Eduard Benes

Beneš, Eduard

Eduard Beneš (ĕ´dŏŏärt bĕ´nĕsh), 1884–1948, Czechoslovakian president (1935–38, 1946–48). As a student at Prague Univ. he adopted the political and social philosophy of T. G. Masaryk. Later he studied in France, taught sociology and economics at Prague, and joined (1915) Masaryk in exile in Paris to work for Czechoslovak independence. After the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy at the end of World War I, he represented Czechoslovakia at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. As foreign minister (1918–35), premier (1921–22), leader of the Czech National Socialist party (a liberal and nationalist party, unlike its German counterpart), and right-hand man of Masaryk, Beneš influenced both national and European politics. The Little Entente and the Czech alliance with France were essentially his work. He became (1935) president of Czechoslovakia at Masaryk's retirement but resigned (1938) after the dismemberment of his country by the Munich Pact and went into exile. After the outbreak of World War II he resumed (1940) the title president and headed, in London, a provisional government at war with Germany. Returning to Prague in 1945, he was confirmed in office and was reelected (1946) president. After the Communist coup of Feb., 1948, he reluctantly endorsed the new regime, but resigned in June on the ground of illness, refusing to sign the new constitution. He died shortly afterward.

See his two volumes of war memoirs (tr. 1928, repr. 1971 and tr. 1954, repr. 1972). See also K. Kaplan, The Short March: The Communist Take-over of Power in Czechoslovakia (1987).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Eduard Benes: Selected full-text books and articles

Democracy Today and Tomorrow By Edvard Benees The Macmillan Company, 1939
FREE! Eminent Europeans: Studies in Continental Reality By Eugene S. Bagger Putnam, 1922
Librarian’s tip: "Edward Benes" begins on p. 237
Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe: From the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism By Richard Frucht Garland, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Benes, Edvard (1884-1948)" begins on p. 62
Anatomy of a Satellite By Dana Adams Schmidt Little, Brown and Company, 1952
Librarian’s tip: "Benes Goes Home via Moscow" begins on p. 77 and "Aftermath -- The Death of Jan Masaryk and of Eduard Benes" begins on p. 122
Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War By John O. Crane; Sylvia E. Crane Praeger, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion Eduard Benes in multiple chapters
Twentieth-Century Czechoslovakia: The Meanings of Its History By Josef Korbel Columbia University Press, 1977
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Eduard Benes begins on p. 122
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