Cattaro mutiny

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A mutineers' meeting aboard an Austro-Hungarian warship at the Bay of Cattaro in February 1918

The Cattaro mutiny or Kotor mutiny was an unsuccessful revolt by sailors of part of the Austro-Hungarian Navy in early 1918, inspired by the October Revolution. The mutiny took place in the Cattaro naval base.[1]

As World War I progressed, the cumulative effects of wartime economic and social disorganization became pervasive and the discipline of Austro-Hungarian soldiers and sailors became undermined. Hunger, cold and naval inaction resulted in complaints, desertions and strikes. Revolutionary propaganda fuelled by the example of the Russian Revolution now spread among soldiers and workers.

On February 1, 1918 a mutiny started in the Fifth fleet division at the Cattaro Bay naval base on the Adriatic Sea. Sailors on about 40 ships had joined the mutiny. Initial demands for better treatment were soon replaced by political demands and a call for peace.[2]

The mutiny failed to spread to other units. On February 3, the loyal Third fleet arrived and together with coastal artillery engaged in a short and successful skirmish against the mutineers. About 800 sailors were imprisoned, dozens were court-martialed and four seamen were executed (the leader of the uprising, Bohemian social democrat Franz Rasch and three Croats – Mate Brničević from Omiš, Antun Grabar from Poreč and Jerko Šižgorić from Šibenik).[3]

The Commander-in-Chief of the fleet, Admiral Maximilian Njegovan, was retired and replaced by Miklós Horthy, who was promoted to Counter-admiral.[4]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Woodward, David (1976). "Mutiny at Cattaro, 1918". History Today. 26 (12): 804–10.
  • Halpern, Paul G. (2003). "The Cattaro Mutiny, 1918". In Bell, Christopher; Elleman, Bruce (eds.). Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century: An International Perspective. London: Frank Cass. pp. 45–65.


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