Benes, Eduard

1939 signed photo of the exiled Czechoslovak statesman, president 1935-38 & 1940-48

Price: $175.00

Description:
(1884-1948) Skilled diplomat, leader of the Czechoslovak independence movement, Minister of Foreign Affairs 1918-35, Prime Minister 1921-22, President 1935-38, 1940-45 (in exile), and 1945-48. After studies at Charles University in Prague, he studied at the Sorbonne and at the Independent School of Political and Social Studies in Paris. He received his Doctorate of Laws in 1908 at Dijon. He taught for 3 years at the Prague Academy of Commerce, and became a lecturer in sociology at Charles University. During WW I, Beneš organized a Czech pro-independence, anti-Austrian secret resistance movement. In 1915, in exile in Paris, he made intricate diplomatic efforts to gain recognition from France and the United Kingdom for the Czechoslovak independence movement. From 1916–18, he was a Secretary of the Czechoslovak National Council in Paris and Minister of the Interior and of Foreign Affairs within the Provisional Czechoslovak government. In May 1918, Beneš, Masaryk, and Štefánik organized a Czecho-Slovak army to fight for the Allies in France, recruited from among Czechs and Slovaks and the large emigrant populations in the US. From 1918–35, he was the 1st and longest serving Foreign Minister, and from 1920–25 & 1929–35, a member of Parliament, represented Czechoslovakia at the Versailles Conference. He was PM 1921–22 and from 1923–27, a member of the League of Nations Council. He was an influential figure at international conferences in Genoa in 1922, Locarno in 1925, The Hague in 1930, and Lausanne in 1932. A member of the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party (until 1925 called Czechoslovak Socialist Party) and a strong nationalist, he did not consider Slovaks and Czechs separate ethnicities. In 1935, Beneš succeeded Tomáš Masaryk as President. He opposed Nazi Germany's claim to the Sudetenland but in October 1938, the Munich Agreement allowed for immediate annexation and military occupation of the Sudetenland by Germany without Czechoslovak participation. Beneš was forced to resign 5 October 1938 under German pressure and on 22 October 1938, went into exile in London. In 1940 he organized the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile in London as President. In 1941 Beneš and František Moravec planned “Operation Anthropoid”, the assassination Reinhard Heydrich, implemented in 1942, and resulting in brutal German reprisals. Although not a Communist, Beneš was friendly with Stalin and in 1943 signed the entente between Czechoslovakia and the USSR. After the Prague uprising at the end of WW II, he reassumed his position as President, unanimously confirmed by the National Assembly on 28 October 1945. On 19 June 1946 Beneš was formally elected to a 2nd term as President, presiding over a coalition government, from 1947 headed by Communist Klement Gottwald as PM. On 25 February 1948, under pressure from Gottwald, he appointed a Communist-dominated government, in effect a coup d'état. The Communist-dominated National Assembly drafted a Constitution close enough to the Soviet Constitution that Beneš refused to sign it and he resigned as President 7 June 1948 and Gottwald succeeded him. In poor health since 1947, he died on 3 September. SP, 5 x 3 1/4 slightly sepia toned glossy portrait of Benes seated at his desk, likely in his London exile, boldly signed at top. Year 1939 printed at the sides of the photo. IMAGE NOTE: light areas at lower left are from reflected light off glossy surface.

Condition: Very good
Type:Photograph






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