The decade began with a disastrous Labour government, unable to deal with rising unemployment, industrial stagnation and social decay. Following Prime Minister MacDonald's resignation in 1931, a new, mostly Conservative, ‘National Government’ took its place. ‘The Thirties’ assesses the policies of this new government, in particular its apathy towards events in Europe. Although the government adhered to its policy of non-intervention through much of the decade, by 1938 the rearmament programme was visibly under way, and Chamberlain's promises of ‘peace in our time’ rang hollow. As the decade drew to a close, the nation regained its sense of unity and purpose amidst the challenge and turmoil of total war.