Throughout east, central, and southeast Europe, postwar national historiographies largely represented the breakup of Austria-Hungary and the establishment of successor states as a foregone conclusion, as a process that could only end with the foundation of nation-states, and a significant part of Slovene historiography still clings to such an interpretation. The author attempts to revise this nationalist meta-narrative about the transition from Austria-Hungary to Yugoslavia. Describing the uncertain atmosphere and bringing the open-endedness of developments to the fore, the author contends that very little seemed predetermined in 1918; that other outcomes appeared possible; and that the establishment of the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs as well as its subsequent unification with Serbia was not a product of a prolonged and systematic effort, supported by a mass movement. More than anything, it was a reaction to the changed circumstances of late 1918, and the proclamation of independence caught many by surprise.

October 29, 1918: Independence Day

On October 29, 1918, Ljubljana/Laibach,1 the capital of the Austrian crownland of Carniola, was buzzing with excitement. Most shops and offices were closed, and masses of people were moving through the streets waving Slovene and Yugoslav, but also British, U.S., and Czech, flags. Women in folk costumes were carrying a hand-painted portrait of the U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson.2 The front-page article in Slovenec (The Slovene), the main paper of the Slovene People’s Party, claimed that the atmosphere was jubilant and “the air saturated with joy and triumph.”3 According to the liberal nationalist and the former town mayor, Ivan Hribar, even the weather was fit for the occasion. There were no clouds, and the horizon was crystal clear.4

The reason for all this excitement was the mass gathering that was supposed to take place in the afternoon, and where the independence of the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs—popularly called Yugoslavia—was to be proclaimed. Namely, after the National Councils in Ljubljana and Zagreb, the self-proclaimed representatives of the Habsburg South Slavs, had rejected Emperor Charles’ Manifesto from October 17, and after some rather careful considerations, the National Council for Slovenia and Istria (Narodni svet za Slovenijo in Istro) had finally approved a public gathering that should mark the final step on the road to independence. That voyage had started—or so it seemed—with the reading of the so-called May Declaration in the Vienna Reichsrat on May 30, 1917, almost a year and a half earlier, and during that time demands for autonomy evolved into the proclamation of an independent state.5

Yet, despite those developments and despite the big words and the excitement, not everyone was convinced the rupture was imminent and final. A day before, Laibacher Zeitung, the semi-official paper of the Carniolan provincial government, for instance, announced the coming “national revolution” only in a terse notice. “The National Council of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs has proclaimed a national holiday for tomorrow and determined that all business should cease on the day. Therefore, our paper will not be published tomorrow,” they wrote in a short notice on the fourth page, among local and provincial news.6 Seemingly, the editors felt that the wedding of the Romanian crown prince was much more important; it was reported on the third page, and it got almost 10 times as many lines. If the government paper’s journalists were failing to see what was coming—or perhaps just unwilling to face reality—they were certainly not the only ones. When magistrates at the provincial court got together on October 28 to discuss if they should attend the next day’s gathering, one of them concluded the meeting with a rather telling announcement: “We will look like fools if nothing comes of this Yugoslavia!”7

This simple, short sentence, preserved for posterity in the diary of Fran Milčinski, a judge and a well-known author, serves as a starting point for this article. It is not an attempt to explain why the Habsburg Empire had collapsed or how the new state was established, rather I try to deduce how it was possible that on the eve of proclamation of Yugoslav independence a reasonably well-connected and informed colleague of Milčinski still doubted that it would become a reality. How come there were still people who, despite all the developments of the preceding months, believed that other options than an independent nation-sate still existed at the end of October 1918?

Using the diary of Milčinski and other relevant sources, and focusing on the Slovene-speaking middle-class, well-informed people close to the levers of power, this article tries to find the answer to these questions and add some detail and nuance to the well-established narrative about the transition from Austria-Hungary to Yugoslavia.8 It gives a voice to the contemporaries, trying to reconstruct the atmosphere, focusing on uncertainties, on open-endedness of developments. It does this not to challenge the factual correctness of the existing chronology but to question the still prevailing nationalist meta-narrative, which sees the establishment of a nation-state as the unavoidable result of historical processes and as something that enjoyed overwhelming popular support. Admittedly, this is not a limited to Slovene historiography. Rather, such teleological narratives are to be found throughout East, Central, and Southeast Europe.9 In the article, however, I contend that very little was predetermined in 1918, that other outcomes appeared possible, and that the establishment of the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs as well as its subsequent unification with Serbia were not a product of a prolonged and systematic effort, supported by a mass movement. More than anything, they were a reaction to the changed circumstances of late 1918; that is why the proclamation of independence caught many by surprise.

Yugoslavia! Which Yugoslavia?

As Anton Korošec, the leader of the Yugoslav Club, the caucus of Slovene, Serb, and Croat members of the Austrian parliament, read the May Declaration on May 30, 1917, he presented the government with a program that threatened to destroy the political system of the Dual Monarchy. Namely, the crucial—the sole—demand of this program was the unification of “all the territories of the Monarchy inhabited by the Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs in an independent polity under the scepter of the Habsburg-Lothringen dynasty.”10 In short, the Yugoslav Club demanded a state within the Empire that would comprise parts of Cisleithania, parts of Hungary, as well as the entirety of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet in the following months, the creators of the Declaration slowly started to perceive the so-called Habsburg Clause as an option, rather than an integral part of the program. Whereas most sincerely wanted a Habsburg Yugoslavia in the spring of 1917, from the late autumn of the same year, they increasingly just wanted a Yugoslavia—with or without the Habsburgs. Total independence became a realistic alternative; for some, it became the preferred option. A semi-secret resolution from March 1918 already omitted the Habsburgs; Anton Korošec later claimed that they “threw out the Habsburg scepter” at that moment.11

However, the fact that most Slovene politicians had moved away from the Habsburgs in 1918 did not mean that Habsburg Yugoslavia was entirely out of the picture. After all, in January of 1918, even the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, and the U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson, still publicly opposed the breakup of Austria-Hungary.12 The notion that it was “Oriental,” even “Asiatic,” a national remnant of the past, had not yet prevailed among the Entente statesmen.13 It is no surprise then, that the Habsburg Empire still had a lot of supporters among Slovenes. Ivan Šusteršič, the land captain (Landeshauptmann) of Carniola and one of the leaders of the People’s Party, and his supporters, were only interested in Yugoslavia if it remained a part of a Habsburg realm; in fact, Šusteršič was even ready to accept a South Slav unit that would—contrary to the May Declaration’s demands—only include the Cisleithanian South Slavs and would not destroy the dualist structure of the Empire.14 His departure from the aims of the Declaration caused a split in the People’s Party, but some of his opponents also believed that the Habsburg state had a future and that a South Slav unit should be a part of it.15 Bishop of Ljubljana/Laibach, Anton Bonaventura Jeglič, who was instrumental in starting the so-called Declaration Movement, a mass movement in support of the May Declaration, in the autumn of 1917, understood his support primarily as a means to counter the plans to establish a Yugoslavia ruled by the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty. He wanted to reform and “strengthen Austria against its foreign enemies in the South” until almost the very end.16 His secretary, the leading Slovene ideologue of political Catholicism, Aleš Ušeničnik, published a booklet arguing for a Habsburg Yugoslavia as late as August 1918.17 As legitimists and devout Catholics, they all preferred a solution that would keep the Habsburg Empire, ruled by a Catholic dynasty, intact.

Many Slovene-speaking Social Democrats were also opposed to the partition of Austria-Hungary and wanted to reform it instead. In a February 1918 letter to Otto Bauer, Henrik Tuma, one of the most important Slovene social democrats, wrote that he had concluded that an equilibrium of European states was only possible if there existed a central European polity that “comprises . . . Poles, Czechoslovaks, Magyars, Austrian Germans, Romanians, and the South Slavs.”18 For a long time, this was also the official party line. A minority stuck to it even after the Yugoslav Social Democratic Party changed course and started supporting the Declaration Movement and its increasingly separatist course in the spring of 1918.19

Moreover, outside of political elites the support for the so-called Habsburg Clause remained widespread all through the spring and summer of 1918. For various reasons—inertia, pragmatism, a fear of the unknown, but also state patriotism—most people still could not imagine a non-Habsburg Yugoslavia. While there was enthusiasm for the Declaration—by the summer of 1918, more than 500 municipal councils and more than 327,000 individuals declared their support—an analysis of petitions in its support only confirms that Habsburg Yugoslavia still had a lot of adherents in the last months of 1917 and even in 1918. In fact, a clear majority of petitions favored a reformed Habsburg Empire, usually simply called Austria, and declared its loyalty towards Emperor Charles.20 For example, the refugees from the Bruck an der Leitha camp stated: “Long live the Yugoslav state under the scepter of the glorious House of Habsburg!” And the 170 Slovene and Croat miners from Fohnsdorf by Judenburg finished their statement of support with: “Long live Yugoslavia! Long live our Emperor Charles!”21 Not all the statements looked like empty phrases thrown in out of habit. On the contrary, many were clear political statements that did not just repeat the Habsburg Clause from the May Declaration but elaborated on it. The petition from a village near Dravograd/Unter-Drauburg, written by the local parish priest, thus said: “We do not want away from Austria, we want to stay Austrians, but we want a union of all the Austrian Yugoslavs in an independent state within the Monarchy.” Similarly, the 126 signees from the parish of Sveta Barbara v Halozah/St. Barbara in der Kollos were adamant on May 5, 1918: “We do not want to come under Serbian or Italian king, neither under Germany nor under Hungarians. We were, we are, and we want to remain Austrian Yugoslavs and we want to remain under the Austrian ruler.”22 The petition from the Carinthian village of Edling/Kazaze even included a colored map, showing the borders of future national units in a federalized Austria.23

Preference for an Austrian solution of the so-called South Slav question was not only evident from public statements. It also featured prominently in soldiers’ letters from the front and in their diaries, where—contrary to the letters—censorship was not a problem. Support for Yugoslavia was often expressed, but specifically for a Habsburg Yugoslavia, as was the hope that Emperor Charles would be the one who will initiate a thorough reform of the Dual Monarchy.24 The diary of Franc Rueh, a reserve officer with the 17th infantry regiment, is a rather typical example. Rueh saw Austria as his homeland, yet he grew increasingly critical of the political situation in the Empire. He was especially bitter because of the perceived German domination. However, he still supported the establishment of a Habsburg Yugoslavia, not full independence. As late as July 1918 he wrote approvingly: “Our people . . . demand their own independent state in Austria, in which all the brotherly Austrian Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes will be united.”25 A few months earlier, a priest from Lower Carniola analyzed the situation in his parish and the wider region in a private document, and enumerated several challenges, finally coming to the conclusion that “the realization of the idea about a South Slav state under the Habsburg scepter might save us from a general failure.”26

In an atmosphere like that, politicians had to hide their change of course as the liberal MP Vladimir Ravnihar acknowledged in his memoirs: “How careful we had to handle our ‘May Declaration’ not to hurt the ‘patriotic feelings’ of our good, religious common people. . . . In some places we had to play the ‘Austrian tune’ in public meetings to achieve the desired effect.”27 For the leaders of the Movement, the so-called Habsburg Clause increasingly represented just a way to conceal their true intentions, a means to avoid accusations of treason and hence an intervention of the imperial authorities. Some of the supporters quite possibly understood it similarly. However, the sheer quantity of pro-Habsburg petitions and declarations—but also their contents—indicate a level of state patriotism that cannot be ignored. Nationally motivated persecution in the first two years of the war and the state’s inability to provide for its citizens certainly diminished dynastic loyalty and state patriotism.28 Despite that, it looks like the Empire and the dynasty had not entirely exhausted their prewar reserves.29 Even in 1918, Habsburg Yugoslavia was still the preferred option for a large part of the politically active Slovene-speaking population. Less than a month before the proclamation of independence, on September 29, bishop Jeglič sincerely believed that “the common people are still loyal and devoted to Austria,” as he wrote in a letter to Austrian Prime Minister Max Hussarek.30

Besides, many of those who eventually favored full independence only switched sides in the last month or so. Fran Milčinski is a good example. His diary for the second half of 1917 indicates his support for the May Declaration, but there are no signs that he envisioned a breakup of Austria-Hungary and full independence. There are also several very positive remarks about the emperor. In the first half of 1918, as the situation continued to deteriorate, his enthusiasm for Charles started to disappear and his remarks became disparaging, but as late as August 1918 he criticized those who “cannot imagine a different and just Austria.”31 Only in September and October, as reforms were not forthcoming and a “different and just Austria” appeared ever more unlikely, the Austrian solution ceased to seem realistic to him. On October 17, when he heard that the emperor intends to establish an Illyria and thus fulfil the South Slav demands at least partially, he tersely observed: “Too late!”32 For Milčinski, full independence was not the realization of a lifelong dream, it was a pragmatic solution to a problem, and he got behind independence only when external and internal developments made it look inevitable. For him and many other Slovene/Yugoslav nationalists, the primary goal was Yugoslavia, i.e., a South Slav polity, and not necessarily an independent nation-state. As most of his contemporaries, he also never seriously entertained the possibility of an independent Slovenia. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a virtual consensus that the Slovenes could not survive on their own and that their existence as a nation could only be secured within the larger South Slav framework.33

Postwar national historiographies largely represented the breakup of Austria-Hungary and the establishment of successor states as a foregone conclusion, as a process that could only end like it did, and a large part of Slovene historiography still clings to such an interpretation. Yet it was nothing of the sorts. It was full of surprises, unrealized but realistic alternatives, and unexpected turns of events. Let us not forget that none other than Anton Korošec, the undisputed leader of separatists, later acknowledged that in the spring of 1918 he fully expected the Empire would last another winter.34 Consequently, it is hardly surprising that many less informed contemporaries still doubted independent Yugoslavia would become a reality at the end of October 1918, and that many people imagined realistic alternatives existed at the time. Looking at the events from the perspective of contemporaries, the doubts of Justice Travner, who was afraid he would look like a fool if nothing came of Yugoslavia, or of Justice Persche, who—just a few days earlier—warned that “things might suddenly take a turn; the population might support the Emperor,” were fully justified.35 Internal and external developments during the war, but especially after May 1917, did make the establishment of an independent South Slav nation-state more likely, yet in October 1918 there were still feasible alternatives—or at least the contemporaries had every reason to believe they existed.

While Milčinski thought that the emperor’s October 16 manifesto came too late, many did not and continued to imagine that a Habsburg Yugoslavia was feasible. The parish priest from Sorica/Zarz, a village in Upper Carniola, for instance, believed that the establishment of the National Council in Zagreb (Narodno vijeće) on October 18 was based on the emperor’s manifesto and was thus just a step towards the creation of a South Slav state within the Empire.36 Bishop Jeglič was also not convinced that the Empire is doomed. On October 16, 1918, he wrote in his diary: “As far as Yugoslavia is concerned, the situation is the following: it is a certainty; but the question remains, if we will get it in Austria or outside Austria.”37

The assumption that the Habsburg Empire might survive, must have appeared even more reasonable when contemporaries took into consideration the events and processes outside the political arena. There, all through the spring and summer of 1918, Austria-Hungary was very much alive—even if not especially well. It still functioned as an economic and administrative unit, despite visible signs of a creeping disintegration along national but also along regional lines.38 Soldiers were still fighting on several fronts, bureaucrats still manned their posts, university professors were getting ready for a new academic year, businesses were advertising their goods and services across the Empire, and people were still buying war bonds. In February, Bishop Jeglič was in Vienna debating the borders of the future Polish kingdom in the House of Lords; on the last day of the month he also visited Emperor Charles in Baden to thank him for the grand cross of the Order of Francis Joseph he received some months earlier.39 On July 6, Jakob Pagon, a war bonds promotor, traveled to Kranj/Krainburg and advertised the eight war loan.40 In the first days of September, judge Milčinski was still busy censoring theatre plays and the provincial government was pushing him to decide as quickly as possible.41 In the first half of October, Franc Rueh was trying to get a medical discharge from the army because of his “slight neurasthenia”—something he surely would not have bothered with had he believed that the Empire and its army were to disappear within weeks.42 Finally, the Yearbook of the Hermagoras Society for 1919—published in 1918, before the breakup of Austria-Hungary—was full of ads from all over Austria, mostly Vienna. This hugely popular yearbook of the largest Slovene Catholic association also included a 33-page article on the “Last Half Century in Austria” that devoted several pages to the economic developments; it ended with a short paragraph on “The Future.”43

The future of Austria and its economy was not only a subject of articles, but the government was also busy implementing measures that aimed at making sure it would be as bright as possible. The attempts to restart the local economies along the Upper Isonzo that started a few months after the frontline moved further to the west are an illustrative example. From the beginning of 1918, financial and in-kind assistance was made available for local businesses and farms, and the authorities organized lectures about the reconstruction. Houses were being rebuilt and temporary accommodation provided. The administrative structures—municipal administrations, gendarmerie stations, etc.—that had disappeared when the area became a war zone in 1915, were also re-established.44 In his memoirs, Henrik Tuma claimed that there were no signs in Trieste/Trst/Triest and Gorizia/Gorica/Görz that Austria-Hungary might collapse until the first days of October.45 In short, it was not business as usual in the autumn of 1918, but it was also far from certain that the Habsburg Empire would implode in a matter of weeks. On the contrary, it very much looked like it might be there to stay.

After the Break

Even after the proclamation of independence, it was not immediately and unambiguously obvious that the Empire ceased to exist. On the one hand, the new self-proclaimed State of the Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs and its authorities were set on establishing control over the imagined Yugoslav national territories and were acting as their sole government. On the other hand, Austrian authorities remained present and reasonably active in all these territories. The chief of Carniolan police, for instance, routinely promoted two of his agents on October 30, a day after independence had been proclaimed, and on the same day, the commander of the Ljubljana garrison demanded an explanation from all his officers present at the festivities the day before.46 The Emperor had not left his throne—and had even announced his plans for a far-reaching federalization of the Austrian part of the Dual Monarchy just two weeks previously. The ministers of Heinrich Lammasch’s government also remained in their posts. Finally, the army—although rapidly disintegrating—remained a sizable force and its intervention in the internal political developments seemed plausible.47

So, it is no wonder that contemporaries were confused. Franc Rueh’s actions illustrate that rather well. He was in Ljubljana-Laibach on leave from the army—his pregnant wife caught the Spanish flu—on October 29 and took part in the festivities surrounding the proclamation of independence. Yet on the same evening, he boarded the Vienna train and reported for duty the next day. Informed that his services were no longer needed, however, he returned to Ljubljana, but only after he had collected the paycheck for November.48 Fran Milčinski was similarly confused in his understanding of what independence meant; on the day it was proclaimed, he was wondering if he should really start officiating in Slovene the next day. He was also concerned if he would get his paycheck from Vienna on November 1.49 A parish priest in Upper Carniola also did not think that Austria vanished on October 29. According to him people “went to bed as Austrians on October 30 and woke up as free citizens of [Yugoslavia] on November 1.”50 Even the new authorities needed some time to realize that independence had really been proclaimed. The officials of the National Council were—on a few occasions at least—still sending reports to Vienna, and the National Council needed three days to finally relieve the Habsburg provincial governor (Landespräsident) of his duties.51 Lower-level bureaucrats required even more time. According to Milčinski, some judges were still issuing their judgments “in the name of the emperor” or officiating in German in early November. Portraits of Emperor Charles still decorated several offices.52

Admittedly, with the benefit of hindsight all of this could be written off as birthing pains, and some contemporaries—perhaps the majority—might have also understood it that way. Yet they could also understand it differently: as an episode, an intermezzo, or perhaps as a fulfilment of emperor’s plans to federalize the Empire.53 To wit, some certainly were not ready to leave the Habsburg state or abandon the dynasty. In the first week of November, Bishop Jeglič had to cancel a meeting of his clergy, because the pro-Habsburg priests were getting ready to pose a number of hard questions. Wasn’t the proclamation of independence contrary to the May Declaration’s stated aims? What about the oath of allegiance; could that be ignored? What would the common people say? Jeglič himself, who was an active participant of the proclamation of independence, assured them in a letter that the ties to the dynasty were not severed yet, although they were “out of Austria.”54 The bishop of Maribor, Mihael Napotnik, must have assumed the same, as he instructed the parish priests of his diocese to celebrate a mass on November 4, the emperor’s name day.55 It was only after Charles relinquished “every participation in the administration of the State” and absolved civil servants of their oath on November 11, that Jeglič finally concluded that it is “fair to assume he has given us up” and that all ties with the dynasty have been cut.56

Yet even after Charles effectively abdicated and left Vienna, some Slovenes were still hoping that a federation of the newly established nation-states might be created and that the Habsburgs could play a role in the new Yugoslav state. A week before October 29, Ivan Šusteršič, the pro-Habsburg provincial captain of Carniola, had concluded that independence could not be avoided; but he was also convinced that an “independent and sovereign” Yugoslavia should be a part of the “Habsburg-Lothringen United States” or, alternatively, the “Danubian United States.”57 According to Ottokar Landwehr von Pragenau, none other than Anton Korošec, the president of the National Council of the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, i.e., the de facto head of state of the new Yugoslavia, entertained similar ideas at the same time.58 About a year later, Ivan Šusteršič, who emigrated to Switzerland, was lobbying Italian diplomats for a joint Slovene-Croat state that would replace Yugoslavia; possibly his plans were coordinated with Charles Habsburg-Lothringen who had not given up on the restoration of his throne.59 Police reports from late 1918 and 1919 certainly suggest that there was considerable support for such ideas among Slovene-speakers, especially in Styria. According to a report from March 1919, for instance, even one of the gendarmes was telling his drinking buddies that he was sorry “old Austria” had collapsed.60 A British officer, who visited Styria in the spring of 1919 to inquire about the situation, also noticed widespread Habsburg nostalgia.61 Despite that, nothing happened, even as rumors about a return of the Habsburgs were still circulating at the beginning of the 1920s; supposedly, Slovene loyalists were in contact with Šusteršič, Croat emigres, and Charles himself.62

Unsurprisingly, all sorts of rumors were circulating immediately after the proclamation of independence, too. Namely, news often reached Ljubljana with a delay and even the members of the national council and the national government were not always up to speed with the developments in the wider environment.63 Some rumors, as the claim that U.S. president Wilson was in fact the Austrian crown prince Rudolf,64 were quickly dismissed by all but the most gullible, yet others helped add to the feeling of uncertainty and confusion; in this regard, the post-independence period did not much differ from war time, when even the wildest rumors, as Maureen Healy showed for Vienna, circulated widely.65 In post-independence Ljubljana, there were stories about the imminent arrival of British troops—Milčinski even imagined hearing the bagpipes—and about the looming Italian occupation.66 Some believed Anton Korošec had been murdered, and that there was going to be a putsch against the National Council in Zagreb.67 But most of all, people were guessing—even the better-informed ones—about the future shape of the polity they were going to be living in. Would the South Slav state that just proclaimed its independence stay independent or would it unite with Serbia; would it, perhaps, be annexed by Serbia, which was after all a part of the winning alliance? Would the state be a republic or a monarchy?68 And, if the latter, which dynasty would rule it? While the Serbian ruling family seemed like an obvious choice, the Habsburgs still had their supporters, as we have seen. There was talk about the former Montenegrin ruling family stepping in, even the French Bourbons and the British Prince Connaught were mentioned.69

Furthermore, there was another revolution brewing. While nationalists were trying to execute a national revolution, important parts of the population were more interested in a social one. Unrest had been growing for months; in June, Milčinski and a friend ran into a young man who answered the question if he was a Yugoslav with: “Do you know what Bolsheviks are? I was in Russia!”70 Some remote areas were already controlled by the so-called green cadres, groups of deserters, who were often armed and sometimes talked and dreamed about a Bolshevik-style revolution. The green cadres were most powerful in Croatia and Slavonia, but they were also present in some regions of present-day Slovenia.71 After October 29, the social unrest did not subside. On the contrary, in Croatia and Slavonia it just grew stronger, and former Carniola and Lower Styria were also on the verge of a violent upheaval. In the industrial Mežiška dolina, hundreds of workers were plundering urban settlements and farms at the beginning of November.72 Workers proclaimed a short-lived “Soviet republic” in a suburb of Novo mesto; red flags were waving in Ljubljana, too.73

In short, if the situation during the last months of the Habsburg rule was increasingly unpredictable, the first month of independence was in perhaps even more chaotic. So much so that on November 20, Fran Milčinski noted in his diary: “These days are difficult, like those at the beginning of the war. A man who does not see a clear and happy future is indisposed. . . . I have my doubts if we deserve our own state.”74 Almost simultaneously, Miljutin Zarnik, an ardent Yugoslav nationalist, concluded that “Serbian occupation and perhaps a dictatorship” were needed.75 Indeed, the unification of the short-lived State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs with the Kingdom of Serbia, was proclaimed on December 1, and it brought some stability and at least a semblance of finality.


Observed “from below,” from the “perspective of natives,” the breakup of Austria-Hungary comes across as a time of great uncertainty, a longer period of gradual transition, and not a clean break. From that perspective, it also becomes clear that the outcome was far from certain. All roads did not lead to independence, even if this was the end result. The roads not taken were there, alternatives were real—or at least they appeared as such to contemporaries. While an independent South Slav state certainly had some enthusiastic supporters even before the war had started, and while the idea gained a measure of support during the war, even most Slovene nationalists supported a Habsburg Yugoslavia almost until the very end, some even longer. Consequently, independence was in many respects not a result of a well-planned “national revolution”; rather, it was an outcome of a series of contingencies, some of which were well outside the control of local actors. Because of that, the autumn of 1918 was a time of uncertainty, of risk-taking, of shifting loyalties. In many respects, this was a journey into the unknown.

And the journey did not end in October or November, not even December of 1918. The Great War had stopped, but the fighting was going on, this time between newly established states. Already at the end of 1918, fighting over the demarcation between Yugoslavia and Austria had started. Not surprisingly, there was not a lot of enthusiasm amongst the men, who were to be mobilized again. Many simply refused the call-up. In February 1919, for example, the gendarmerie from Ljubljana arrested a 20-year-old blacksmith Janez Urek, who avoided joining the Yugoslav army, proclaiming loudly that he was done with fighting; he had fought for Emperor Charles and would not fight for Anton Korošec.76 Slovene authorities in Lower Styria had to raise the pay of its soldiers at the beginning of November; otherwise, they simply went home or joined the better-paid German “volunteer” units; the green cadres were hiding in the forests again.77 People, mostly women, were also still standing in bread lines as the scarcity of food was a problem well into the 1920s.78 Also, bureaucratic procedures and habits, laws and the currency, and many other things did not really change, as they did not in other successor states, for instance Czechoslovakia.79 In short, there was no rupture on several levels as the transition was only a part of a much longer transformation.80 The formerly Habsburg northwest of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes—as Yugoslavia was officially called after the unification of the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs with Serbia of December 1—was in many respects a Habsburg Yugoslavia, only without the Habsburgs.


I would like to thank Laurence Cole, Jernej Kosi, John Paul Newman, Alexander Maxwell, Dominique K. Reill, the participants of the 2017 conference “Paths of Transition/Transformation: Local Societies in Southeastern Europe in Transition from Empires to Nation States after World War I” held at the Institut für deutsche Kultur und Geschichte Südosteuropas in Munich, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article. I would also like to acknowledge the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research grant “Post-Imperial Transitions and Transformations from a Local Perspective: Slovene Borderlands Between the Dual Monarchy and Nation States (1918–1923)” No. J6-1801 (A) and research grant “Nourishing Victory: Food Supply and Post-Imperial Transition in Slovenia and the Czech Lands, 1918–1923,” N6-0190).


I use official place names throughout the article. In the Habsburg period, most places had two (e.g., Ljubljana/Laibach), some had three; the Yugoslav authorities made Slovene the only official language and I use Slovene-only names for the post-Habsburg era. Where English place names exist, I use those. I use the term Yugoslavia for both the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, established on October 29, 1918; the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, established on December 1, 1918; and the imagined South Slav unit of the Habsburg Empire.


“Manifestacijski sprevod v Ljubljani [The Parade in Ljubljana],” Slovenski narod, 30 October 1918, 1, 2; Željko Oset and Kristina Ferk, Porajanje Jugoslavije: Doživljaji Ljubljančana (Miljutina Zarnika) leta 1918 [The Birth of Yugoslavia: The Experiences of Miljutin Zarnik from Ljubljana in 1918] (Nova Gorica: Založba Univerze v Novi Gorici, 2020), 48.


“Dan svobode [The Day of Freedom],” Slovenec, 29 October 1918, 1.


Ivan Hribar, Moji spomini [My Memoirs], ed. Vasilij Melik (Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, 1984), vol. 2: 274, 275.


Jurij Perovšek, Slovenska osamosvojitev v letu 1918: Študija o slovenski državnosti v Državi Slovencev, Hrvatov in Srbov [Slovene Independence in 1918] (Ljubljana: Modrijan, 1998), 51–54; Janko Pleterski, Prva odločitev Slovencev za Jugoslavijo: Politika na domačih tleh med vojno 19141918 [The First Decision of Slovenes for Slovenia: Domestic Politics during the War of 1914–1918] (Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, 1971), 259–267; Walter Lukan, Die Habsburgermonarchie und die Slowenen im Ersten Weltkrieg (Vienna: New Academic Press, 2017), 199–202.


“Nationalfeiertag,” Laibacher Zeitung, 28 October 1918, 1646.


Fran Milčinski, Dnevnik 19141920 [Diary 1914–1920], ed. Goran Schmidt (Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, 2000), 384.


See above all: Bojan Balkovec, Prva slovenska vlada 19181921 [The First Slovene Government 1918–1921] (Ljubljana: Znanstveno in publicistično središče, 1992); Jurij Perovšek, “Die Slovenen in der Umbruchszeit und im neuen jugoslavischen Staat (1918–1929),” in Harald Heppner and Eduard Staudinger, eds., Region und Umbruch 1918: Zur Geschichte alternativer Ordnungsversuche (Bern: Peter Lang, 2001), 69–85; Idem, Slovenska osamosvojitev; Idem, Slovenski prevrat 1918: Položaj Slovencev v Državi Slovencev, Hrvatov in Srbov [Slovene Revolution 1918: Position of Slovenes in the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs] (Ljubljana: Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino, 2018); Pleterski, Prva odločitev; Momčilo Zečević, Slovenska ljudska stranka in jugoslovansko zedinjenje 19171921: Od majniške deklaracije do vidovdanske ustave [Slovene People’s Party and the Yugoslav Unification 1917–1921] (Maribor: Obzorja, 1977). Cf. Tamara Griesser-Pečar, “Slovensko slovo od Habsburžanov [Slovene Farwell to the Habsburgs],” Studia Historica Slovenica 19, No. 2 (2019): 301–332; Andrej Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije do habsburške detronizacije: Slovenska politika v času zadnjega habsburškega vladarja Karla [From May Declaration to Habsburg Dethronisation: Slovene Politics in the Era of Charles, the Last Habsburg Ruler] (Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba, 2016).


Wlodzimierz Borodziej and Maciej Górny, Forgotten Wars: Central and Eastern Europe, 19121916, trans. Jasper Tilbury (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 3, 4.


Lukan, Die Habsburgermonarchie und die Slowenen, 101, 102; Pleterski, Prva odločitev, 116, 117; Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 60–62.


Lukan, Die Habsburgermonarchie und die Slowenen, 147; Pleterski, Prva odločitev, 166–172.


Mark Cornwall, The Undermining of Austria-Hungary: The Battle for Hearts and Minds (Houndmills, London, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 179; Zečević, Slovenska ljudska stranka, 93, 94. For the war-time evolution of Wilson’s policies towards the Habsburg Empire, see Larry Wolff, Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020), 56–114.


Glenda Sluga, “Bodies, Souls and Sovereignty: The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Legitimacy of Nations,” Ethnicities 2, No. 1 (2001): 207–232, doi: 10.1177/146879680100100203.


Lukan, Die Habsburgermonarchie und die Slowenen, 136–139, 189; Janko Pleterski, Dr. Ivan Šušteršič, 1863–1925: Pot prvaka slovenskega političnega katolicizma [Dr Ivan Šušteršič: Path of Slovene Political Catholicism’s Leader] (Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 1998), 401–439; Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 50–168; Idem, Ivan Šusteršič, der ungekrönte Herzog von Krain: die slowenische katholische Bewegung zwischen trialistischem Reformkonzept und jugoslawischer Staatsidee (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2012), 314–343; Zečević, Slovenska ljudska stranka, 80 and passim.


Pavlina Bobič, War and Faith: The Catholic Church in Slovenia, 19141918 (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2012), 197–207; Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 140–149.


Anton Bonaventura Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik: Znanstvenokritična izdaja [Jeglič’s Diary: A Critical Edition], ed. Blaž Otrin and Marija Čipić Rehar (Celje, Ljubljana: Celjska Mohorjeva družba, Nadškofijski arhiv, 2015), 730. See also Jeglič’s anonymous letter to the Viennese Christian Social paper Reichspost: [Anton Bonaventura Jeglič], “Die Spaltung unter den Slovenen,” Reichspost, 10 January 1918, 4. Jeglič acknowledged the authorship in his diary. See Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 740.


Alexius [Aleš] Ušeničnik, Um die Jugoslavija: Eine Apologie (Laibach: Verlag der Katholischen Buchhandlung, 1918); Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 140–142; Peter Vodopivec, “O slovenski publicistiki, o Slovencih, jugoslovanstvu in Jugoslaviji leta 1918 [About Slovene Journalism, Slovenes, Yugoslavism, and Yugoslavia in 1918],” in Aleš Gabrič, ed. Slovenski prelom 1918 (Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, 2019), 27, 28.


Henrik Tuma, Pisma: osebnosti in dogodki (18931935) [Letters: Personalities and Events (1838–1935)], ed. Branko Marušič (Ljubljana, Trieste: Zgodovinski inštitut Milka Kosa ZRC SAZU, Devin, 1994), 16. See also Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 85–87.


Pleterski, Prva odločitev, 185–205; Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 287. For a slightly outdated but still valuable analysis of Slovene social democratic politics during the last two war years, see Dušan Kermavner, Ivan Cankar in slovenska politika leta 1918 [Ivan Cankar and Slovene Politics in 1918] (Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, 1968).


Vlasta Stavbar, Majniška deklaracija in deklaracijsko gibanje: slovenska politika v habsburški monarhiji, od volilne reforme do nove države (19061918) [May Declaration and the Declaration Movement] (Maribor: Založba Pivec, 2017), 81, 85.


Ibid., 86, 90, 91.


Ibid., 92, 131, 211.


Ibid., 214.


Walter Lukan, “Die politische Meinung der slowenischen Bevölkerung 1917/18 im Spiegel der Zensurberichte des Gemeinsamen Zentralnachweisbureaus für Kriegsgefangene in Wien: (mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Verfassers der Berichte – Milan Hodža),” in Jiří Pokorný et al., eds., Nationalismus, Gesellschaft und Kultur in Mitteleuropa im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert: Festschrift für Jiří Kořalka zum 75. Geburtstag = Nacionalismus, společnost a kultura ve střední Evropě 19. a 20. století: Pocta Jiřímu Kořalkovi k 75. narozeninám (Prague: Karolinum, 2007), 217–283; Petra Svoljšak, “Slovenci v primežu avstrijske censure [Slovenes in the Vice of Austrian Censors],” in Katja Kleindienst and Peter Vodopivec, eds., Velika vojna in Slovenci: 19141918 (Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, 2005), 124–127. For an analysis of soldiers’ attitudes across the Empire, see Iris Rachamimov, “Arbiters of Allegiance: Austro-Hungarian Censors during World War I,” in Pieter M. Judson and Marsha L. Rozenblit, eds., Constructing Nationalities in East Central Europe (New York, Oxford: Berghahn, 2005), 157–77; Idem, “Imperial Loyalties and Private Concerns: Nation, Class, and State in the Correspondence of Austro-Hungarian POWs in Russia, 1916–1918,” Austrian History Yearbook 31 (2000): 87–105, doi: 10.1017/S0067237800014375.


Franc Rueh, Moj dnevnik, 19151918 [My Diary, 1915–1918], ed. Igor Vilfan (Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, 1999), 218.


Archdiocesan Archives in Ljubljana, Visitation reports (NŠAL 14), Box 15, Škocjan pri Mokronogu 1918, Promemoria, April 28, 1918. I thank Jan Bernot for forwarding this informative document to me.


Vladimir Ravnihar, Mojega življenja pot: Spomini dr. Vladimirja Ravniharja [The Path of My Life: Memoirs of Dr Vladimir Ravnihar], ed. Janez Cvirn et al. (Ljubljana: Oddelek za zgodovino Filozofske fakultete, 1997), 270.


John Deak and Jonathan E. Gumz, “How to Break a State: The Habsburg Monarchy’s Internal War, 1914–1918,” The American Historical Review 122, no. 4 (2017): 1105–1136, doi 10.1093/ahr/122.4.1105; Laurence Cole, “Questions of Nationalization in the Habsburg Monarchy,” in Nico Wouters and Laurence Van Ypersele, eds., Nations, Identities and the First World War (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), 126–129; Pieter M. Judson, The Habsburg Empire: A New History (Cambridge, MA, London: Harvard University Press, 2016), 385–428; Idem, “‘Where our commonality is necessary . . .’: Rethinking the End of the Habsburg Monarchy,” Austrian History Yearbook 48 (2017): 13–17, doi: 10.1017/S0067237816000527.


Laurence Cole, Military Culture and Popular Patriotism in Late Imperial Austria (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014); Daniel L. Unowsky and Laurence Cole, eds., The Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances, and State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy (New York, Oxford: Berghahn, 2007); Daniel L. Unowsky, The Pomp and Politics of Patriotism: Imperial Celebrations in Habsburg Austria, 18481916 (West Lafayette, Ind: Purdue University Press, 2005). For the Slovene-speaking population, see Rok Stergar, “National Indifference in the Heyday of Nationalist Mobilization? Ljubljana Military Veterans and the Language of Command,” Austrian History Yearbook 43 (2012): 45–58, doi: 10.1017/S0067237811000580.


Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 760.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 363.


Ibid., 378.


Peter Vodopivec, “Slovenes and Yugoslavia, 1918–1991,” East European Politics and Societies 6, no. 3 (1992): 224–225, doi: 10.1177/0888325492006003002. Interestingly, Arnold J. Toynbee was among the rare exceptions who imagined that an independent Slovenia might be a part of the post-war rearrangement of Central Europe. See Arnold J. Toynbee, Nationality and the War (London, Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1915), 250–260.


Lukan, Die Habsburgermonarchie und die Slowenen, 184. For an overview of relevant Slovene historiography, see footnote 8.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 378.


Nataša Budna Kodrič, “Prva svetovna vojna iz župnijskih kronik (Leto 1918) [World War I in Parish Chronicles (Year 1918)],” Loški razgledi 45, No. 1 (1998): 162, 163.


Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 762.


Judson, The Habsburg Empire, 430–432; Ernst Langthaler, “Dissolution before Dissolution: The Crisis of the Wartime Food Regime in Austria-Hungary,” in Richard P. Tucker et al., eds., Environmental Histories of the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 60, 61.


Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 747.


Archives of the Republic of Slovenia (=ARS), Provincial Government of Slovenia, Department of Internal Affairs, AS 61, box 2, 61/A/1/168, document 547pr (1919). Interestingly, the 37K 27H of his travel expenses were refunded by the post-Habsburg National Government for Slovenia in November or December 1918.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 364.


Rueh, Moj dnevnik, 233, 234.


Koledar Družbe sv. Mohorja: za navadno leto 1919 [Yearbook of the Hermagoras Society for 1919] (Klagenfurt: Mohorjeva družba, 1918), 110–142.


Jernej Komac, “‘Eno pa bomo lahko rekli: Doma smo!’ Prebivalstvo Bovškega in njegova izkušnja vélike vojne 1914–1918 [The Inhabitants of the Bovec Region and Their Experiences in the Great War, 1914–1918],” MA Thesis (University in Ljubljana, 2018), 78–86; Petra Svoljšak, “Obnavljanje Goriške [Reconstruction of the Province of Gorizia],” in Ines Beguš and Marko Klavora, eds., Begunci: slovenski begunci s soške fronte (Nova Gorica: Goriški muzej Kromberk, 2016), 98–105.


Henrik Tuma, Iz mojega življenja: spomini, misli, izpovedi [From My Life], ed. Branko Marušič (Ljubljana: Založba Tuma, 1997), 374.


ARS, Provincial Government of Slovenia, Department of Internal Affairs, AS 61, box 17, document 2379pr; Oset and Ferk, Porajanje Jugoslavije, 51.


Manfried Rauchensteiner, The First World War and the End of the Habsburg Monarchy, 19141918, trans. Alex J. Kay and Anna Güttel, Revised and expanded edition (Vienna, 2014), 985–1010.


Rueh, Moj dnevnik, 233, 234.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 386, 387.


Budna Kodrič, “Prva svetovna vojna iz župnijskih kronik,” 163.


Pleterski, Prva odločitev, 267.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 389, 391, 401.


Judson, The Habsburg Empire, 433; Lukan, Die Habsburgermonarchie und die Slowenen, 193; Alexander Watson, Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I (New York: Basic Books, 2014), 544.


Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 766.


Marjan Toš, “Prevratni dnevi 1918/1919 pri Lenartu v Slovenskih goricah [The 1918/1919 Revolutionary Days in Lenart in Slovenske gorice],” Časopis za zgodovino in narodopisje 33, no. 2 (1997): 323.


Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 767, 768.


Ivan Šusteršič, “Dinastično vprašanje [The Dynastic Question],” Resnica, 26 October 1918, 2; Idem, “Izolirana Jugoslavija ali Zedinjene države [An Isolated Yugoslavia or the United States],” Ibidem.


Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 182, 183. Cf. Feliks J. Bister, “Majestät, es ist zu spät...”: Anton Korošec und die slovenische Politik im Wiener Reichsrat bis 1918 (Vienna, Cologne, Weimar: Böhlau, 1995), 314.


Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 210–216.


ARS, Provincial Government of Slovenia, Department of Internal Affairs, AS 61, box 17, document 2170pr.


Jerome Jareb, “LeRoy King’s Reports from Croatia, March to May 1919,” Journal of Croatian Studies 1 (1960): 147 and passim, 10.5840/jcroatstud196018; Janko Pleterski, “Ameriška poročila iz Hrvaške in Slovenije spomladi 1919 [American Reports from Croatia and Slovenia in the Spring of 1919],” Prispevki za novejšo zgodovino 33, No. 1/2 (1993): 208.


Rahten, Od Majniške deklaracije, 250, 251. On the more numerous and more active Croat pro-Habsburg opposition and emigres and their eventual evolution into the Fascist Ustaše, see: John Paul Newman, “Shades of Empire: Austro-Hungarian Officers, Frankists, and the Afterlives of Austria-Hungary in Croatia, 1918–1929,” in Paul Miller and Claire Morelon, eds., Embers of Empire: Continuity and Rupture in the Habsburg Successor States After 1918 (New York, Oxford: Berghahn, 2019), 157–174. See also Christopher Brennan, “‘Hoch Den Kaiser!’: The Legitimist Cause in Early Postwar Austria,” in Tomasz Pudłocki and Kamil Ruszała, eds., Postwar Continuity and New Challenges in Central Europe, 19181923 (New York, Abindgon: Routledge, 2022), 114–172.


Zečević, Slovenska ljudska stranka, 160.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 410.


Maureen Healy, Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire: Total War and Everyday Life in World War I (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 122–162. For rumors in post-independence Prague, see Claire Morelon, “State Legitimacy and Continuity between the Habsburg Empire and Czechoslovakia: The 1918 Transition in Prague,” in Claire Morelon and Paul Miller, eds., Embers of Empire: Continuity and Rupture in the Habsburg Successor States After 1918 (New York, Oxford: Berghahn, 2019), 43–63.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 391–399. See also Oset and Ferk, Porajanje Jugoslavije, 66.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 398; Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 769.


Jeglič, Jegličev dnevnik, 765–769; Milčinski, Dnevnik, 402, 403.


“Bodoče ustave [Future Constitutions],” Resnica, 26 October, 1, 2. In 1903, prince Arthur of Connaught, the son of queen Victoria, has already been mentioned in connection with the conspiracy to put him on the Serbian throne, and in 1912, he was suggested as a suitable candidate for the ruler of newly independent Albania. R. J. Crampton, The Hollow détente: Anglo-German Relations in the Balkans, 19111914 (London, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: G. Prior, 1979), 119; Slobodan G. Markovich, “Anglophiles in Balkan Christian States (1862–1920),” Balcanica 40 (2009): 110.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 345.


Jakub S. Beneš, “The Green Cadres and the Collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918,” Past & Present 236, no. 1 (2017): 217, 218, doi: 10.1093/pastj/gtx028. See also: John Paul Newman, “Post-Imperial and Post-War Violence in the South Slav Lands, 1917–1923,” Contemporary European History 19, no. 3 (2010): 249–265, doi: 10.1017/S0960777310000159.


Lojze Ude, Boj za severno slovensko mejo 19181919 [The Fight for the Slovene North Border] (Maribor: Obzorja, 1977), 141.


Ivo Banac, “‘Emperor Karl Has Become a Comitadji’: The Croatian Disturbances of Autumn 1918,” The Slavonic and East European Review 70, no. 2 (1992): 301, 302; Beneš, “The Green Cadres,” 30; Milčinski, Dnevnik, 405. For a recent overview, see: Lev Centrih, “‘Govorile so celo strojnice!’ Boljševizem v prevratni dobi na Slovenskem: Med preprostim ljudskim uporništvom in vplivi ruske revolucije [‘Even Machine Guns Spoke!’ Bolshevism in Slovenia in the Revolutionary Period: Between Popular Unrest and the Influence of the Russian Revolution],” in Aleš Gabrič, ed., Slovenski prelom 1918 (Ljubljana: Slovenska matica, 2019), 311–327.


Milčinski, Dnevnik, 404.


Oset and Ferk, Porajanje Jugoslavije, 96.


ARS, Provincial Government of Slovenia, Department of Internal Affairs, AS 61, box 3, document 1163pr.


Beneš, “The Green Cadres,” 33; Janez J. Švajncer, “Slovenska vojska 1918/1919 in upor julija 1919 [Slovene Army 1918/1919 and the July 1919 Mutiny],” Časopis za zgodovino in narodopisje 58, no. 2 (1987): 155.


Maja Godina-Golija, Prehrana v Mariboru v dvajsetih in tridesetih letih 20. stoletja [Nutrition in Maribor in 1920s and 1930s] (Maribor: Obzorja, 1996); Bojan Himmelreich, “Preskrbljenost Celja z živili v kriznih časih: Mikroštudija razmer v času po prvi in pred drugo svetovno vojno [Celje Food Supply in a Time of Crisis: A Microstudy od the Situation after World War I and before World War II],” Zgodovina za vse 7, no. 2 (2000): 51–64.


Morelon, “State Legitimacy and Continuity,” 43–63.


For an informative discussion of transformation, see Florian Kührer-Wielach and Sarah Lemmen, “Transformation in East Central Europe: 1918 and 1989: A Comparative Approach,” European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire 23, no. 4 (2016): 573–579, doi: 10.1080/13507486.2016.1178895. For an insightful discussion of ruptures and continuities, see Gábor Egry, “The Leftover Empire? Imperial Legacies and Statehood in the Successor States of Austria-Hungary,” in Tomasz Pudłocki and Kamil Ruszała, eds., Postwar Continuity and New Challenges in Central Europe, 19181923: The War That Never Ended (New York, Abingdon: Routledge, 2022), 81–102.

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