Monday, October 5th, is 84th anniversary of Václav Havel's birth. Václav Havel is known as the first president of the Czech Republic and the man who won democracy for the Czech people against the communist regime. He also wrote poetry, essays and a few theatre plays. His art work has been translated into English. There is also a 2020 movie about his life called Havel.
Becoming a dissident
Communists took control over Czechoslovakia in 1948, and there was severe totalitarianism in the 50's. The regime was getting milder in the 60's then, and that is when Havel's dramas started to be played. He was born in 1936, so he was in his 20's at that time. After 1968, the communists made the regime much stricter again. Havel continued writing and became a dissident who decided to fight for democracy in Czechoslovakia.
Václav Havel wrote many texts against the comunist regime, he was organising illegal events and concerts. He was imprisoned several times during the 70's and the 80's and was incarcerated for almost five years total. The communist secret police were following him everywhere, and they even had a cottage near to his house to keep an eye on him while he was at home.
Olga Havlová was Václav Havel's wife, lifelong soulmate and partner, and she had always stood by him. Olga said Václav went to prison for the opinions they both had. Václav Havel was consulting all of his ideas with Olga.
The Velvet Revolution
Many people acted out against the communist regime. Most of them were in the arts and culture scene, and they tried to fight for democracy in various ways. But Václav Havel was the symbolic person and the moral authority for the people who wanted democracy.
The antiregime activities eventually led to the Velvet Revolution in 1989. During this revolution, the political establishment had changed from communist regime to democracy without any violence.
After the Velvet Revolution, Václav Havel became the President of democratic Czechoslovakia. Three years later, Czechoslovakia divided into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, and Václav Havel became the first President of the Czech Republic.
Dokument z cyklu Největší Čech
Dokument Václav Havel – Česká pohádka