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The Revolution Leader

Perestroika - Few Sentences - Velvet Revolution (1983 -1989)

Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred. 

Václav Havel, 1989 

Lecture´s Summary

At the beginning of the lesson, Vaclav Havel returns after spending more than 4 years in a communist prison and becomes the unspoken leader of the Czechoslovak opposition. The following part of the lesson is dedicated to the international situation, especially in the Soviet Union where Mikhail Gorbachev becomes President. He changes the face of the occupying Soviet Union as a politician open to changes and compromise. The changes and the atmosphere of thawing gradually affect all the countries of the Eastern Bloc. Students learn what Perestroika was and how it affected the situation in Czechoslovakia. They then learn about the revolutionary changes of 1989, from the Palach memorial week in January to the Velvet Revolution in November 1989.

Lesson 4 - The Revolution Leader


Aims of the Lecture

  • Understand the gradual fall of the totalitarian regimes in Europe within the context of the political changes in the Soviet Union and the context of several decades of resistance against the violation of human rights 
  • Place the life of Vaclav Havel in the context of the 1980s and the Velvet Revolution

Support Materials

Photo Gallery 


Timeline of the Lecture 

1980 Perestroika: political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s until 1991
1983 Václav Havel released from prison
1985 M. Gorbachev elected the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
1989 Petition Few Sentences
1989 Poland: first democratic elections (June 1989)
1989 Hungary: end of communist rule (October 1989)
1989 East Germany: The Fall of the Berlin Wall (9.11. 1989)
1989 Czechoslovakia: Velvet Revolution (November - December 2018)

All Lectures 

Lesson The Young Man

The Young Man

Happy Childhood - Communist Coup - Harsh Fiftees - Golden Sixtees (1936 - 1968)

Lesson The Dissident

The Dissident

Invasion - Normalisation - Letter to Gustáv Husák - Dissent (1968 - 1976)  

Lesson The Political Prisoner

The Political Prisoner

The Plastic People Band - Charter 77 - Imprisonments (1976 - 1983)

Lesson The Revolution Leader

The Revolution Leader

Perestroika - Few Sentences - Velvet Revolution (1983 -1989)

Lesson The President

The President

Human Rights in the World - Human Rigts at Home (1989 - 2003) 

Lesson The Citizen

The Citizen

Civil Society - Civil Responsibility (1989 - 2011)



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