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Jan Masaryk

Masaryk, Jan (yän mäˈsärĭk) [key], 1886–1948, Czechoslovak diplomat, son of Thomas G. Masaryk. He was (1925–38) Czechoslovak minister to Great Britain, and in London he became (1940) foreign minister in the Czechoslovak government in exile headed by Eduard Beneš after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. During World War II, Masaryk supported a policy of cooperation with the Soviet Union as well as with the Western powers. He continued to hold his post after his government returned (1945) to Prague, and he remained in office after the Communist coup of Feb., 1948. A few days later it was officially announced that he had committed suicide by throwing himself from a window. The announcement aroused world consternation. No real evidence was ever adduced to prove whether his death was or was not voluntary.

See C. Sterling, The Masaryk Case (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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