The State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs

Javorca nad Tolminom - Church of the Holy Spirit. Built in 1916 by Austro-Hungarian soldiers in memory of the thousands of victims of the First World War in this area. Photo: Matjaž Prešeren

During the First World War, which brought heavy casualties to Slovenia, particularly on the bloody Soča front, and with the imperialistic policies of the superpowers, which threatened to split Slovenian territory among a number of states (the London Treaty, 1915 ), Slovenes tried to arrange a unified common state of Slovenes, Croats and those Serbs living within the Habsburg monarchy.

This demand, known as the May Declaration, was made by the Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian representatives in the Vienna parliament in the spring of 1917. After the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, the danger from Italy, which had occupied Primorska, Istria and some parts of Dalmatia, and the pressures from the Serbs for unification into a common state, compelled the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs on 1 December 1918, to unite with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was in 1929 renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Following a plebiscite in 1920, most of the Slovenian part of Carinthia was annexed to Austria. Thus, a unified Slovenia never became a reality, since the majority of the Slovenian nation lived in Yugoslavia.