Vaclav Havel was a Czech statesman, poet, playwright, and author. He is best remembered for his service as the President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. He also served as the President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until its dissolution in 1992. Havel was a recipient of several awards including the Gandhi Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Jan Žižka was a Czech general and military leader. Today, he is regarded as a national hero in the Czech Republic for his role in the Battle of Grunwald and the Hussite Wars. Renowned for his innovative and unorthodox war tactics, Jan Žižka pioneered the usage of gunpowder. He has been immortalized in video games, novels, and films.
Miloš Zeman is a Czech politician and the current President of the Czech Republic. An influential politician, Zeman served as the Prime Minister of the country from 1998 to 2002. Miloš Zeman achieved popularity as the leader of the Social Democratic Party and is credited with reviving the party into one of the major political forces in the Czech Republic.
Albrecht von Wallenstein was a Bohemian statesman and military leader best remembered for his role in the Thirty Years' War. During the war, he served as the supreme commander of the armies of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. By the time of his death, Wallenstein was one of the most influential and richest men in the Holy Roman Empire.
The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubček, was no stranger to politics as a child, being the son of a Communist Party member. He resisted the Nazi occupation, while his liberal policies later led Soviet authorities to invade Czechoslovakia. He eventually died in a car crash.
John I of Bohemia reigned as the King of Bohemia from 1310 to 1346. Considered a national hero in Luxembourg, John also served as the Count of Durbuy, Arlon, and Luxembourg. John I of Bohemia is also remembered as the father of Charles IV, who went on to become one of the most important Holy Roman Emperors.
Czech president Edvard Beneš had come to power twice and resigned in both instances, first after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and then after the communist coup of 1948. Born to peasants in Bohemia, he had earned a doctorate of law and taught at universities before entering politics.
A seasoned economist, who had a long stint with the Czechoslovak State Bank, Václav Klaus later established the Civic Democratic Party and also served as the prime minister and the president of the Czech Republic. He was also a lecturer and a keen writer, with over 20 books to his credit.
Tomáš Masaryk was a Czechoslovak statesman, politician, philosopher, and sociologist. He co-founded Czechoslovakia alongside Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik and served as its first president from 14 November 1918 to 14 December 1935. Tomáš Masaryk is revered by the Czechs and Slovaks alike and is considered the founding father of Czechoslovakia.
Jan Masaryk was a Czech politician and diplomat best remembered for his service as Czechoslovakia's Foreign Minister from 21 July 1940 to 10 March 1948. He became a popular national figure during the Second World War when he made wartime broadcasts to occupied Czechoslovakia; his broadcasts were titled Speaking to My Country.
Remembered as the Father of the Republic in Austria, Karl Renner led his country as its third president. Previously, he had also led the first Austrian republic. Born into a humble family of wine-growers, he studied law and began his political career with the SDAP.
Wenceslaus III became King of Hungary following the death of Andrew III whose only daughter, Elizabeth, was engaged to Wenceslaus. Wenceslaus renounced his hereditary rights to Austria and claim to Hungary before succeeding his father as King of Bohemia and Poland. His reign in Bohemia was however cut-short as he was assassinated before he could invade his rival's territories in Poland.
One of the most prominent lawyers from Czechoslovakia, Emil Hácha later led his country as its president. A patron of literature and the arts, he also translated Jerome K. Jerome’s humorous novel Three Men in a Boat. He also became the president of the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
Karel Schwarzenberg is a Czech politician best known for his service as the Minister of Foreign Affairs on two occasions; from 2007 to 2009 and again from 2010 to 2013. He also served as Czech Republic's first Deputy Prime Minister in the Cabinet of Petr Nečas. Schwarzenberg is the recipient of several awards, including the Marietta and Friedrich Torberg Medal.
Born into a poor household, Klement Gottwald was an illegitimate child of a peasant but later grew up to become a prominent Communist leader and eventually the president and prime minister of Czechoslovakia. He was the first president of his country to die in office.
A seasoned lawyer, Bohuslav Sobotka later joined politics and led the Czech Social Democratic Party. Apart from handling the ministries of Industry and Finance, he led the Czech Republic as its prime minister. He also co-established the youth wing of his party and was part of the Chamber of Deputies.
Vladimír Remek is a Czech diplomat and politician who served as the Czech Ambassador to Russia from 2014 to 2018. A former military pilot and cosmonaut, Remek became the first Czechoslovak in space when he flew aboard Soyuz 28 in 1978. After his flight, Remek became a national hero and was honored with the Hero of the Soviet Union medal.
Czech politician and lawyer Věra Jourová presently serves as Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency. She has also served as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies; as Czech Minister for Regional Development; and as European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. She found place in the 2019 Time magazine list of 100 most influential people.
Czech Communist politician Rudolf Slánský, who served as the General Secretary and the number-two leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC), is noted for his crucial role in the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. He was one of the leading organizers of the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état. He later became the central victim of the Slánský trial and was executed at Pankrac Prison.
Though initially part of the Austro-Hungarian army, Czech army general Ludvík Svoboda joined the Czechoslovak legion during World War I. He later joined the Communist Party and was imprisoned during the Stalinist purge. He led Czechoslovakia as its president and also won honors such as the Lenin Peace Prize.
Czech communist leader Antonín Novotný was born into a working-class family and worked as a blacksmith in his early days. During the Nazi period, he spent a few days in the Mauthasen concentration camp. He eventually rose to be the first secretary of the Communist Party and the president of Czechoslovakia.
Jerzy Buzek is a Polish politician who served as the Prime Minister of Poland from 31 October 1997 to 19 October 2001. An influential politician, Buzek also served as the President of the European Parliament from 14 July 2009 to 17 January 2012. In 1998 and 2009, political weekly Wprost named Jerzy Buzek Person of the Year for his achievements.
Miloš Jakeš was a Czech politician best remembered for his service as the General Secretary of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party from 17 December 1987 to 24 November 1989. Miloš Jakeš resigned from his post amid the Velvet Revolution.
Czech communist leader Antonín Zápotocký was the son of Ladislav Zápotocký, who co-established the Czech Social Democratic Party. He spent 5 years in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp during the Nazi regime, and eventually rose to be the prime minister and president of Czechoslovakia.
Austrian chancellor Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg was a supporter of enlightened absolutism. Though he initially studied law, he later rose to be the State Chancellor of the Habsburg monarchy and stayed in the position for almost 40 years. He witnessed the Seven Years’ War during his tenure.
Czech historian-politician František Palacký, called Father of the Nation, was an influential figure of Czech National Revival. He established the Czech publishing house and cultural institution Matice česká, and was involved in founding the Czech National Museum. He is known for his capital work History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia and his federalist concept of Austro-Slavism.
Jan Fischer is a Czech politician best known for his service as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 9 April 2009 to 13 July 2010. An influential politician, Jan Fischer also served as the Minister of Finance from 2013 to 2014.
Bohemian nobleman Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg started his career with the Austrian army and served in the Austrian embassies to countries such as Portugal, Russia, and France. He later rose to be the foreign minister and the prime minister of the Austrian Empire and restored the Habsburg empire.
Mirek Topolánek is a Czech politician renowned for his service as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 16 August 2006 to 8 May 2009. He also served as the leader of the Civic Democratic Party from 15 December 2002 to 13 April 2010. Also a business manager, Mirek has been active since 2010 in the electric power industry.
Karel Havlíček Borovský was a Czech writer, politician, publisher, critic, poet, and journalist. He is credited with popularizing a newspaper called National News, which became one of the most popular and influential publications of the late 1840s under his guidance. Karel Havlíček Borovský's life and career inspired a biographical film which released in 1925.
Petr Nečas is a Czech retired politician best known for his service as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 28 June 2010 to 10 July 2013. From 2010 to 2013, Petr Nečas also served as the leader of the Civic Democratic Party, which he co-founded in 1991.
Artur London was a Czechoslovak communist politician who achieved national prominence when he appeared before the court in the Slánský Trial as a co-defendant in 1952. Accused of being a Titoist, Trotskyite, and Zionist, Artur London was sentenced to life in prison. However, he was released in 1955, post which he wrote the internationally-renowned book The Confession.
Ladislav Adamec was a Czechoslovak communist politician best known for his service as the Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia from 12 October 1988 to 10 December 1989. An important member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Ladislav Adamec also served as the Chairman of the party from 1989 to 1990.
Vladimír Špidla is a Czech politician best known for his service as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 12 July 2002 to 4 August 2004. From 2014 to 2017, Špidla was the chief adviser to Bohuslav Sobotka during the latter's term as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.
Alois Jirásek was a Czech writer best remembered for writing plays and historical novels. An important literary figure, Jirásek received four nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature during his illustrious career. Alois Jirásek is counted among the most prominent Czech writers of all time.
One of the greatest Jewish rabbis of his time, Adolf Jellinek is remembered for his association with the New Learning of Judaism and for his writings on the Kabbalah. He promoted the science of Judaism and penned the six-volume Bet ha-Midrash. He was the father of lawyer and professor Georg Jellinek.
Roman Prymula is a Czech physician and retired army colonel. He is best known for his service as the head of the government's Central Crisis Board during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in the Czech Republic. Roman Prymula also served as the Minister of Health for a brief period in 2020.
Czech politician Jiří Rusnok held the ministries of finance and trade before he became the governor of the Czech National Bank. He was made a caretaker prime minister for 7 months in 2013-2014, when the then-prime minister, Petr Nečas, resigned over a corruption and spying scandal.
Jiří Paroubek is a Czech politician best known for his service as the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 25 April 2005 to 4 September 2006. He also served as the leader of the Social Democratic Party from 2006 to 2010.
Remembered as one of the founders of Czechoslovakia, Alois Rašín was also the country’s first finance minister. While he got into trouble for his political activities in his early life, he later took to full-fledged politics by joining the Young Czechs. He was assassinated by a Communist revolutionary.
Ota Šik was a Czech politician and economist. He is best remembered for devising the New Economic Model of Czechoslovakia. After the Velvet Revolution, Ota Šik served as an economic advisor to the then-president of Czechoslovakia.
Initially a lawyer and a teacher, Zdeněk Mlynář later became an integral part of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. During the 1968 Prague Spring, he contributed to the party’s Action Programme. Later, he was forced into signing the Moscow Protocol and expelled from the Communist Party. He eventually moved to Austria.
Communist leader Oldrich Cernik supported the 1968 Prague Spring and was exiled to the Soviet Union with several other politicians. He served as the prime minister of Czechoslovakia for almost 2 years. After the departure of Alexander Dubček from the party, Černík remained aloof from the party reforms and was expelled.
Joseph Redlich was an Austrian historian and statesman. He is best remembered for writing prominent works on parliamentary institutions and the local government. Joseph Redlich was an influential politician before and during the First World War.
Václav Benda was a Czech intellectual, mathematician, and Roman Catholic activist. He is perhaps best remembered for creating a socio-political concept called Parallel Polis, which influenced the thought of other freethinkers like Vaclav Havel.
Václav Eusebius František, Prince of Lobkowicz was a Bohemian diplomat and military leader. He is best remembered for raising his own regiment within the Imperial Army to fight in the Thirty Years' War. A confidant of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, Václav Eusebius also served as the president of the Hofrat.