Edited by Gerald Boerner
In this country, most of us only know about the events in Czechoslovakia only from travelogues that visit its capital city, Prague. Some of us remember the Soviet tanks entering the country when it got too “independent”, but we really don’t remember or have any recollection of that country in Eastern Europe, part of the Warsaw Pact nations. They were communist “puppet” states as far as most of us were concerned. The internal events only became relevant when they threatened the security of Western Europe. But that is what we had NATO for, wasn’t it?
The Prague Spring, a confrontation between the Soviet troops and tanks, too place in the Spring of 1968, pitted the Czech dissonants seeking to preserve their reforms were overwhelmed by the Soviet forces. Many of the leaders were put into detention camps as punishment. When the communist system fell in 1989, the wave of freedom swept through Czechoslovakia along with other members of the Warsaw Pact. Democracy blossomed and Havel was elected as president in the first free election. Later, when the Czech Republic split from the Slovakia, Havel was elected as the first present of the new republic.
It was quite a journey for Havel from being a playwright to becoming the country’s leader. He paid a high price for this transition to freedom. He was imprisoned and suffered persecution by the ruling communist power structure. He emerged stronger and well-prepared to lead his new country into the new experience of democracy. Not only is today the date in which he became president, it is a fitting tribute since he passed from this life on December 18th.
So, let us now proceed to our exploration of the life and context in which Václav Havel led his free nation along the road to democracy… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
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