Memoirs of Dr. Eduard Benes: From Munich to New War and New Victory

Memoirs of Dr. Eduard Benes: From Munich to New War and New Victory

Memoirs of Dr. Eduard Benes: From Munich to New War and New Victory

Memoirs of Dr. Eduard Benes: From Munich to New War and New Victory

Excerpt

The present volume is the first of three which the late President Dr. Eduard Beneš intended to write as a continuation of his earlier Memoirs published between the two world wars. He felt it to be his duty to give the people of Czechoslovakia an account of his stewardship of their affairs while he was in exile from the time of the disaster of Munich -- their twentieth century Battle of the White Mountain for which many of them held him to be responsible -- down to his return to Prague at the end of the second World War and the triumphant re-establishment of Czechoslovakia within its original boundaries. The series was to have been at once a justification of his own handling of the affairs of the Czechoslovak State during this critical period and a review of the work of his colleagues and opponents so that their countrymen could see where praise and punishment were due and could also set a clear course for their Fatherland towards a prosperous and secure future.

Only one of the three volumes was completed. While Dr. Beneš was compiling the second, battling with increasing physical disabilities as he did so, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia staged its long-projected and well-planned coup d'état of February 25th, 1948. The strains and stresses of this grievous blow, comparable to those he had undergone at Munich, completed the undermining of his health. He left the Presidential Castle, the Hradčany, on February 29th never to return. On June 7th, 1948, he resigned and on September 3rd, 1948, he passed away at his country home at Sezimovo Ústí. Though Volume Two was never finished a comprehensive draft of it is in existence setting forth in full detail Dr. Beneš's account of the Munich crisis. As for Volume Three it is only known that Dr. Beneš planned to include in it the inner history of the final phase of the war from the time when the Provisional Government of Czechoslovakia left London for Moscow and later established itself at Košice in East Slovakia behind the lines of the Soviet armies which were slowly forcing the retreating Germans westwards out of Czechoslovakia and towards their final débacle.

The first part of the Memoirs starts with a recapitulation of the events which led to Munich, skips Munich itself and goes on to deal with the period between Munich and the moment when the Provisional Czechoslovak Government was about to leave London for Košice. Chronologically speaking, most of the volume should follow, instead of preceding, the account of Munich. But from the political standpoint, it was obviously . . .

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