Marburg's Bloody Sunday

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Marburg's Bloody Sunday
SLO-Maribor13.JPG
Main city square in Maribor (Marburg) where Marburg's Bloody Sunday took place.
Date 27 January 1919
Target Local citizens of German ethnicity
Attack type
Massacre
Deaths 9–13
Non-fatal injuries
60+
Perpetrators Troops from the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes under the command of Slovene officer Rudolf Maister

Marburg's Bloody Sunday (German: Marburger Blutsonntag,[1][2] Slovene: Mariborska krvava nedelja) is the name of a massacre that took place on Monday, 27 January 1919 in the city of Maribor (German: Marburg an der Drau) in Slovenia. Soldiers from the army of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (aka Yugoslavia), under the command of Slovene officer Rudolf Maister, killed between 9 and 13 civilians of German ethnic origin, wounding a further 60, during a protest in a city centre square. Estimates of casualties differ between Slovene and Austrian sources.

In November 1918, after the First World War ended, the territories of southern Carinthia and southern Styria, which had been claimed by the Republic of German Austria, were captured by military units under Maister's command.

Maribor was the largest city of southern Styria with a predominately German population. A US delegation led by Sherman Miles visited Maribor on 27 January 1919 as part of a wider mission to resolve territorial disputes. On the same day, German citizens organised a protest proclaiming their desire for Maribor to be incorporated into the Republic of German Austria. The protest was interrupted by Meister's soldiers firing at the people and causing numerous casualties. In response, German Austria launched a military offensive which expelled the Yugoslavs from several small towns in Upper Styria along the Mur River. A ceasefire was agreed under the mediation of France in February 1919. According to the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, signed on 10 September 1919, Maribor and the rest of Lower Styria became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Responsibility for the Maribor massacre was never established.

Background[edit]

The Republic of German Austria was created following the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War and claimed areas with a predominantly German-speaking population within the bounds of the former empire. In addition to the current area of the Republic of Austria, these included parts of South Tyrol and the town of Tarvisio, both now in Italy; southern Carinthia and southern Styria, now in Slovenia; and Sudetenland proper and German Bohemia (later also part of Sudetenland), now in the Czech Republic.

The victorious Allied Powers divided the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian empire between German Austria, Hungary and several other countries. Though the division of territories was conducted through a proclaimed principle of national self-determination, populations of ethnic Germans and Hungarians[3][4][5] remained resident in many of these territories, including Czechoslovakia, Romania and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.[6][7]

Control of the city of Maribor was disputed by Yugoslavia and German Austria. A Federal Act of German Austria, concerning "the Extent, the Borders and the Relations of the State Territories of November 22, 1918", asserted a claim to the region of Lower Styria within which Marburg/Maribor was located, but excluded from its claim the predominantly Slav-populated regions.[8] To resolve the question of the ownership of Carinthia, the greater region of which Lower Styria formed a part, the U.S.-administered Coolidge Mission in Vienna proposed a demographic investigation of the territory. The mission was led by Archibald Cary Coolidge, professor of history at Harvard College, and operated under the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. The mission appointed a delegation to be led by Colonel Sherman Miles and including Lieutenant LeRoy King, professor of Slavic languages at the University of Missouri,[9] and professors Robert Kerner and Lawrence Martin.[10]

On the way to Carinthia, the delegation visited Maribor which, prior to the First World War, had a population comprising 80% Austrian Germans and 20% Slovenes.[11] Most of Maribor's capital and public life was in Austrian German hands and it was known mainly by its German-language name Marburg an der Drau. According to the last Austro-Hungarian census in 1910, the city and its suburbs Studenci (Brunndorf), Pobrežje (Pobersch), Tezno (Thesen), Radvanje (Rothwein), Krčevina (Kartschowin), and Košaki (Leitersberg) housed 31,995 Austrian Germans (including German-speaking Jews), and 6,151 ethnic Slovenes. The surrounding area however was populated almost entirely by Slovenes, although many Austrian Germans lived in smaller towns like Ptuj (Pettau, 79.39%)[11] or Celje (Cilli, 66.80%).[11]

Military units which fired at citizens of Maribor were commanded by Rudolf Maister.

In November 1918, the Slovene major (later general) Rudolf Maister seized the city of Maribor and surrounding areas of Lower Styria in the name of the newly formed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, a forerunner of Yugoslavia.[12] On 23 November 1918, Maister and his soldiers disarmed and disbanded the "Green Guard" (German: Schutzwehr, Slovene: Zelena Garda) security force maintained by the Maribor city council.[13] Maister captured several villages and towns north of the Mur River, including Lichendorf, Bad Radkersburg, Mureck and Marenberg.[14] On 31 December 1918, Maister's units imprisoned 21 notable Maribor citizens of ethnic German origin.[15]

Massacre[edit]

Sources differ on the exact cause and extent of the massacre in Maribor.[16] All agree that on 27 January 1919, the Coolidge Mission's delegation, led by Sherman Miles, visited Maribor[14] and found thousands of citizens of German ethnic origin gathered in the main city square and waving flags of German Austria, many of which also decorated nearby buildings.[17] German Austrian sources indicate that there were 10,000 protesters singing songs and wearing patriotic dress. Twenty soldiers under Maister's command were stationed in front of the city hall, armed with rifles mounted with bayonets.[18]

German-language sources assert that the soldiers began firing into the crowd without provocation, aiming for unarmed civilians. According to these sources the fatalities numbered 13, and a further 60 protesters were wounded.[19]

A Slovene account of the same event asserts that the soldiers began to fire only when an Austrian citizen discharged a revolver in the direction of the Slovene soldiers, striking the bayonet of one.[20] The soldiers then returned fire: according to this account 11 were killed, and an unknown number wounded.[citation needed]

Aftermath[edit]

Subsequently, on 4 February 1919, German Austria commenced a military offensive to recover the regions of Upper Styria controlled by Maister's troops.[21] A ceasefire was agreed on 10 February 1919, under French mediation from their military mission located in Maribor.[22] On 13 February 1919, a ceasfire agreement was signed and Maister's troops retreated from part of Upper Styria.[23]

LeRoy King, one of the members of the Coolidge Mission, wrote in his report that the authorities in Maribor were suspicious of the work of the mission and apparently feared that it had uncovered information they would have preferred to conceal. He argued that there were Slovene populations in Styria who would have preferred the maintenance of Austrian rule.[24]

The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, signed on 10 September 1919 observed that Maribor was firmly under the control of the Yugoslav army and that, since Slovenes constituted a majority in the region surrounding the city, Maribor should remain, with the rest of Lower Styria, within the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

Responsibility for the shooting in Maribor was never conclusively established. Austrian sources attributed blame to Rudolf Maister, and referenced him in some accounts as the Butcher of Maribor.[25][26] In Slovenia, by contrast, Maister remains well-regarded; numerous societies[27] institutions and streets[28] are named in his honour and he is commemorated in several monuments.[29][30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldinger, Walter; Dieter A. Binder (1992). Geschichte der Republik Österreich: 1918-1938 (in German). Vienna, Austria: Verlag fur Geschischte und Politik. p. 62. "Marburger Blutsonntag" 
  2. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 138. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "Tako je prišlo do demonstracij, ki jih je nacionalistični del nemške publistike zaradi streljanja, do katerega je prišlo na Glavnom Trgu pred Mestno Hišo, še danes oznečuje Der Marburger Bluttag..." 
  3. ^ "Trianon, Treaty of". The Columbia Encyclopedia. 2009. 
  4. ^ Macartney, C.A. (1937). Hungary and her successors - The Treaty of Trianon and Its Consequences 1919-1937. Oxford University Press. 
  5. ^ Bernstein, Richard (2003-08-09). "East on the Danube: Hungary's Tragic Century". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  6. ^ "President Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points (1918)". Ourdocuments.gov web site. Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "In this January 8, 1918, address to Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proposed a 14-point program for world peace. These points were later taken as the basis for peace negotiations at the end of the war.... Germany quickly found out that Wilson’s blueprint for world peace would not apply to them." 
  7. ^ House, Colonel. "Interpretation of President Wilson's Fourteen Points by Colonel House". Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "10. The people of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development. This proposition no longer holds. Instead we have [today] the following elements: (1) Czechoslovakia. Its territories include at least a million Germans for whom some provision must be made. The independence of Slovakia means the dismemberment of the northwestern countries of Hungary. (3) German Austria. This territory should of[sic] right be permitted to join Germany, but there is strong objection in [France] because of the increase of [population] involved." 
  8. ^ Bill by the State Council, Appendix No. 3 PDF
  9. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 138. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "... por. King, profesor za slovanske jezike na Unverzi v Misuriju" 
  10. ^ "Jänner 1919: Der Bluttag von Marburg a. d. Drau". Die Presse (in German). January 30, 2009. Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011. "Sie bestand aus Oberstleutnant Sherman Miles, Leutnant Le Roy King und den Professoren Robert Kerner und Lawrence Martin." 
  11. ^ a b c Osterreicheische statistik Herausgegeben von der K.K. Statistischen Zentralkommission. neue folge 1. band. Ergebnisse der volkszahlung vom 31. dezember 1910. - Wien. aus der kaiserlich-koniglichen hof und staatsdruckerel 1917. in kommission bei karl gerold's sohn
  12. ^ Krizman, Bogdan (1977). Raspad Austro-Ugarske i stvaranje jugoslavenske države (in Croatian). Zagreb: Školska knjiga. p. 150. OCLC 4437775. Retrieved 3 April 2012. "(Maisterovo nenadano i potpuno samoinicijativno proglašenje Maribora dijelom Jugolavije 1. XI i preuzimanje vojne komande nad gradom i čitavom Donjom Štajerskom" 
  13. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. pp. 113, 116, 117. "Mestni svet mesta Maribor je sklenil, da so vsi za orožje sposobni ljudje, v Mariboru stanujoči ljudje, od dovršenega 18. do dovršenega 50. leta starosti dolzm služiti v mariborski Schutzwehr in se morajo torej vsi v Mariboru sta­nujoči možje rojstnih letnikov od 1868 do vključno 1900 javiti pri mariborski Schutzwehr...Za razorožitev je določil Maister 23. november, začetek pa na 4. uro zjutraj...23. novembra, istega dne, ko je bila razorožena Schutzwehr, .." 
  14. ^ a b Judson, Pieter M. (2006). Guardians of the nation: activists on the language frontiers of imperial Austria. United States of America: President and Fellows of Harvard College. p. 236. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "In the south, Slovene nationalist militia units....occupied three major centers of South Styrian German nationalists politics .. Major Rudolf Maister, a Slovene nationalist and Austrian commander of the militia in Marburg/Maribor, had taken control of all military forces... In late November his units moved northward to occupy the north bank of the Mur/Mura River, including towns of Radkersburg/Radgona and Spielfeld/Spilje" 
  15. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 133. "Določil sem 21 uglednih mariborskih meščanov kot talce,.." 
  16. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 138. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "Slovensko in nemška poročila si med seboj in v sebi preveč nasprotujejo" 
  17. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 139. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "Takoj po prihodu Američanov so se na hišah glavnih ulic, kmalu na to pa po vsem mestu, pojavile črno - rdeče - rumene trobojriice, frankfurtarce. Mariborsko nemško meščanstvo, pomešano z ljudmi, ki so prišli od dmigod, se je začelo zbirati v neprestano naraščajoče sprevode." 
  18. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 138. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "Stražniki so imeli v rokah puške z nasajenim bajoneti" 
  19. ^ "Jänner 1919: Der Bluttag von Marburg a. d. Drau". Die Presse (in German). January 30, 2009. Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011. "Eine Salve nach der anderen feuerten die Soldaten in die nichtsahnende, wehr- und waffenlose Volksmenge, .... 13 Tote und etwa 60 Verwundete..." 
  20. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 141. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "Naenkrat slišim strel iz množice, ki je zadel bajonet na puški predmenoj stoječega vojaka." 
  21. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 144. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "... Nemški napad na Radgono se je začel 4. februarja .." 
  22. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 145. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "...naj se določijo po­goji premirja in začnejo pogajanja,..ob navzočnosti francoske misije začela 10. februarja pogajanja." 
  23. ^ Ude, Lojze (1961). "Boj za Maribor" (pdf) (in Slovene). Slovenia: Zgodovinski časopis. p. 145. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "...Zaključila so se 13. februarja .Jugo­slovanska posadka se umakne iz Cmureka na južni breg," 
  24. ^ "Report number 22 of Lieutenant LeRoy King to Professor A. C. Coolidge". Studia Croatica. April 8, 1919. Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011. "Jugo-Slav authorities in Marburg [Maribor] still look with suspicion on the work of Colonel Miles' commission in Carinthia. He sums up their attitude by saying that he thinks they are afraid the Americans found out too much. He also says that it is indisputable that in Styria, at least, there are Slovenes who want to remain under Austrian rule." 
  25. ^ "Jänner 1919: Der Bluttag von Marburg a. d. Drau". Die Presse (in German). January 30, 2009. Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011. "Er war der Sohn einer ethnisch gemischten Familie in der Steiermark, wurde von seiner slowenischen Mutter zu einem glühenden Nationalisten erzogen und ging als „Schlächter von Marburg“" 
  26. ^ HANS WERNER SCHEIDL (October 8, 2010). "Kärntner Volksabstimmung: Kampf um die Herzen am Fuß der Karawanken". Die Presse (in German). Retrieved January 5, 2011. "„Schlächter von Marburg“" 
  27. ^ "Prleško društvo Generala Maistra" (in Slovene). Slovenia: Turistično društvo Kog, v sodelovanju z Zgodovinskim društvom Ormož,. August 2006. Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Rudolf Maister" (doc). Kamnik, Slovenia: Šolski center Rudolfa Maistra. April 2005. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "KAJ VSE JE POSVEČENO RUDOLFU MAISTRU: Seznam objektov po krajih: Maribor: Spomeniki, Relief, Kipi, Osnovne šole, Razstava; Kamnik: Spomenik, Srednja šola; Ljubljana: Spomenik,Ulice." 
  29. ^ "Otvoritev parka generala Rudolfa Maistra v Ljutomeru" (in Slovene). Slovenia: Prlekija-on.net. June 23, 2010. Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Maistrov Spomenik" (in Slovene). Maribor-pohorje.si web site. Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011. "Spomenik generala Rudolfa Maistra stoji na današnjem Trgu generala Maistra od leta 1987. Rudolf Maister sodi zaradi svojih zaslug pri oblikovanju slovenske severne državne meje med izjemno pomembne Mariborčane." 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°33′27.08″N 15°38′43.81″E / 46.5575222°N 15.6455028°E / 46.5575222; 15.6455028