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The Land Between

A History of Slovenia

Oto Luthar

This is a history of a space – a space between the Panonian plain in the East and the most northernmost bay in the Adriatic in the West, from the eastern Alps in the North and the Dinaridic mountain area in the South. It is also a history of all the different people who lived in this area. The authors show that the Slavs did not settle an empty space and simply replace the Celto-Roman inhabitants of earlier times; they are, on the contrary, presented as the result of reciprocal acculturation. The authors show that the Slovenes made more than two important appearances throughout the entire feudal era; the same holds for later periods, especially for the twentieth century. This book offers a concise and complete history of an area that finally became an integral part of Central Europe and the Balkans.

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FROM MONARCHY TO KINGDOM

Extract

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 real- izes 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 depres- sion 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 literature written by soldiers and their relatives. Their writings repeatedly and incessantly pro- duce an encounter with thoughts about their inability to articulate the utter madness that surrounded them: No...

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