Vaclav Havel was born to an influential bourgeoisie family on October 5th, 1936 in Prague. As the son of a wealthy restaurant owner, Havel's childhood influences determined his future as a writer and a politician. His maternal grandfather was a Czech diplomat, and his paternal grandfather built the Lucerna Ballroom. Also, his uncle was the founder of the Barrandov Film Studios.

Havel's family was one of the most wealthy and influential in Prague. But the family lost their wealth and property when a Moscow-backed coup seized power in 1948. Denied a higher education, Havel worked as an apprentice to a lab technician and took night classes at grammar schools for a high school degree. When he was denied entrance to the liberal arts colleges for political reasons, Havel studied economics at the Czechoslovakian University of Technology. Upon graduating in 1957, he served in the army for two years, during which he found an interest in drama.

Afterwards, Havel worked as a stagehand at Prague's ABC Theater. The Theater on the Balustrade staged several of his plays that reflect the Czech society and often criticized the Communist government. During this time, Havel met Olga Splichalova, whom he married in 1964. Olga also worked in the Theater on the Balustrade and shared Havel's vision of a better Czechoslovakia.

During the period of the Prague Spring, from 1962 to 1968, artists were allowed to express themselves openly and many of Havel's plays were performed. After the Summer of 1968, Havel worked in a brewery and began publishing articles of the totalitarian control of the Soviet Union and of that of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. As a result, Havel's writings and plays were banned, and he declined the offer to leave Czechoslovakia. In 1975, he was imprisoned for writing a criticizing letter to the president, Gustav Husak. However, illegal copies traveled around Central Europe and aroused the people. In 1977, Havel and others created Charter 77, but they were arrested before it couldbe distributed. Havel was rearrested again upon writing "Power of the Powerless" after this incident. From 1977 to 1989, he was jailed for founding the Commitee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted. During his imprisonment, Havel wrote many letters to Olga, who supported him fully in his political movements. In 1989, the Civic Forum, another of Havel's founding groups, gained support of millions of Czechs. On December 29, 1989, the Communist Regime ended with the Velvet Revolution and Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia.

Through old ethnic divisions, the nation split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1992. The split was called the Velvet Divorce. Havel resigned his presidency rather than signing the Declaration of Slovakian Independence.

In 1996, Olga sadly died of cancer. After discovering that he had cancer himself, Havel had several surgeries to remove two small tumors and half of his right lung. During this period Havel met Dagmar Veskrmova, who became his second wife. Though his health was never the same since, this did not slow him down. In 1998, Havel was reelected as president. Not only did he establish the Czech Republic internationally, but he also tried to create a democratic government. In February 2, 2003, Vaclav Havel retired from Czech politics.