The Withdrawal of the Austro-Hungarian Army across the Slovene Territory in November 1918

  • Matjaž Bizjak Častnik za odnose z javnostmi, Poveljstvo sil Slovenske vojske, Vojašnica Ivan Cankar, Vrhnika
Keywords: State of Slovenes, Croates and Serbs, Austria-Hungary, First World War, National Government, Narodno Vijeće, National Council, Military, Slovenia


When, on 24 October 1918, the Italian army began its final offensive, it faced an internally disorganised Austro-Hungarian army whose soldiers, after an initial confrontaion and truce, agreed on 3 November, started to withdraw disorderly towards their respective homelands. A great part of this army withdrew across the Slovene territory which, at the time, was already part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (SCS). Although the National Government of the State greatly feared the mass of uncontrolled soldiers, it succesfully managed the withdrawal, thanks to a well organised railway network and military supervision. Although the estimates as to how many military actually withrew across the Slovene territory at that time vary greatly, it is certain that the number of the defeated Austro-Hungarian troops ranged between 250,000 and 300,000. These were carefully followed by the Italian army which sought to occupy as much territory and seize as much booty as possible.