Wenceslas Square:The Velvet Revolution, 1989
Hilary JuddWill Bronson
A Short History…
- Czechoslovakia: Communist state in 1948- Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s non-Communist government in
power in Poland- Mass migration from East Germany: August 1989- Fall of the Berlin Wall: November 9, 1989
overwhelming anti-communist sentiment
A Short History: The Velvet Revolution
Candle Demonstration: March 25, 1988
- first mass demonstration against Communist regime- police respond with water cannons and
Velvet Revolution: November 17 – December 29, 1989
- goal of a freer society
Wenceslas Square- Nov. 17: 20,000 students organize –
antigovernment- Police brutally suppress protesters
- Nov. 18: 2,000 protest purported death of student during previous day’s protests
- Nov. 19: 10,000 protest government
-Nov. 20: Peace Rally of 200,000- demand free elections
-Nov. 24: Dubček holds pro-democracy rally of 200,000
- entire Politburo and Party leader resign
Goals and Values
Declaration of Charter 77Equal Rights
“End the one party rule! Abdicate! Go away! Let us live!”respect for human rights, intellectuals
Alexander Dubček: leader of Velvet Revolution
“Violence can never be good counsel in politicsfor anybody. Violence will never solve in the longrun–and sometimes not even in the short run–
the problems that accumulate in society.Violence is foreign to humanism. It is
- remove article from constitution giving Communist Party monopoly on power- The Freedom of Assembly Act, the Freedom of Association Act, the
Political Parties Act
- first democratic elections in 1990
- amnesty granted to wrongfully imprisoned dissenters
- balanced government of both Communist and non-Communist members
achieve their goals both those of a non-violent movement andthose specific to the Velvet Revolution
- broadcast brutality of police against innocent students
- government response to brutality exposes overall oppression of the regime
demonstrations: Candlelight Protest November 17, 1989
put opponent in lose-lose situation- destroy image internationally
OR- give in to demands
ReferencesOslzlý, Petr. "On Stage with the Velvet Revolution." TDR. 34.3 (1990): 97-108. Print.
Čarnogurský, Ján. The Fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia. 43-49. Print.
Hayes, Peter. "Chronology 1989." Foreign Affairs. 69.1 (1990): 213-257. Print.
Lustig, Arnost, and Josef Lustig. "Return to Czechoslovakia: Snapshots of a Revolution." Kenyon Review. 12.4 (1990): 1-15. Print.
Battiata, Mary. "Police Riot Sticks Spawn a Revolution." The Washington Post 14 Jan 1990: A39. Print.
“A Few Sentences.” 1989
"The accidental uprising." Independent on Sunday [London, England] 22 Nov. 2009: 36. Gale World History In Context. Web. 11 Nov. 2010.
"100,000 Prague protesters Demand Government Change." Milwaukee Journal 20 Nov 1989: 10A. Print.
"I saw the Wall come tumbling down." BBC News: 08 Nov 2009. Radio. 11 Nov 2010. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/8349091.stm>.