Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Charter 77: The Reform and Dissidence movement in Czechoslovakia from 1968 to 1989

Robert Biton.

Warsaw Pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968, bringing the important liberalization reforms of the Prague Spring to a halt and reversing the progress that had been made relative to personal liberties and freedom of expression. In 1977, a group of Czech dissidents comprised mostly of intellectuals and known as Charter 77, delivered a manifesto to the communist government. Their intent was to compel the government to live up to its commitment to respect human rights and individual freedoms. The Charter 77 manifesto laid the foundation for the country’s dissidence movement that paved the way for the fall of the communist regime during the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Because of its profound spiritual and philosophical nature, Charter 77 played a fundamental role in countering the Czechoslovak communist government’s human rights abuses, and was a pivotal force in shaping the events that led to the Velvet Revolution of 1989. This work examines the development of communist and reform movements in Czechoslovakia since the end of World War II as they were closely linked to one another.


Robert Biton  (United States)
Graduate student
Graduate Humanities
Dominican University of California

Current graduate humanities student. Undergraduate in Humanities as "Honors Scholar." Honors Thesis abstract enclosed.

  • Dissidence movement
  • Reform movement
  • Prague Spring
  • Velvet revolution
Person as Subject
  • Havel, Vaclav Patocka, Jan

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)