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Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe, 1918–1948$
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Mark Cornwall and R J W Evans

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263914

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263914.001.0001

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The Sokol and Czech Nationalism, 1918–1948

The Sokol and Czech Nationalism, 1918–1948

(p.185) 11 The Sokol and Czech Nationalism, 1918–1948
Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe, 1918–1948

Mark Dimond

British Academy

Jan Masaryk, the foreign minister of Czechoslovakia and son of the country's first president, pointed out just before his death in March 1948 that the gymnastics festival organised by the Sokol gymnastic movement was an opportunity for Czechoslovakia to show off its post-war socialist reforms that had ‘aroused considerable global interest’. The Sokol was not only a gymnastics organization; it was also an outlet for the expression of Czech national identity. Judging by Masaryk's comments, the Sokol appeared to be supportive of the Czech Weltanschauung of socialism that had emerged after the Red Army had liberated Czechoslovakia from Nazi rule in May 1945. This chapter argues that the Sokol had a split personality, one part based on socialist-thinking Jindřich Fügner's concept, the other on that of the nationalist-minded MiroslavTyrš. In addition to its pursuit of ethnic nationalism, this chapter examines the Sokol's ethnic policy, relationship with Slovakia, and support of the Communists.

Keywords:   Sokol, nationalism, ethnic policy, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, socialism, MiroslavTyrš, Jindřich Fügner, gymnastics, Communists

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