"80 Jahre Volksabstimmung in Kärnten"- 80th Anniv. of Carinthian Referendum
at Landesmuseum Kärnten
, Austria, Klagenfurt
|This exhibition shows historical material in occasion of the Carinthian Referendum, October 10, 1920: in the Peace Treaty of Saint-Germain (1919) it was decided that a plebiscite was to be held in the border territories of southeastern Carinthia on whether this area should stay within Austrian territory.The "zone A" (with a high percentage of Slovene speaking people) returned a majority of 59 percent (22,025 votes) in favour of Austria (with 41 percent or 15,279 people voting in favour of Yugoslavia). The clear majority of votes in favour of Austria in "zone A" had the effect that no plebiscite was held in "zone B" (area to the north of zone A with a small number of Slovene speaking inhabitants).
Carinthian Resistance Movement (1918/1919): Carinthian militias offered resistance to Yugoslav troops, who after World War I, laid claims to southern and southeastern Carinthian border territories including the towns of Klagenfurt and Villach. On November 5, 1918 Slovene troops invaded southeastern Carinthia and the Yugoslav police advanced towards the Rosental Valley and the lower Gail Valley. The towns of Ferlach and Völkermarkt were occupied. Without the federal government´s advice the Carinthian provisional constituent assembly decided on December 5, 1918 to defend the threatened territories by use of arms. In early 1919 militias were formed by Carinthian civilians; lieutenant colonel L. Hülgerth was appointed commander-in-chief and lieutnant H. Steinacher was made commander of the militia troops and propagandist. Throughout the conflict the Carinthian Slovenes supported Austria.
The liberation struggle began in the Gail Valley with the recapture of Arnoldstein on January 5, 1919, an advance towards the Rosental Valley and the seizure of the town of Ferlach. On January 14 the opposing parties agreed upon an armistice; an official US commission came to Carinthia to investigate the territories in question. On April 29 Yugoslavia broke the truce but did not succeed in winning any territories back. By May 7 all territories stipulated in the armistice agreement as part of Carinthia were liberated. A plebiscite had been considered in the peace conference but the southern frontier was again threatened by a Yugoslav invasion in May, 1919. Yugoslav troops entered Carinthia on May 28 and occupied Klagenfurt on June 6. By order of the Supreme Council of the Allied Forces in Paris, Yugoslavia was forced to leave Klagenfurt and this saw the end of all fights, in which more than 200 Carinthians had been killed and 800 had been injured.
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