The Situation of the Slovenes in the Neighbouring Countries at the Beginning of the Second World War
Keywords:Slovenen minorities, ethnic minority, Italy, Hungary, Austria
After the end of the First World War, Slovenes lived also on the other side of the boundaries of the Kingdom of SCS (later Yugoslavia). According to rough estimates, some 400,000 of them were distributed between the Republic of Austria (which became part of Germany in 1938) and the Kingdoms of Italy and Hungary. The political regimes of these countries differed as did their attitudes towards the ethnic minorities who lived within their boundaries. The situation changed most for the Slovenes in Primorska (the Littoral) who, after 1918 and 1920, found themselves in a foreign country which equated citizenship with nationality. The Slovenes in Carinthia, Styria and along the Raba river remained within the boundaries of Austria and Hungary which, juridically, became new states but were, unlike the former empire, conceived as ethnically homogeneous (national states). In view of such concept of the State, ethnic minorities were perceived as disturbing elements by the above three countries, which hence endeavoured to assimilate them as soon as possible. The uneven status of individual parts of the Slovene population influenced also the way they responded to the events of the Second World War, both locally and nationally.
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