Benes had resigned as president of the Czechoslovak Republic
on October 5, 1938. In London he and other Czechoslovak exiles
organized a Czechoslovak government-in-exile and negotiated to
obtain international recognition for the government and a
renunciation of the Munich Agreement and its consequences. Benes
hoped for a restoration of the Czechoslovak state in its
pre-Munich form after the anticipated Allied victory. In the
summer of 1941, the Allies recognized the exiled government. In
1942 Allied repudiation of the Munich Agreement established the
political and legal continuity of the First Republic and Benes's
The Munich Agreement had been precipitated by the subversive
activities of the Sudeten Germans. During the latter years of the
war, Benes worked toward resolving the German minority problem
and received consent from the Allies for a solution based on a
postwar transfer of the Sudeten German population.
The First Republic had been committed to a Western policy in
foreign affairs. The Munich Agreement was the outcome. Benes
determined to strengthen Czechoslovak security against future
German aggression through alliances with Poland and the Soviet
Union. The Soviet Union, however, objected to a tripartite
Czechoslovak-Polish-Soviet commitment. In December 1943, Benes's
government concluded a treaty with the Soviets.
Benes's interest in maintaining friendly relations with the
Soviet Union was motivated also by his desire to avoid Soviet
encouragement of a postwar communist coup in Czechoslovakia.
Benes worked to bring Czechoslovak communist exiles in Britain
into active cooperation with his government, offering
far-reaching concessions, including nationalization of heavy
industry and the creation of local people's committees at the
war's end. In March 1945, he gave key cabinet positions to
Czechoslovak communist exiles in Moscow.
Data as of August 1987