베네시는 1935년 12월 18일 체코슬로바키아 공화국의 제 2대 대통령으로 취임했다. 그런데 이 당시 체코슬로바키아는 나치 독일의 팽창정책으로 인해 위협적 상황에 놓여 있었다. 이러한 상황에서 베네시는 국익을 우선시하는 정책을 펼쳤지만 그러한 것은 종종 주변 강대국들에 의해 차단되었다. 더욱이 영국과 프랑스를 비롯한 서유럽국가들이 유럽에서 패권을 장악하려던 히틀러를 의식하면서부터 체코슬로바키아의 상황은 더욱 악화되었고 그것은 국가해체라는 최악의 상황까지 초래시켰다. 이에 충격을 받은 베네시는 제 2차 세계대전이 끝난 후 서유럽보다는 소련의 도움을 받아 체코슬로바키아 재건에 나섰지만 여기서 그는 당시 스탈린의 의도를 정확히 파악하지 못하는 실수를 범했고 결국 체코슬로바키아는 소련의 위성국가로 전락하게 되는 불운을 맞이하게 되었다. 실제적으로 체코슬로바키아에서 공산당이 정권을 완전히 장악하기까지 얼마 안 걸렸는데 그것은 이 당이 소련의 적극적인 지원을 받았을 뿐만 아니라 당시 환영에 빠져있던 국민들로부터도 전폭적 지지를 받았기 때문이다. 그리고 당시 정치활동에 참여했던 비공산계열 정당들이 공산당과의 대립에서 의회 민주주의적 방법을 고수했던 것 역시 공산당의 정권장악에 크게 기여한 요인이라고 하겠다. 이렇게 정권을 장악한 이후 체코슬로바키아 공산당은 불법, 숙청, 그리고 체포를 정권유지에 필요한 수단으로 간주했고 거기서 이 당은 공산당 독재체제로의 전환과 사회의 혁명적 변화를 위해 강제 및 전횡이 반드시 필요하다는 것도 인지했다.
When President Toma? Masaryk retired in 1935, Edvard Bene? was the obvious choice as his successor. He opposed to Nazi Germany’s claim to the German-speaking Sudetenland in 1938. Although in October 1938 Italy, France and Great Britain signed the Munich Agreement, which allowed for the immediate annexation and military occupation of the Sudetenland by Germany, Czechoslovakia was not even consulted on this agreement. Bene? was all but forced to agree to it after France and Great Britain let it be known that if he did not do so, they would ignore themselves in fate of Czechoslovakia. Bene? was forced to resign on 5 October 1938 under German pressure. Emil Hacha was chosen as President. In March 1939, Hacha’s government was bullied into authorizing the German occupation of the remain Czech territory. On 22 October 1938 Bene? went into exile in Great Britain. In 1940 Bene? organized the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile in London with Jan ?ramek as Prime Minister and himself as President. In reclaiming the presidency, he took the line that his 1938 resignation had been under duress, and was therefore void. After the Prague uprising at the end of World War II, Bene? returned home and reassumed his former position as President. He was unanimously confirmed as the President of the republic by the National Assembly on 28 October 1945. On 19 June 1946 Bene? was formally elected to his second term as President. Bene? presided over a coalition government, from 1947 headed by Communist leader Klement Gottwald as Prime minister. On 21 February 1948, 12 non-Communist ministers resigned to protest Gottwald’s refusal to stop the packing of the police with Communists, despite a majority of the Cabinet ordering it to end. Bene? initially refused to accept their resignations and insisted that no government could be formed without the non-Communist parties. However, Gottwald threatened a general strike unless Bene? appointed a Communist-dominated government. Amid fears that civil war was imminent and rumours that Red Army would sweep in to back Gottwald, Bene? gave way. On 25 February, he accepted the resignations of the non-Communist ministers and appointed a new government in accordance with Gottwald’s specifications. It was nominally still a coalition, but was dominated by Communists- in effect, giving legal sanction to a Communist coup d’etat. Shortly afterward, elections were held in which voters were presented with a single list from the Communist-dominated National Front. The new elected National Assembly approved the Ninth-of-May Constitution shortly after being sworn in. Although it was not a completely Communist document, it was close enough to the Soviet Constitution that Bene? refused to sign it. He resigned as President on 7 June 1948.
1. 망명정부 대통령으로서의 활동
2. 공산당의 득세
3. 베네시와 의회 민주주의 세력의 몰락