forces led by Gen. Charles DeGaulle. He believed "that the refusal to recognize the status of liberated France as a Great Power would be as dangerous as the past refusal to recognize the Soviet Union... A strong France was universally needed on the European Continent."35
Beneš took the occasion of being in transit after quitting Moscow to detour to Algiers for a day on January 1st, 1944, and pay a call on General DeGaulle and his Free French Committee. These politicians, despite their meager resources, "put themselves out considerably... to give him an impressive welcome." On their part, they had much to gain in befriending Beneš; they were said to be "also playing strongly for a resumption of the close tie-up with the Czechoslovaks."36 Happily, the British Foreign Office was in full accord as to "the restoration of a strong France and of close ties between France and Czechoslovakia."37
The Free French, however, were still far off in North Africa, while the Red Army was steadily slogging its way westward and destined to approach Prague the soonest. Everyone, whether at home under the Nazi heel or keeping the vigil in London, took heart after the stunning defeat of the Germans at Stalingrad, believing that the Russian armies represented the best hope for liberation of Czechoslovakia.
Beneš left little to chance, or to the magnanimity of the hardfighting Red Army. He did his best in the treaty of alliance to ascertain that his people would not trade another army of occupation for the brutish one on the threshold of eviction. He obtained assurances in advance from the potential liberators that the Czechoslovak provinces would be administered by locally designated units. His clarion call for revolt was calculated to demonstrate graphically to the world Czechoslovakia's right to be treated as an Allied nation.