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Sokol Youth Organization Medal, Cechoslovakia

The Sokol movement (from the Czech word for falcon) is a Czech and Slavic youth movement and gymnastics organization founded in Prague in 1862 by Miroslav Tyrš and Jindrich Fügner. Primarily a fitness training center, the Sokol, also through lectures, discussions, and group outings provided what Tyrš viewed as physical, moral, and intellectual training for the nation. This training extended to members of all classes, and eventually to women and to Slavs in Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Ukrainian (Sokil), Macedonian and Russian lands. In many of these nations, the organization also served as an early precursor to the Scouting movements. Though officially an institution "above politics", the Sokol played an important part in the development of Czech nationalism, providing a forum for the spread of mass-based nationalist ideologies. The articles published in the Sokol journal, lectures held in the Sokol libraries, and theatrical performances at the massive gymnastic festivals called Slets (Czech plural: Slety) helped to craft and disseminate the Czech nationalist mythology and version of history. -From

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