Dr. Edvard Benes the last president of the First Czechoslovak Republic decided to went on exile just after the Munich agreement ( IX 1938) hoping to act for the restoration of Czechoslovakia. Still some room for his political activity was opened after , the Germans entranced Prague on March 15th 1939, thus crushing the Munich agreement. From the very beginning he aimed to create a kind of Czechoslovak Government in exile and if possible to reconstruct the entire political structure of the Czechoslovak state temporary abroad, claiming that the First Czechoslovak Republic according to it's constitution and it's law had never ceased to exist. However, Stefan Osuský and Milan Hodza - both Slovak politicians supported by the French government - were developing a strong opposition against Benes leadership. Due to that opposition combined with the unfavourable attitude of the British and the French authorities Benes failed in his attempt to create the Czechoslovak government in exile just after the outbreak of the war in September 1939. Still Czechoslovak exiles managed to obtain the recognition of the Czechoslovak National Committee by two allied governments. Benes had to wait till July 1940 when the military catastrophe of France destroyed the political position of his opponents. Still even then, although the British announced the recognition of the so called Czechoslovak Provisional Government, they refused to admit the uninterrupted existence of the Czechoslovak state. Whole next year Benes took up the attempts to eliminate the adjective Provisional and obtain the full recognition for the Czechoslovak Government. It was the German attack on the USSR on June 1941 and the Soviet support for the Czechoslovak demands that eventually made British Government to grant on July 1941 full recognition for the Czechoslovak Government and Benes as the President of the Czechoslovak Republic in exile. Still all the reservation that were made in July 1940 were sustained in July 1941. Even after long diplomatic negotiations which finally ended in August 1942 when British Government proclaimed to be not influenced in his further policy by Munich agreement any more, it still refused to guarantee any Czechoslovak frontiers and to recognise the uninterrupted existence of the First Czechoslovak Republic.
R. Zulawski vel Grajewski, Uniwersytet Lódzki, Instytut Historii, ul. A. Kaminskiego 27a, 90-219 Lódz, Poland
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