Vaclav Havel

"Truth prevails" (Czech: Pravda vítězí, Slovak: Pravda víťazí, Latin: Veritas vincit) is a motto, inscribed on the banner of the President of the Czech Republic, which is one of the national symbols according to the Czech Constitution.[1] The phrase also appears along the base of the Jan Hus Memorial in Prague. 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".[2] "Truth prevails" was adopted as motto by the first President of Czechoslovakia Tomáš Masaryk in 1918 and then echoed in Václav Havel's notion of "life in truth" and in his 1989 campaign slogan "Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred".[2] The Latin version "Veritas vincit" was in use on the presidential banner from 1990 to 1992.

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.[3] Hus' credo traditionally had been seen as testifying the moral and spiritual, rather than physical and military strength.[4] The Charter 77 movement had the motto "Truth prevails for those who live in truth".[5]