Masaryk, Jan


1939 card signed by the Czech diplomat and 1940-48 Foreign Minister, murdered by Communists



Autograph ID: 5764
Condition: Very good, scant mount remnants verso
Description: “(1886-1948) Czech diplomat and politician, Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia 1940-48. Born in Prague to an American mother, son of Tomas Marsaryk, who became 1st President of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Educated in Prague and in the US where he also lived and worked for a time. He returned home in 1913 and served in the Austro-Hungarian army in WW I, then joined the diplomatic service and was chargé d’affaires to the US 1919-22. In 1925 he was made Ambassador to Britain. His father resigned as President in 1935 and died in 1937, succeeded by Edvard Benes. In Sept. 1938 Germany occupied the Sudetenland and Masaryk resigned as Ambassador, remaining in London. In March 1939 Germany occupied the remaining parts of the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia and a puppet state was established in Slovakia. When a Government -in-Exile was established in Britain in 1940, he was named Foreign Minister. During WW II, he regularly broadcast over the BBC to occupied Czechoslovakia. He remained Foreign Minister following Czechoslovakia’s liberation in a Communist-dominated National Front government. The Communists under Klement Gottwald were strengthened after the 1946 elections but Masaryk stayed on as Foreign Minister. Concerned with retaining USSR friendship, he was dismayed by their veto on Czechoslovak participation in the Marshall Plan. In Feb. 1948 the majority of non-Communist cabinet members resigned, hoping to force new elections, but a government under Gottwald was formed. He remained Foreign Minister, the only prominent minister in the new government neither a Communist nor a Communist ally. On March 10, 1948, he was found dead, dressed only in his pajamas, in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. The initial Interior Ministry investigation stated that he had committed suicide although it was believed by some that he was murdered by the Communists. A 2nd investigation in 1968 during the Prague Spring ruled his death an accident, not excluding a murder; a 3rd investigation in the early 1990s after the Velvet Revolution concluded that it had been a murder.

3 1/2 x 5 1/2 “Hotels/Windemere/Chicago” crested card signed by Masaryk 2 weeks after the Germans occupied Bohemia and Moravia, dated “March 29-39” by him. On 16 March 1939, the German army moved into the remainder of Czechoslovakia and, from Prague Castle, Hitler proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a “Protectorate”.”
Type: Signed Card

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