O n 1 September 1939 Neville Chamberlain proposed to the Labour Party that they should join his Government. The executive o f the Parliamentary Labour Party refused. They would not serve under a man who Attlee claimed treated them like dirt, nor in a Cabinet dominated by the ‘guilty m en’ o f Munich. Chamberlain’s was not a serious offer, any more than was that made to the Liberals, for he saw no pressing need for a National Government. He was still convinced that Hitler was bluffing and that the war would remain limited and ‘phoney’. He argued that Hitler would not risk a fullscale war for fear o f British retaliation, thus showing an astonishing lack o f understanding o f the German leader and a totally misplaced confidence in the striking power o f the RAF. He rejected all proposals to create a controlled war economy, and only the poverty and the appalling state o f the nation’s health, revealed when children evacuated from the slums descended upon ‘respectable’ Britain, shattered this feeling o f complacency. Even then, self-help rather than Government action seemed to offer the best remedy. Chamber­ lain wrote: ‘I never knew that such conditions existed, and I feel ashamed o f having been so ignorant o f my neighbours. For the rest o f my life I mean to try to make amends by helping such people to live cleaner and healthier lives.’