American Slovenes and 1941

  • Darko Friš Pedagoška fakulteta Univerze v Mariboru, SI-2000 Maribor, Koroška cesta 160
Keywords: American Slovenes, emigrants, Second World War, USA, isolationism, press


Alarmed by the German invasion of Poland, American Slovenes entered the year 1941 fearing that the horrors of war threatened their 'old homeland' as well. Their feelings swung between the hope that Yugoslavia would be able preserve its neutrality and the fear that it might join the Axis Powers or be destroyed by their military machine. On the basis of press articles by Slovenes of all political backgrounds published in the US at that time, the author shows that most American Slovenes experienced the war and the carving up of their 'old homeland' as a personal tragedy, although there were also some who welcomed the collapse of Yugoslavia with enthusiasm. Soon after the invasion of Yugoslavia, American Slovenes began organizing aid for their suffering compatriots by founding the Slovene Section of the Yugoslav Auxiliary Committee (Jugoslovanski pomožni odbor - Slovenska sekcija) and the Auxiliary Campaign of the Slovene Parishes (Pomožna akcija slovenskih župnij). American Slovenes enlisted in the US military forces thereby demonstrating their loyalty as naturalized citizens to their 'new homeland'. By the second half of 1941 several thousand Slovene emigrants were undergoing military training under the American flag and were, together with their host country, drawn into the Second World War on 7 December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.