"Truth prevails" (Czech: Pravda vítězí, Slovak: Pravda víťazí, Latin: Veritas vincit) is the national motto of the Czech Republic. The motto appears on the standard of the President of the Czech Republic, which the Czech Constitution designates a national symbol. Before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the motto was the motto of Czechoslovakia and appeared on the standard of the President of Czechoslovakia as well.
The motto is believed to be derived from Jan Hus' phrase "Seek the truth, hear the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, hold the truth and defend the truth until death". The phrase thus appears along the base of the Jan Hus Memorial in Prague. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia, adopted the shortened phrase "truth prevails" as a presidential motto shortly after independence from Austria-Hungary in 1918. The sentiment was echoed over 75 years later in Václav Havel's notion of "life in truth" and in his famous statement "Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred" (Czech: Pravda a láska musí zvítězit nad lží a nenávistí). The Latin version "Veritas vincit" was in use on the presidential banner from 1990 to 1992 as a linguistically neutral compromise reached between the Czech and Slovak political representation.
The concept of truth has a long tradition in Czech political thought. Jan Hus and John Amos Comenius connected the truth with theological aspects, while in Masaryk's ethical concepts truth was seen as the opposite of lie. Hus' credo traditionally had been seen as testifying the moral and spiritual, rather than physical and military strength. The Charter 77 movement had the motto "Truth prevails for those who live in truth".
- "Czech Republic - Constitution". Servat.unibe.ch. 16 Dec 1992. Retrieved 6 Nov 2011.
- Holý, Ladislav (1996). The little Czech and the Great Czech Nation: national identity and the post-communist transformation of society. Cambridge University Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-521-55469-1.
- Gordon, Dane R. (1998). Philosophy in post-communist Europe. Rodopi. p. 57. ISBN 90-420-0358-8.
- Abrams, Bradley F. (2005). The struggle for the soul of the nation: Czech culture and the rise of communism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 100. ISBN 0-7425-3024-8.
- Willard, Dallas (2010). A Place for Truth: Leading Thinkers Explore Life's Hardest Questions. InterVarsity Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-8308-3845-7.
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