Jan Garrigue Masaryk Edit Profile
Jan Masaryk was educated in Prague and also in the USA, where he also for a time lived as a drifter and lived on the earnings of his manual labor. He returned home in 1913 and served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War. He then joined the diplomatic service and became chargé d'affaires to the USA in 1919, a post he held until 1922.
In 1921, Jan Masaryk became secretary to the Czech foreign minister Edvard Beneš. In 1925, he was made ambassador to Britain.
During World War II he was foreign minister of the Czechoslovak émigré regime in London. A leading spokesman for that government, Jan Masaryk made wartime broadcasts to occupied Czechoslovakia, published in English in 1944 under the title "Speaking to My Country", and became a popular figure at home. Retaining the portfolio of foreign minister after his government’s return to Prague in 1945, he accompanied Beneš to Moscow and also participated in the inauguration of the United Nations in San Francisco. At the request of President Beneš, Masaryk remained at his post after the Communist takeover of February 25, 1948, but a few weeks later he either committed suicide by throwing himself out of a window at the foreign office or was murdered by being thrown out.
Jan Masaryk was convinced that Czechoslovakia must remain friendly to the Soviet Union, and he was greatly disappointed by the Soviet veto of Czechoslovak acceptance of postwar U.S. reconstruction aid under the Marshall Plan.
Jan Masaryk was a skilled amateur pianist. In that capacity, he accompanied Jarmila Novotná in a recital of Czech folk songs issued on 78 RPM records to commemorate the victims of the Nazi eradication of Lidice.
Quotes from others about the person
“American journalist John Gunther described Masaryk as "a brave, honest, turbulent, and impulsive man".”
From 1924 until their divorce in 1931, Jan Masaryk was married to Frances Crane Leatherbee (1887-1954), an heiress to the Crane piping, valves and elevator fortune, and the former wife of Robert Leatherbee, she was a daughter of Charles R. Crane, a U.S. minister to China and a sister of Richard Teller Crane II, a U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia. By that marriage, Jan Masaryk had three stepchildren: Charles Leatherbee, Robert Leatherbee Jr., and Richard Crane Leatherbee. Stepson Charles Leatherbee (Harvard 1929) co-founded the University Players, a summer stock company in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1928 with Bretaigne Windust. He married Mary Lee Logan, younger sister of Joshua Logan, who became one of the co-directors of the University Players in 1931.