Ivan Tavčar and the National Question

From Slovenism to Yugoslavism


  • Zvonko Bergant


liberalism, Ivan Tavčar, national question, Slovenism, Yugoslavism


Like many of his contemporaries in the Austro-Hungarian State, Ivan Tavčar, one of the leading Carniolan liberals, placed the demand for the equality of the Slovene language in schools and other public institutions to the forefront of the national question. He saw education in the mother tongue as one of the foundations for a firm national awareness. However, after the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, he turned from being a promoter of Slovenism into an advocate of Yugoslavism. His activity, even from the nationalist viewpoint, was very much conditioned by his partisanship. His fundamental objective was to preserve the status of the party, ideology and class to which he belonged and which he represented. However, by promoting a more sophisticated, bourgeois culture, which was, according to him, attainable also through Slovene culture and language, he significantly contributed to the Slovenization and solidification of Slovene national awareness among the urban population in Carniola.