October 5, 1938 – Edward Benes Farewell Address (English Translation)
Edward Benes, President of Czechoslovakia from 1935 until his resignation in 1938 was strongly opposed to the German annexation of what was known as the Sudeten territory in Czechoslovakia. Abandoned by Britain and France, Benes was obliged to hand over the territory to Hitler in order to avoid an armed confrontation and a potential of war. Benes felt a sense of deep betrayal by the European powers, and as a symbol of protest, resigned the office on October 5th 1938, delivering a resignation address which was carried via Short-wave and translated into several languages.
The Sudeten crisis introduced a new word to the lexicon; Appeasement. It would forever be viewed with disdain as a willingness to avoid war at all costs, even if it meant selling out ones allies in order to achieve it.
Ultimately, the Sudeten issue, known as The Munich Crisis only prevented war for a little less than a year. Until a new set of demands surfaced and a shooting war began, the next time in Poland and German claims of stolen territories from World War 1.
After resigning, Benes would emigrated to Britain and set up a government-in exile during the war.
Benes would resume the Presidency, when Czechoslovakia was liberated in 1945. But it was also short-lived as Benes resigned again in 1948 and died soon after. The country would then become a Soviet Satellite until the 1990s when they finally got independence.
Here is the translation of the resignation address of Edward Benes, as he delivered it on October 5, 1938. The Munich Crisis may have been over, for a time at least, but it was only the start of what would eventually become World War 2.