A barrier against Bolshevism? The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Interwar Czechoslovakia
The article analyses reasons and contexts that allowed the transformation of the local Czechoslovak YMCA association from the wall against Bolshevism (which was the task ascribed to it by its North American sponsors in the immediate post-World War One period) into a unique site of encounter and dialogue between young Christians and Marxists in the second half of the 1930s. It first presents the settling of the association in the newly-created republic with the support of leading political circles around president Masaryk. In the second part, it introduces the tools the association used to foster the socio-cultural bonds between this country and Anglo-Saxon West (namely the spread of knowledge of English language and collective sports). Finally, it analyses changes at both national and international levels that reoriented the Czechoslovak YMCA towards the political left.