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Speech Analysis of Vaclac Havel's New Year's Address to the Nation (1990)

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It does need to be mentioned that Czechoslovakia though being a relatively young nation, happened to be an exception with regards to the other East European nations. Right after its foundation in 1918, Czechoslovakia enjoyed a long period marked by democracy and entrepreneurship, in the time period between the two World Wars (Shepherd 6). In an economic context, Czechoslovakia happened to be much developed and industrialized as compared to its other East European neighbours. However, the nation was to lose its democratic and capitalist heritage as the communists seized power in 1948 (Shepherd 6). The point of time in which Vaclav Havel delivered this speech was right after the 1989 Velvet Revolution that led to the restoration of democracy in Czechoslovakia after years of communist suppression and tyranny. Thereby at this point of time Vaclav Havel, a noted political dissident in the hitherto communist Czechoslovakia, and an acclaimed political writer and intellectual was required to lead a nation that had though set aside the communist autocracy, was quiet out of touch with its history, values and innate potential. The nation was badly in need of a father figure who not only happened to be in touch with its native heritage and culture, but who was also capable of voicing the true sentiments, hopes, and aspirations of the masses. Thereby, in this speech, Vaclav Havel, the first president of the post-communist Czechoslovakia, being true to the expectations of the masses, delivered a message full of hope, possibilities and aspirations. In this speech if on the one side Vaclav Havel catered to the innate sentiments and emotional yearnings of the people, on the other side he also exposed the soft underbelly of the nation, which if not taken care of in time could have created problems. If on the one side Vaclav Havel reminds the people of their rich history and heritage that were never foreign to democracy and a free economy, when he refers to Czechoslovakia as “A country that once could be proud of the educational levels of its citizens. (Havel 1)”, on the other side he reminds the people of the deep seated ethnic differences and marginalization of the ethnic minorities as “the bitter experiences that the Slovaks had in the past. The other thing is that though this speech is utterly emotional in its approach, it nowhere happens to be irresponsible. In this speech Vaclav Havel like any realistic
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