Episode 24. Rok Stergar and Samuel Foster: Persecution and Public Administration in Post-Habsburg Slovenia
In this episode, we’re joined by Rok Stergar, Associate Professor at the University of Ljubljana and historian of the First World War, Nationalism and the Habsburg Empire in the long nineteenth century, to discuss the repercussions of Austria-Hungary’s collapse in the territories that now form the modern Republic of Slovenia. As well Slovenes, prior to the First World War, a politically and economically strong, and rather numerous German-speaking community also lived in these lands. With the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy, and this area’s incorporation into the newly founded Kingdom of Yugoslavia in December 1918, however, these local Germans suddenly found themselves the primary target of Slovene nationalist reprisals. As Stergar demonstrates, nowhere was this more apparent than in the sphere of public administration. Throughout the immediate post-war years, the new Yugoslav authorities conducted a series of institutional purges aimed at removing Germans and other non-Slovenes from all aspects of political life. This systematic persecution quickly expanded into the wider public sphere with cultural and educational institutions being forcibly appropriated without regard for any enshrined constitutional protections.