Churchill’s war cabinet for the few months he had left to live before dying of cancer. He retired, as it were, at the end of September 1940, and he was dead by November 9, having labored through the excruciating pain of intestinal cancer as the Blitz raged overhead. When Churchill, acting on behalf of the king, offered the dying Chamberlain the Order of the Garter, Chamberlain declined. “I prefer to die plain ‘Mr. Chamberlain,’ like my father before me, unadorned by any title,” he said.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is no Neville Chamberlain. 

Chamberlain came late to national politics. He was about to turn 50 when he was elected to the House of Commons. (No British prime minister ever has been first elected to Parliament later in life.) He had failed at one business and prospered at another, and much of his political career had been spent in unglamorous municipal government, first as a city councilman and planning commissioner and then as mayor of Birmingham during the austerity of the Great War. He cut spending, reduced the scope of his own office, and cut his own expense account by half as a seemly wartime measure. His performance in office was enough to get him appointed director of national service. In the position, he oversaw Britain’s military conscription while securing an adequate workforce for war-production industries. He disagreed with the prime minister, David Lloyd George, and resigned from the prestigious and influential post. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene is no Neville Chamberlain. 

After the war, Chamberlain decided to run for the House of Commons and won a seat with a 70 percent majority. He was a legislative workhorse but declined a ministerial appointment under Lloyd George. He worked his way up to the position of chancellor of the exchequer—secretary of the treasury, approximately—and narrowly turned back an electoral challenge from Labour candidate Oswald Mosley, the future leader of British fascism. By the early 1930s, Chamberlain had helped to lead the United Kingdom from a position of debt-ridden near-ruination to a budget surplus. He quipped that the country had turned the last page of Bleak House and opened the first chapter of Great Expectations.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is no Neville Chamberlain. 

As prime minister, Chamberlain miscalculated in what turned out to be the most consequential decision of his political career. He believed, wrongly, that he could buy off Adolf Hitler and thereby avoid an unprofitable war with a continental tyrant. Avoiding unprofitable wars with continental tyrants has historically been a considerable part of British foreign policy, and it has often been the right policy. It wasn’t the right policy vis-à-vis Nazi Germany. It fell to Chamberlain to admit his error and to announce the declaration of war. He forthrightly addressed his fellow countrymen on the radio:

This country is at war with Germany. You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed. … We and France are today, in fulfillment of our obligations, going to the aid of Poland, who is so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack upon her people. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace. … Now may God bless you all and may He defend the right. For it is evil things that we shall be fighting against, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution. And against them I am certain that the right will prevail.

Honor even in disappointment. Standing by his pledge to help an occupied people resist a “wicked and unprovoked attack” from a tyrant. Telling the truth about it. 

No, Marjorie Taylor Greene is no Neville Chamberlain. 

What was Winston Churchill’s judgment? He eulogized his former rival in Parliament: 

It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man. But what were these hopes in which he was disappointed? What were these wishes in which he was frustrated? What was that faith that was abused? They were surely among the most noble and benevolent instincts of the human heart—the love of peace, the toil for peace, the strife for peace, the pursuit of peace, even at great peril, and certainly to the utter disdain of popularity or clamour.

Neville Chamberlain made the wrong decision at the most important juncture of his public life. But he was an authentic statesman who put service over self, even at the cost of his reputation, personal fortune, and health. For most of the world—and particularly for Americans, who care so little for history—all that remains of Neville Chamberlain is his worst mistake. But he did what he thought was right, received very little thanks for it in the end, and never stopped working for his country until the last few weeks of his life, when he was physically unable to continue. He died, as he wished, plain Mr. Chamberlain.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is no Neville Chamberlain. Not on her best day.

Kevin D. Williamson is national correspondent at The Dispatch and is based in Virginia. Prior to joining the company in 2022, he spent 15 years as a writer and editor at National Review, worked as the theater critic at the New Criterion, and had a long career in local newspapers. He is also a writer in residence at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. When Kevin is not reporting on the world outside Washington for his Wanderland newsletter, you can find him at the rifle range or reading a book about literally almost anything other than politics.