Václav Havel – The Great Czech



By World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons. License at https://buff.ly/2zGU4ao

The story of Václav Havel, one of the greatest Czechs, begins on the 5th of October 1936, the day when he was born. His family was wealthy and famous, thanks to the accomplishments of his grandfather (he established Prague’s Wenceslas Square), his father (created Barrandov Terraces ), and his uncle (built one of the largest studios in the EU). Vaclav’s educational path was diversified: he entered a four-year apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant, went to the academic school (gymnasium), and studied at the Faculty of Economics of the Czech Technical University in Prague, which he never graduated from.

The intellectual traditions of Havel’s family shaped his likes for humanitarianism and Czech culture.  That was one of the primary reasons why he was working as a stagehand at Prague’s Theatre ABC – Divadlo ABC, and then at the Theatre On Balustrade – Divadlo Na zábradlí. The passion for culture encouraged him to receive an education in this sphere – Václav was a student at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU). Later, he participated in multiple plays, including The Garden Party (1963),  The MemorandumThe Increased Difficulty of Concentration. Soon, he would be banned from the theatre for becoming politically active (communists did not like it at all).

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The political career of Havel began as early as in the first week of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968: he was working on a radio station. Struggling with finances, Havel decided to take a job in one of the breweries. To share the experience, he wrote the play “Vaněk,” where he was the main character. He also wrote several articles on political issues; the most popular and well-known is The Power of the Powerless (1978).  In 1979, Václav founded the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted: some of his political activities have resulted in imprisonments, the longest for five years. The primary reason for that was his critique of totalitarianism in one of his writings. Samuel Beckett devoted the entire play (Catastrophe) to Havel while he was held as a political prisoner. 

On the 29th of December 1989, the life of Václav Havel had drastically changed: he became the president of Czechoslovakia by the votes of the Federal Assembly. He was actually not interested in politics and did not want to become the president of the country. Nevertheless, he changed his mind, and shortly after the elections, was awarded the Prize For Freedom of the Liberal International. Even though Václav noticed the tension between the nations – Czechs, and Slovaks, – he did not want to begin the process of retention

Hável was a great leader of the country, and plenty of politicians worldwide respected him for his political activities – even though they might seem controversial to a certain degree. For instance, he mentioned that the expulsion of the Sudeten German population after WWII was immoral. He also attempted to release the pressure in overcrowded prisons and let the political prisoners of the Communist-era home. Personally, Havel thought that the most significant accomplishment in his career was the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact.

On the 2nd of February 2003, Václav Havel left the presidential office. His devotion to the country’s pro-democratic orientation was respected all over the world. Later, he was invited to major events dedicated to the prevention of the escalation of conflicts in religion, culture, and ethnicity. Havel became a member of the World Future Society in 2004; his speeches were printed in several magazines. Among his other works during the after-presidential years were: the establishment of the Human Rights Foundation’s International Council and becoming a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He passed away on the 18th of December 2011. The funeral was held at the Saint Vitus Cathedral; today, his ashes are located at the family tomb in the Vinohrady Cemetery in Prague. 

Sofia Chesnokova

Sofia Chesnokova

Passionate about digital marketing, copywriting, and Prague!
Sofia Chesnokova
Sofia Chesnokova

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Passionate about digital marketing, copywriting, and Prague!