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Croatian-italian relations in Zadar at the time of the collapse of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Italian occupation (1918–1920)

Ante Gverić orcid id ; Državni arhiv u Zadru, Zadar, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 2.892 Kb

str. 437-466

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Starting from the hypothesis arguing the Italian character of Zadar as the sole municipality in Dalmatia that had during the process of national integrations stayed under the authority of Italian Party, the paper primarily analyses the national structure in Zadar during the final couple of decades of Austrian management in Dalmatia. The relations between the Zadar Croats and Italians had to survive grave phases of intolerance and mutual conflicts in these final years of Austrian management. During the war between Italy and Austro Hungarian
Monarchy, no serious conflicts occurred, primarily thanks to the extreme repression by the state towards all the subversives. At the end of the war and after the capitulation of Austro-Hungary, all national groups in Zadar were only for a brief time united in celebrating the collapse of the Black-Yellow Monarchy. The unity continued even during entering port of warships, by which Italian soldiers, on behalf of the Entente, occupied former Austrian lands with the aim of preserving public order and implementing rationing. However, the policy conducted by Italian government aimed at occupying as large a part of Dalmatia as possible, securing a better position in the coming peace negotiations, and thus directing their outcome. Occupational military authorities and local Italian politicians were openly conducting such a policy, causing thereby resistance of the non-Italian population; this led to many regime-orchestrated repression measures. Intolerance and conflicts were conveyed to the public, and hence became a part of the everyday life in Zadar during the occupation. Since in peace negotiations, the official Italian state policy was gradually withdrawing of the pretentious territorial demands based on the London Agreement, Dalmatian Italians felt betrayed by the government in Rome. In 1920, under the pressure of the increasingly difficult economic situation and the unfavourable news arriving from piece negotiations, they ceased falling for inflammatory speeches held by
local political leaders. The relations between the Zadar Croats and Italians are in this paper analysed divided in three periods and at three different levels: during the final decades of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy; at the time of the collapse of the Monarchy in 1918; and during the after-war piece conferences (in 1919 and 1920). As concerns different levels of their relations, the following ones may be recognised: the level of political elites; newspapers as the heralds of political parties; and the level of the street – term that contemporaries often used in order to describe not only the venue, but – figuratively – also the nature of international conflicts that was conveyed from high political spheres to the public.

Ključne riječi

Croats, Italians, conflicts, Zadar, Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, 1918, Italian occupation.

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