/ INFOGRAPHY / Only 70 years ago the mourning bell in the church in Sezimovo Ústí was disrupted in the early evening. Announced the death of the second Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš. As a high statesman he fought for the new republic in the critical years of both world wars, the last – long-term illness – which was lost shortly after six o'clock in the evening on 3 September 1948.
Few Democratic presenters in people have controversy such as Edward Benes. Someone takes him after Masaryk as the greatest statesman in the history of Czechoslovakia, another accuses him of everything possible in connection with the Munich agreement and the Communist coup in 1948.
Although Beneš is often referred to as a weak and traitor for his decisions in recent years, it can not be denied that he was a politician of the European format who deserved the birth of independent Czechoslovakia.
On the other hand, as a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was more of a diplomat than a statesman. Instead of taking a clear stance in the critical years and standing behind him, he tried to find a compromise solution in difficult situations.
Thanks to the pressure that the government of the sick man had developed, communists in 1948 came to power in Czechoslovakia for 41 years.
For a large part of the country, the State funeral of Edvard Beneš on 8 September was not only the last farewell of the former president, but also the opportunity to express his disapproval of the undemocratic development of Czechoslovakia. The communists left nothing to chance, and more than four thousand armed militiamen called up the streets of Prague, which eventually overpowered their disagreement.
Arm or hero? What was the role of Edvard Benes in history?
Vít Smetana: The Soviet community borders on servility
Edvard Beneš played an important role in the rise of Czechoslovakia. He was a zealous bee who never hesitated to talk to the Allies and give them Czechoslovakian views on the international situation. He was successful in promoting the territorial demands of Czechoslovakia and at the Paris Peace Conference he worked as a compromise seeker on matters not related to Czechoslovakia. In the coming decades, the problem with other statesmen and diplomats was self-confidence. He began to raise his partners, and many of them discouraged them, which often undermined the power of his arguments.
Beneš lived in turbulent times, he was forced to solve the most serious situations in Czechoslovak history, and the burden of the responsibility he took on his loins was enormous. At the same time, he was a diplomat rather than a statesman, and he found a compromise in every situation-even if he was already in a position to adopt and insist on a principled attitude.
With regard to the Soviet Union, he repeatedly went further in his testimonies than was reasonable. In my opinion he had a considerable "merit" on the fact that CSR had invaded the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union and for the evil I had so much sympathy with the Soviet Union, which often borders on servility. Of course the question is whether this would have happened without Benes. Certainly, however, his statements about the future dangers of the West contributed to inciting the paranoia of Stalin and the distribution of the world to the East and the West.
The author is a historian of the Institute of Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Eduard Stehlík: Before the coup in 1948, I would not condemn Benes
President Masaryk told Benes that we would not have the republic without him. He was the small and very diligent clerk with all the threads of anti-racist resistance, and he did the ant-race that led to the rise of Czechoslovakia.
The share is therefore enormous.
As far as the year 1938 is concerned, it is unfortunate that the head of state became the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He came as a diplomat for this problem, which was not the best solution. I firmly believe that he believed that Cechoslovak would save large losses of lives by accepting the Munich agreement. He did not, however, calculate that the humiliation to which the nation and the army left without fighting was not a matter of a few months, but of different generations. The fact that the solution that the President has accepted today still affects us today is testimony to the power of the wrongdoing that has been done to us.
Before the year 1948 it must be seen that the democratic parties left the most important decisions to the president, although they knew it was a sick man. Benes would certainly not condemn this step. At that moment he chose what seemed best to him.
Beneš was certainly a personality who has written many positive things in a history and some setbacks. But I would never disappoint him because he had to deal with the knowledge of the thing and the information he had at that moment. We have the luxury that we know what was going on and we know the backstage.
The author is a historian and director of the ministry of war veterans of the Ministry of Defense