Many people have compared Cornelius Fudge to Neville Chamberlain, former Prime Minister of the U.K. Some have even claimed that Fudge is a clear allegory of Chamberlain. But is this comparison deserved?
I’m sure anyone familiar with the ‘Harry Potter’ series remembers Fudge— the foolish Minster for Magic, who nearly destroyed the Wizarding World by denying the return of Lord Voldemort.
Many regard Neville Chamberlain in the same light. He denied the threat Hitler posed, and foolishly thought he could maintain peace. Little else is remembered of him.
Neville Chamberlain was born in the late nineteenth century, to a well-off family. His father was Justin Chamberlain, who would later become mayor of Birmingham.
Neville had several sisters, but only one brother, Austen, who was three years older than him. Both went to the same school; it is unclear whether or not they were close.
Whether or not Fudge had any siblings is known only by J.K. Rowling.
At the age of 68, Chamberlain became Prime Minister. It was clear from the start that he had little interest in foreign policy; domestic policy was what fascinated him. He worked on regulating the hours of labour that factories were allowed to have, and making child labour safer.
Unlike Fudge, who was known as a bumbler, Chamberlain appeared quite competent.
While Fudge awarded himself an Order of Merlin, Chamberlain did nothing of the kind. It was Chamberlain’s brother who won the Noble Peace Prize.
During the 1930s, Austen Chamberlain joined Winston Churchill in calling for rearmament. It is unknown how Neville Chamberlain felt about this.
Austen died in 1937. Whether or not Neville was close to his brother, it is hard to imagine this not impacting him.
In March, 1938, Austria, under the threat of invasion, was annexed by Germany. Austria pleaded with Britain for help.
Britain’s response was certainly something Fudge himself would have been proud off. They sent a note of protest to Berlin. Those Nazis must have been terrified by Britain’s efforts—if they bothered to notice, that is.
Czechoslovakia was next on the target list. Germany announced that they were going to invade on September 25. If only Voldemort had been so blunt!
Chamberlain sprang into action. He flew to Germany, to negotiate with Hitler. The result? The Munich Agreement.
Signed by Britain, France, Germany and Italy, it basically threw Czechoslovakia to the wolves. Germany was given permission to invade. Britain and France, allies of Czechoslovakia, promised not to interfere.
The only country to offer Czechoslovakia help was the Soviet Union.
It’s hard to say for sure what Chamberlain’s motives were for signing. Was he truly trying to protect Britain? Or, like Fudge, was he only interested in his own career?
Chamberlain returned to Britain, and declared he hoped the Munich Agreement would achieve ‘peace for our time’.
Fudge knew how dangerous Voldemort was. But did Chamberlain know how dangerous Hitler was? Surely, after invading two separate countries it would have been clear?
In September, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, and Britain finally declared war.
Voldemort’s appearance in the Ministry spelled doom for Fudge. Within weeks he was forced to resign. Chamberlain lasted longer, leading Britain for eight more months after the declaration of war.
But, like Fudge, negative opinion lead him to resign
So was Chamberlain the original Fudge? If war hadn’t broken out, competent Chamberlain would have been remembered, at the very least as a decent Prime Minister. But war, as it so often does, brought out the darkness within him.
I believe Fudge was based of the actions Chamberlain took to prevent war. Fudge was motivated by selfish ambition. Chamberlain, on the other hand, seems to have been motivated by a fear of the horrors of war.
In personality, Chamberlain and Fudge are quite far apart.
What do you think?