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Register of the Štefan Osuský Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Štefan Osuský papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1901-1992
    Collection number: 74065
    Creator: Osuský, Štefan, b. 1889
    Extent: 126 manuscript boxes, 3 card file boxes, 4 oversize boxes (57 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Correspondence, speeches and writings, memoranda, reports, clippings, printed matter, memorabilia, and photographs, relating to Czechoslovak politics and diplomacy, and European diplomatic relations between the two world wars.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Languages: English, French, Czech, and Slovak.

    Administrative Information


    Box 120 closed. Use copies available.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Štefan Osuský papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1974

    Alternative Form Available

    Also available on microfilm (116 reels).


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    1889 March 31 Born in Brezová pod Bradlom, Slovakia
    1906 Emigrated to the United States
    1908-1910 Studied theology in Springfield, Illinois
    1914 Earned a Ph.D. degree in philosophy and psychology from the University of Chicago
    1915 Received his law degree from the University of Chicago and opened his own practice in Chicago
    1915 April Chaired a joint meeting of Chicago Czechs and Slovaks and engaged himself zealously in the movement for a Czechoslovak state
    1915 September 23 Appointed Slovak Secretary at the first conference of the Slovak League in Cleveland
    1916 February 22 Elected vice-president at a convocation of the Slovak League in Chicago, and was chosen along with Gustav Košík to travel to Europe in order to influence the Czech National Council established in Paris. Meeting with Edvard Beneš in Paris, Osuský succeeded in changing the organization's name to "National Czecho-Slovak Council"
    1917-1918 Ran the Czechoslovak Information Office in Geneva, Switzerland, writing articles for the Allied press. Met with prominent figures in the national liberation movements, and dealt with German and Austrian agents like Heinrich Lammasch and Frederich Hertz
    1918 September - 1921 January Czechoslovak Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain
    1919 January - 1920 Attended the Paris Peace Conference as Secretary General of the Czechoslovak Delegation, and became a Delegate a few months later. Negotiated and signed his country's peace treaties with Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Was one of the signers of the Treaty of Trianon negotiated between Hungary and the Allied Powers on June 4, 1920
    1919 November - 1932 Czechoslovak representative in the Reparations Commission of the League of Nations. For a period of four years, also represented Greece, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia
    1919-1937 Czechoslovak Delegate in the Assembly of the League of Nations
    1921 January - 1940 June Czechoslovak Minister Plenipotentiary to France
    1923-1937 Chairman of the Supervisory Commission of the League of Nations
    1934 Awarded the Karlík Prize (the Czechoslovak equivalent of the Nobel prize) for "exceptional services rendered to Czechoslovakia"
    1936-1939 Lectured at Charles University in Prague
    1939 March 16 Refused to surrender the Czechoslovak Legation in Paris to the Germans after Hitler's occupation of Prague on March 15, 1939, and succeeded in maintaining his official position as Czechoslovak envoy, although bereft of both government and country
    1939 October 2 Signed a treaty with the French Government regarding the formation/reconstruction of the Czechoslovak Army in France
    1939 November 17 Appointed by Beneš to the newly formed Czechoslovak National Committee in Paris. Issued a mobilization order to Czechoslovak citizens residing in France, which resulted in the formation of two Czechoslovak infantry regiments (these, together with several hundred airmen, constituted a Czechoslovak army on French soil)
    1940 June After the fall of France, Osuský arranged for the transportation to England of several thousands of those troops and fled to London
    1940 July - 1942 March Minister of State of the Czechoslovak Government-in- Exile
    1940 October 12 Appointed member of the State Council in London
    1942 March 31 Removed from his post of Minister of State because of disagreements with Beneš's anti-Slovak and pro-Russian policies
    1942 April 12 Resigned his post in the State Council
    1942 Lectured at Oxford
    1942-1945 Wrote numerous articles about Beneš and his Provisional Government
    1943 Vice-president of the 'Never Again' Association
    1945 September Moved to the United States
    1945 September - 1946 Went on an extensive lecture tour of the United States
    1946-1950 Visiting Professor of European Civilization and Culture at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
    1949-1960 Ran Mid-European Law Project of the National Committee for a Free Europe (reports on changes in communist states)
    1949-1973 Engaged in anti-communist movement activities
      Broadcast for Radio Free Europe and Voice of America
    1949 February Co-founder and Chairman (later President) of the Council of Free Czechoslovakia
    1950-1962 Advisor, National Committee for a Free Europe
    1952-1973 Member, International Commission of Jurists
    1952 November? Founder of the Council of Free Jurists from Countries Behind the Iron Curtain
    1954? Founding member, Association of Captive European Nations
      Member, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
      Chairman, Council of Europe - European Political Community
    1968 February 1921 Judge, Court of World Public Opinion - International Communism on Trial
    1973 September 27 Died, Washington, D.C.

    Scope and Content Note

    The Štefan Osuský papers were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives from his wife and son over a period of several years. The collection was organized shortly after the first installment arrived in 1974. The last increment was given to the Archives in November 1986, at which time the entire collection was processed anew. The present register incorporates material from the original register as well as the rest of the documents that were added to the collection since then.
    The bulk of the collection consists of Osuský's correspondence, speeches and writings, and research notes, as well as of various documents and materials pertaining to Osuský's long career and activity in the anti-communist movement, to Czechoslovakia since World War I, the Czechoslovak government-in-exile during World War II, and post-war émigré affairs.
    Of great importance are Osuský's papers disputing the constitution of the Czechoslovak provisional government in London, Beneš's constitutional presidency, and the role of the State Council (see, in the speeches and writings file, "Londýnské štátné zriadenie," "Dr. Beneš's Authoritative Regime," "Beneš's Government in London," "Legal Position of Dr. Beneš, of the Šrámek Government and the Czechoslovak State Council," "Řízená demokracie při práci"). In his paper "Continuité de l'état tchéchoslovaque," Osuský explains his theory of the continuity of the Czechoslovak state based on the recognition of the Czechoslovak National Committee by the French government.
    Also interesting in that series are Osuský's writings on Beneš himself, in which he criticizes Beneš's 'modus operandi,' his anti-Slovak and pro-Russian policies, and his role in the Munich events that led to the subsequent dismemberment of Czechoslovakia (see, in particular, "Beneš a pravda," "Beneš and Commitment," "Beneš Manipulator," "Benešová vláda a Slováci," "Osuský Notes on Munich," "The Collapse of Czechoslovakia: Events Leading to the Munich Agreement").
    Of special note are also Osuský's numerous writings on Germany, Russia, the Soviet Union, namely "Encirclement of the 'Capitalist Countries' by the Soviets," "Peaceful Co-Existence," "Communist Law and the Soviet Federation of Nations," "Rule of Law Under Communist Regimes," as well as his essays on Europe, Hitler, Stalin, etc.
    Also of significant importance are documents relating to the beginning of the Czechoslovak exile movement in 1939 and 1940, in particular, Osuský's negotiations with the French government officials, which resulted in October of 1939 in the signing of a treaty relating to the reconstruction of the Czechoslovak Army in France, and to the creation of the Czechoslovak National Committee in Paris (see in the career file the original of the agreement "Accord relatif à la reconstitution en France de l'armée tchéchoslovaque").
    In the biographical file are also included legal documents relating to the lawsuits brought by Osuský against Hubert Ripka and Bohuslav Beneš, which demonstrate, among other things, the lack of ability of the Czechoslovak émigré community to stop engaging in bitter personal fights and start to unify and coordinate the activities of Czechoslovak exiles.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.


    Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920)
    Prisoners of war.
    World War, 1939-1945.
    World War, 1939-1945--Czechoslovakia.
    World War, 1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons.
    Czechoslovakia--Foreign relations--France.
    Czechoslovakia--Foreign relations--Great Britain.
    Czechoslovakia--Politics and government.
    France--Foreign relations--Czechoslovakia.
    Great Britain.
    Great Britain--Foreign relations--Czechoslovakia.
    League of Nations.