Nine printed letters signed expressing support to Edvard Benes
Oxford, No Publisher. 1938..
Nine printed letters signed, each one page, folio 340mm by 220mm. Individually signed by Laurence Binyon, William Henry Bragg, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Arthur Evans, Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher, John Maynard Keynes, George Edward Moore, Charles Morgan and Dugald Sutherland MacColl. Edvard Benes who served as the president of Czechoslovakia from 1935 to 1938, and again from 1939 to 1948. During the first six years of his second stint, he led the Czechoslovak government-in-exile during World War II. In 1938 he resigned after the Munich Agreement. The text of each letter reading in part "We think it might be timely that a few English students and writers should send you an expression of their sympathy and of their great admiration for your work and your character. In succession to Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, your master and co-founder of your State, you have been, through good times and evil, the authentic voice of Czechoslovakia. We appreciate the steadfastness and dignity of your bearing in the face of national calamity, and also of personal misrepresentation. We have faith that the nation which bred Huss and Comenius and which has preserved its courage, its language and its culture through so many centuries will continue to do so through all vicissitudes. Its literary and artistic renaissance of the last hundred years is rooted in that tradition; and has produced, and is producing, many powerful and brilliant minds. You, like Masaryk, have fostered this movement, which is of a kind that no political changes can extinguish. Though your place of honour in European history is already secure, it is impossible to think that your service to your country is at an end". The letter signed by MacColl has been heavily amended by George Bernard Shaw, with paragraphs being deleted and with an handwritten addition signed and dated "G.Bernard Shaw, 4/11/38" reading "I should like to join in any reasonable greeting to Benes. But this is damned nonsense, as Hitler as pointed out. Masaryk was a Slovene, not a Czech. There is no such thing as a Czechoslovakian nation; and Benes has about as much to do with Hus (not Huss) and Comenius as I do with Brian Boru. Why not cut out this literary guff, which will take all real meaning out of the salutation for Benes?". In addition there is a typed letter signed by Philip Wilson Steer, of identical content, and handwritten accompanying note. Fine.