Godina 1945. – vrijeme promjena u Sloveniji

Author(s): Zdenko Čepič
Subject(s): Local History / Microhistory, Military history, Political history, WW II and following years (1940 - 1949)
Published by: Hrvatski institut za povijest
Keywords: World War II; Slovenia; Yugoslavia; revolution;

Summary/Abstract: War changes the world. The world changes through war. War is a cause of changes. War is an agent of change. Wars are started due to a desire for change. Wars have long-term and far-reaching consequences. World War II was a war for changes. The consequences of World War II were the collapse, restoration, and transformation of the Yugoslav state. On one side there was aggression, occupation, and defeat, while on the other there was the struggle for freedom. The victors of the conflict were political and military forces that wanted not only the restoration of the Yugoslav state, but also its transformation. In order for this to take place, a change of government was needed. In summer 1941, when the war had not yet spread so far that it could truly be called a world war,Churchill and Roosevelt issued the Atlantic Charter, in which they set down the principles upon which the post-war world was to be built. One of the articles of the Charter set the principle that all nations had the right to choose the form of government under which they wanted to live. This heralded the changes to come. A time of changes (and settling scores) followed after the end of the war. Not only Yugoslavia, but the entire world began to change. Yugoslavia, even though it stood against those changes the aggressors wanted to implement during World War II, nonetheless underwent a period of fundamental change. These changes were the result of a successful political revolution. However, another revolution was undertaken by each nation that lived on the territory of the Yugoslav state, a revolution aimed at achieving its own interests. Without a doubt, this also applies to Slovenia and the Slovenians as a people. In the caseof Slovenia, there were two revolutions, one class-based and one national. The Slovenians undertook not only a class-based, i.e. communist revolution as part of the people’s liberation war, but also a national revolution, i.e. a struggle for the national emancipation and state independence of Slovenia. The Slovenian struggle for freedom under the leadership of the Liberation front (Oslobodilački front – OF) can be viewed as a national liberation struggle, as a revolution in the American sense, a so-called American revolution and its related struggle for independence. They achieved national emancipation and statehood. The war and their victory in it brought the Slovenians a country that they had never had before. The appointment of the People’s Government of Slovenia on 5 May 1945 in Ajdovščina was a symbolic expression of Slovenian statehood in the process of assuming political power. While it is true that, as a people’s/populargovernment, it had a class-based character, it was primarily seen as a national government, as an expression of Slovenian statehood achieved during the war. Regarding its ministers – including a female minister, since the Yugoslav leadership believed every federal unit’s government should include at least one woman – it was a coalition government since the ministers came from the ranks of the basic component groups of the OF founded in 1941. In its programme issued in autumn 1941, the OF promised it would take power overSlovenian territory after the end of the liberation struggle as a unified founding group. In addition, a member of the government was a pre-war politician, Franc Snoj, a minister of the royal government in exile who had returned from London to Slovenia in September 1944 and begun cooperating with the liberation movement. The changes in post-war Slovenia had a “unified” Yugoslav character, but still expressed certain particularities. What they had in common was precisely that which referred to their basic goal and was happening in summer, autumn, and winter 1945. These events were expressed in the strengthening of the power that had been achieved through armed struggle. The taking of power in Slovenia should be understood as an integral series of moves and activities of the new Yugoslav government made in order to build and stabilize the country near the end of the war and in its immediate aftermath. In orderto understand the situation and relations at the end of the war in Slovenia, one must first comprehend the situation and relations at the beginning of the war, during the war, and at the war’s end, both on the side of the liberation movement and among those who opposed the resistance movement for political reasons. There was no organised political opposition in post-war Slovenia, especially none whose foundations lay in the pre-war parties. There was no so-called bourgeois opposition in Slovenia. The political activities of Slovenianpoliticians from both traditional political camps – clerical and liberal – during the war, regarding both the liberation movement and the occupiers, forced them to emigrate towards the end of the war. The lack of opposition parties or individuals with political standing in lovenia doesn’t imply that Slovenia was the “reddest” part of the Yugoslav state or that it was the least critical towards the new regime. Slovenian politics, despite fulfilling the demands of the central government in all matters, had certain particularities in 1945. Some attempts were made to oppose centralism. To the leadership of the Yugoslav Party, and thus the state, having one’s own opinion and trying to realise it was “nationalism”. The foremost critic of this Slovenian “nationalism” was Edvard Kardelj. The state and Party assessed the political situation in Slovenia as poor. Factors that led to this assessment included the election results for the ConstituentAssembly (in two Slovenian districts, Gornja Radgona and Donja Lendava, most voters cast their votes in the “black box”) and the politically incorrect stance towards “reactionaries”; namely, this stance was judged as too liberal (“putrid liberalism”) and “social-democratic”. In addition to all the “errors” in the political activities of the Slovenian Party – which were, according to the opinion of the Yugoslav political leadership, reflected in the poor political situation in Slovenia – Kardelj criticised the Communist Party of Slovenia (Komunistička Partija Slovenije – KPS) as too “petit bourgeois” and for having too many intellectuals. Because of this, the Politburo of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia decided to make changes in the Party’s leadership. The political secretary of the KPS from its founding in April 1937, Franc Lekošek Luka, was replaced by Boris Kidrič. Regarding post-war repression, according to the reports about the situation in the country made by a British diplomat who had travelled throughout Yugoslavia in spring 1946 and met many of the local people, Slovenia was the “most repressive” and “depressive” republic. Immediately after the end of the war, Slovenia’s territory became the site of reprisals against military opponents both on a class and national basis, which lasted a good month after the war’send. Slovenia thus became the site of such acts committed by the victors of the war, and this was part of the general atmosphere in Yugoslavia at that time. These reprisals were extrajudicial and carried out mostly by Yugoslav Army units as revenge for crimes committed during the war. These events had an all-Yugoslav character, but Slovenia became the site of most reprisals due to itsgeographic position.

  • Issue Year: 48/2016
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 615-635
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: Croatian