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EDVARD BENEŠ2018-06-23T21:23:03+00:00

EDVARD BENEŠ

The second Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš was born on 17 May 1884 in a small town Kožlany in Bohemia.

He studied at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Charles University in Prague, where he met T.G. Masaryk., later he moved to study at the Sorbonne University in Paris and at the Independent School of Political and Social Studies. In 1908 he reached a Doctorate in Law from the University of Dijon.

After the outbreak of the 1st World War he begun to work closely with T.G. Masaryk on the new position of the Czechoslovak nation in Europe and the vision of a new democratic policies of European states in the framework of the League of Nations. He organised the independence movement Maffia. During the 1st World War Beneš lived in exile and he worked on recognition of Czechoslovak independence movement in France and in the United Kingdom.

After the war and after the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, he became the first foreign minister of Czechoslovakia. On 18 December 1935, after the abdication of the first Czechoslovak president T.G. Masaryk, Beneš was elected the second president of Czechoslovakia.

He opposed Nazi Germany’s claim to the German-speaking Sudetenland in 1938. In October 1938 Italy, France and Great Britain signed the Munich Agreement, which allowed for the immediate annexation and military occupation of the Sudetenland by Germany. Czechoslovakia was not consulted on this agreement. Beneš only agreed after France and the United Kingdom let it be known that, if he did not do so, they would disinterest themselves in the fate of Czechoslovakia (their military alliance with Czechoslovakia notwithstanding).

Beneš was forced to resign on 5 October 1938 under German pressure. Emil Hácha was chosen as President.

During the Nazi occupation and after the outbreak of the Second World War he went to exile to England where he created a government in exile, with Jan Šrámek as a Prime Minister and himself as President. In England Beneš was working diligently on re-recognition and restoring of independent Czechoslovakia.

He returned to Prague as president after the war on 16 May 1945. In a very difficult post-war situation in 1948 he received the resignation of ministers and appointed a new government of the National Front. After the Communist coup d´état, he refused to sign the communist Constitution for its undemocratic character and on 7 June 1948 he resigned from the presidency.

He died of natural causes on 3 September 1948 in Sezimovo Usti at the age of 64.