The second president of Czechoslovakia, he was a great supporter of Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, but made many controversial decisions that are still being questioned by historians, journalists and politicians. Beneš was a very well-educated man, studying at Charles University, Sorbonna and University in Dijon, where he received his doctorate in law. Then he worked as a philosophy professor and married Hana, an emancipated woman who always supported him and was loved by the public.
As a person, Beneš was rather cold and academic. The only thing he was passionate about was his country. During the First World War, he formed Maffia, a group rebelling against the monarchy and giving information to the Allies. In 1915, he emigrated to France to return in 1918 and become minister of foreign affairs in Czechoslovakia. He was the creator of the state’s diplomacy only continuing in the steps of Thomas Garrigue Masaryk. As a politician he was a socialist and this resulted in close relations with the Soviet Union. In 1935, months before his own presidency, he signed a treaty of alliance with Stalin.
In 1938, the Munich Pact ended the young democracy and a year later, Czechoslovakia turned into a Nazi-controlled Protectorate. Beneš abdicated and left Prague, settling in London. Although a new Czechoslovakian president was legitimately voted for, Beneš still saw himself as an authority and established a government in London. In 1945, he victoriously returned and with himself he brought his government, which was approved of by the Allies.
Edward Beneš was immediately exposed to pressure from the Soviets, who were the Czech liberators. The Communist Party started growing in numbers and set out to win the next parliamentary elections. Combined with the controversial but then widely accepted German transfer, Beneš was losing his ability to judge. He became prisoner of his own political ideas and decided to retire, leaving the presidential seat to Klement Gottwald. In February 1948, the Communist Party fell fully under Soviet control, a mere month after Edward Beneš died.