Anti-state demonstrations have traditionally taken place in the heart of Prague on Wenceslas Square. After the November 17 police crackdown, it was no accident that the Square became the central point for people to get information, meet others and, from November 21 on, to attend the daily "meetings" when opposition groups addressed citizens from the balcony of the Melantrich publishing house.….
Prague Embassy cable, Czechoslovak Independents Establish New Organization and List Agenda of Demands
The established opposition reacted slowly to November 17; while students and actors began mobilizing on Saturday, it was Sunday before opposition leaders met to determine their next steps. That afternoon, independent activists created Civic Forum and drew up a list of four initial demands (see document 493). This U.S. embassy cable reported on the press conference announcing Civic Forum's….
International relations specialist and key Gorbachev advisor Vadim Zagladin made this report to the Soviet Politburo in early April 1989. In it, Zagladin recounts his conversation with Jan Pudlak, a high-ranking Czechoslovak official, about the situation in Pudlak's country. Zagladin's main impressions from the discussion include the inflexibility of the ruling elite, their inability to….
Every political upheaval is followed by a "morning after." In 1990, the new Czechoslovak President, Vaclav Havel, gave an important speech commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (the end of Communism in his country). In addition to celebrating the tremendous achievement of growing democracy in his newly-independent country, Havel also added a note of caution with his….
The dissident Czech writer Vaclav Havel endured decades of political persecution before being elected Czechoslovakia's (later divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia) first post-socialist president. That Havel, who had been imprisoned multiple times for his participation in the Prague Spring of 1968 and the signing of Charter 77 Manifesto, became president is an important indicator of the….
On March 21, 1990 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher hosted a delegation from Czechoslovakia, including the newly elected president Vaclav Havel. One of Prime Minister Thatcher's major initiatives following the collapse of communism was the creation of the "Know How Fund," a fund created to assist economic, political, and cultural development in Eastern Europe. Relative to what other….
In February 1990, the newly-elected president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, became the first Czechoslovakian leader to visit Washington and meet with a US president. A former dissident and playwright, Havel was “an enigmatic figure” in his own country, according to National Security Council staff member Robert L. Hutchings, and his meeting with President George H. W. Bush was helpful in….