The catch phrase "Our answer to Chamberlain" is a little less than a hundred years old. This is an amazing example of how vivid expressions from significant areas of life invade everyday language and become idiomatic. Since Our Answer to Chamberlain was recently invented, it is possible to trace the entire history of this amazing phenomenon, which has now become philological.
It all began in 1927, when British Foreign Secretary Joseph Austin Chamberlain sent a note to the Soviet government demanding that it stop supporting the revolutionary movement in China and not spread anti-British propaganda there. This event was widely reported in the newspapers. Particularly important were the publications in the Pravda newspaper, which set the tone for the mass media throughout the country. The first article was titled "Our Response to the British Note" and was published on February 27, 1927. On March 2, Pravda publishes another article devoted to the same problem, and it already bears the proud title “Accept Cantona! Here is our answer to Chamberlain!"
The phrase quickly became a catch phrase, but at first it was used when it came to the confrontation between the USSR and the rest of the "bourgeois" world. On June 9 of the same year, the Osoavaihim organization organized a collection of national funds for the construction of the air fleet and the defense of the country, the money went to a special fund, which was called: "Our response to Chamberlain." Later, she received the same name from the flight squadrons. In general, in those years it was popular to emphasize in every possible way how hostile the rest of the world was to the Soviet country. For example, another flight squadron bore the proud name "Ultimatum", in honor of the Soviet response to the ultimatum that the British Lord Curzon put to the country. But Our Answer to Chamberlain was the undisputed leader. Loud words, they fit almost any "good for the affairs of socialism" business, such a name was proudly bore the tank divisions, clubs and organizations.
Later it turned out that the support of the Kuomintang movement, which Chamberlain opposed, was not the most correct decision, since the Kuomintang pursued its own goals, which were unprofitable for the USSR. Nevertheless, in the 30s the phrase "Our response to Chamberlain" became a real national treasure. Lord Chamberlain, caricatured as an arrogant bourgeois in a tuxedo and with a monocle, looked contemptuously at the Soviet workers, and, as the people believed, he treated the British proletarians in exactly the same way. The mythical image of Chamberlain was depicted on posters, matchboxes, leaflets, and in newspapers. The minister himself in these images now and then dodged the proletarians, kulaks, figs, tanks and planes.
Joseph Austin Chamberlain hardly knew how popular he became in the Soviet Union. The former minister died in 1937. In Russia, few people remember the names of his colleagues and predecessors, but everyone knows Chamberlain, even without knowing who he is. "Our answer to Chamberlain" - this phrase, undoubtedly, became the property of the idiomatic stock of the Russian language. Today it is used when they want to describe a decisive rebuff, moreover, the context can be both serious and ironic.