Beneš, Eduard (1884–1948), a Czechoslovak statesman. He was born in Kozlany, then a part of Austria-Hungary. After studying at the universities of Prague, Paris, and Dijon, he taught at the University of Prague. An ardent worker for an independent Bohemian state, he was influenced by Tomáš Masaryk, whom he followed into exile in 1915. He was a delegate to the World War I peace conference, and foreign minister of Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1935, when he became president. He resigned in 1938 in protest against German occupation of the Sudetenland.
Coming to the United States, Beneš became a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and later president of the Czechoslovak government in exile. During World War II he had headquarters in London, and returned to his native land upon its liberation. In 1946, the Constituent Parliament elected him president of the republic. Refusing to approve a constitution framed by the Communist-dominated Parliament, he resigned in June, 1948. He died three months later.