Czechoslovakia A Historic Encounter

Havel and Dubcek meet

All day the Prague apartment of Vaclav Havel had been filled with friends welcoming home Czechoslovakia's most famous dissident playwright. Only that morning Havel, 52, had been released from prison after serving half of an eight-month term for inciting antigovernment demonstrations. Most of the ) visitors had left, when the doorbell rang. The erect, sad-eyed man in the hallway seemed like a ghostly apparition, his palms outstretched almost sheepishly and on his face a mysterious but familiar half-smile. The apartment fell silent. Then someone murmured, "Dubcek." Said Alexander Dubcek, hero of 1968's Prague Spring: "I had to come."

In the years...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!