A History of Slovenia
Edited By Oto Luthar
FROM THE HABSBURG MONARCHY TO THE KINGDOM OF YUGOSLAVIA 369
369 FROM THE HAbSbURG MONARCHY TO THE kINGDOM OF YUGOSLAVIA DIVIDED BY THE GREAT WAR The so-called Great War stands as a landmark and a turning point in the land- scape of modern Slovenian history. In Central Europe, as in many other parts of the continent, it was a noted “watershed event” that changed almost every- thing, from political perspectives – now focused on nationalist campaigns – to the discourse of culture. The war also exposed everyday life, art, and the economy in different ways, best illustrated in private letters and diaries. This emotionally charged material suggests, above all, that the war in southeast- ern Europe was different from the war familiar from descriptions of Verdun, Ypres, or Arras. The difference becomes more apparent when a human face is put on conflicts in Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Galicia, and the Soča (Isonzo) Valley. And the gap widens when voice is given to soldiers in the trenches and to their families at home. This contrast also becomes obvious when one realizes that for the Austrians the war in the southeast was actually a punitive expedition against the Serbs. Traces of this difference, and the shift from enthusiasm in 1914 to de- pression and frustration from 1915 onwards, are visible everywhere. Besides diaries, letters, and articles, public and private archives also contain a vast number of photographs, paintings, maps, sketches, lyrics, and amateur litera- ture written by soldiers and their relatives. Their writings repeatedly and in- cessantly produce an encounter with thoughts about their...
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