Masaryk, Jan, 1886-1946

Masaryk was an important Czechoslovakian statesman and Foreign Minister of the Czech government-in-exile in London. At the time of the Munich Agreement and the partition of Czechoslovakia, Masaryk was Ambassador to London. He became Foreign Minister of the government-inexile under Edouard BENES. His first major task was to act as mediator between Benes and the British government in their attempt to gain full recognition for their government. This was achieved on 19 July 1941 and was followed in 1942 by EdEN’s formal renunciation of the Munich Agreement. Masaryk also went on extensive speaking tours of Britain and the United States and made daily BBC broadcasts to Czechoslovakia. These were extremely successful, partly because of the symbolic value of his name; his father, Thomas Masaryk, was the hero of Czech independence. Relations between the Czech government-in-exile and the USSR were extremely good. Masaryk signed a mutual aid agreement with the USSR on 18 July 1941 which provided for Czech units within the Soviet Army and later signed a friendship pact. Masaryk died having ‘fallen’ out of a window in Prague under mysterious circumstances in 1948.

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