Austro-Slovenian War 1918-1919

A.) Pre-History

Various declarations which preceded the proclamation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (SHS) claimed the entire territory inhabited by speakers of the Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian languages. The Republic of Deutsch-Österreich (German Austria) on the other hand claimed all territories with a German population majority, including ethnic exclaves. Both claims conflicted, especially in southern Carinthia and in southern Styria, where the population was mixed.

B.) The War

On Nov. 1st, Major R. Maister took command of the regional military forces, whom he organized as a Styrian Border Force, used to promote the future Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Early in Dec. 1918, SHS forces occupied the city of Völkermarkt in Carinthia. On Dec. 5th 1918 the Provisional Assembly of Carinthia decided not to resist allied forces, but to resist SHS forces. On Dec.15th, Carinthian militia took 7 officers and 280 men prisoner. By early January, half of the territory SHS forces had occupied in southern Carinthia had been retaken.
Quickly, investigations and negotiations were begun. When allied investigators visited Maribor (Marburg) in southern Styria, a city with a then predominantly German-speaking population surrounded by a Slovenian-speaking countryside, the city's Germans demonstrated in front of city hall. A SHS oficer was hit; SHS forces opened fire, killing 8 and wounding 20 (Jan. 27th 1919). This event triggered fighting in the contested regions of Styria; the (pro-German) militia failed to take Radkersburg, which was held by SHS forces. On February 19th truce was signed and a emarcation line agreed upon, which was disadvantageous for Germn Austria, as it ran 6 km to the north of the language border.

C.) The Legacy

In Carinthia, a plebiscite was held in contested territories; the population opted for Austria. SHS forces evacuated the city of Radkersburg.

Geschichte (History), from Bad Radkersburg Online
REFERENCE Arnold Suppan, Militärische Auseinandersetzungen und Politische Grenzziehungen in der Untersteiermark und in Unterkärnten (Military Conflict and Political Border Drawing in Lower Styria and Lower Carinthia), pp. 355-362 in : Arnold Suppan, Zwischen Adria und Karawanken. Deutsche Geschichte im Osten Europas (Between Adria and Krawanken Mts., Germn History in Europe's East), Berlin : Siedler 2002 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on August 27th 2004, last revised on November 17th 2004

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