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Theodore, M.E. (1998). Vaclav Havel: One Man Disturbing the Peace. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 26(2):233-254.

(1998). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 26(2):233-254

Vaclav Havel: One Man Disturbing the Peace

Mary E. Theodore, M.D.

We owe it to ourselves to ask what it may have been in his nature and in his background, in his childhood and in his youth, that fashioned him in such a way that he grew up to be one who made history.

—Erik Erikson

This project first began out of an interest in the study of leadership styles. Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, was selected as an exemplary leader who facilitated a nation's peaceful transition from a totalitarian regime to a democracy. Here is a man whose tranquil life had been disrupted from early adolescence by various authoritarian influences and who managed, despite persecution, personal losses, and fears, to mobilize himself and his nation into action. This action led to one of the few bloodless revolutions in this century. This peaceful transfer of power between the Communist regime of the former Czechoslovakia and the democratic leadership of the Civic Forum became know as the Velvet Revolution. In a time of worldwide conflict, the fact that Havel facilitated such a bloodless transfer of power makes his feat that much more remarkable.

What has made this work both fascinating and complex is that Vaclav Havel is not simply a national leader, but also an international phenomenon who has tried to rouse global conscienceness. He first started as an absurdist playwright and when he was banned from writing in his own country, became a political dissident. In 1989 he became the first democratically elected president of Czechoslovakia in over half a century. To protest the division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, known as the Velvet Divorce, he later resigned the presidency. Six months later, the Czech Parliament elected him the first president of the Czech Republic. He is approaching the end of his first 5-year term.

An analytic biographical study aims at answering several questions.

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