EDVARD BENES AND THE POLISH QUESTION WITH THE CONTEXT OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK-SOVIET CONVENTION OF 1943
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Due to its importance and consequences the Czechoslovak–Soviet convention transcended the rank of a bilateral agreement. The act of its signing and the steps taken by the Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes exerted an adverse impact on the situation of the Polish government-in-exile from the viewpoint of Polish-Soviet relations. The article focuses on the reaction of Polish government circles to E. Benes' activity on the international arena on the eve of his journey to Moscow, and assesses the Czechoslovak-Soviet convention prior to and after its signature from the perspective of Polish interests. The decisions made by the Czechoslovak President during this period demonstrate that he was not a convenient partner for Poland. E. Benes treated the question of a confederation with Poland as a mere political manoeuvre during a period which he regarded as unfavourable, and intended to adapt the provisional Czechoslovak government-in-exile to the line represented by plans for supranational unions. He also depicted J. V. Stalin as a trustworthy partner, a likeness at odds with reality. At the time of the talks held with Soviet dignitaries in Moscow (December 1943) Benes acted to the detriment of the Polish government, and readily joined Stalin's game involving 'good' and 'bad' Poles; such conduct produced the impression that he acted as a Soviet Intelligence agent. In his appraisal of the political decisions made by Stalin, the latter's steps towards Central-Eastern Europe, and the actual nature of the Soviet regime, Benes, similarly to other representatives of the Czechoslovak authorities abroad, demonstrated considerable naivete. The President of Czechoslovakia was wrong in his evaluation of the policy pursed by the Soviet Union, as he was to find out already in 1944 while observing the Kremlin policy towards the Subcarpathian Rus' region, a clear violation of the agreements of the Czechoslovak-Soviet convention of December 1943. The loss of this territory became the reason why E. Benes was unable to achieve the prime purpose of Czechoslovak foreign policy - the revival of Czechoslovakia within pre-Munich frontiers. His next mistake was an incorrect estimation of the situation of the Czechoslovak communists, expressed directly after his visit to Moscow in 1943, and testified by the events which transpired in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, when they assumed power for more than forty years.
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