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Rudolf Maister Vojanov (29 March 1874 – 26 July 1934) was a Slovene military officer, poet and political activist. The soldiers who fought under Maister's command in northern Sloveniamarker became known as "Maister's fighters" ( ). Maister was also an accomplished poet and self-taught painter.

Maister was born in the Upper Carniolan commercial town of Kamnikmarker, then part of Austria-Hungary. During World War I, he served as a major in the Austro-Hungarian Army. In 1918, towards the end of the war, he organized local Slovene volunteer forces and took control of the city of Maribormarker and the surrounding region of Lower Styria with a military action. He was awarded the rank of general by the Slovene National Council for Lower Styria on November 1. The city was thus secured for the newly formed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbsmarker, which united with the Kingdom of Serbiamarker into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker on December 1.

On 27 January 1919, a firefight broke out between the local ethnic Germans awaiting the Americanmarker peace delegation at the city's marketplace and Slovenian troops under the command of Maister. Nine people were killed and more than eighteen were seriously wounded. The responsibility for the shooting has not been conclusively established. German sources accused Maister's troops of shooting without cause, while Slovenian witnesses, such as Dr. Maks Pohar, testified that the Germans (some still in the uniforms of the German paramilitary organization called Green Guard) attacked Slovene soldiers guarding city hall. The Germans allegedly attacked the police inspector, Ivan Senekovič, and pressed towards the Slovenian soldiers in front of the city hall. One German shot with a revolver in the direction of Slovenian soldiers and they responded spontaneously with shots against the crowd. The event became known in German as the Marburger Blutsonntag ("Marburg Bloody Sunday").

In November 1919, Maister's forces joined the Kingdom of SHS army's offensive in Carinthiamarker. Maister joined them later and took part of the conquest of Klagenfurtmarker. After the Carinthian Plebiscitemarker, in which majority of the local Slovenian population decided to remain part of Austriamarker, Maister withdrew to private life. He spent most of his later life in an estate near Planina in Inner Carniola. He died in Rakekmarker.

Maister also wrote poetry, which he published in two collected volumes, in 1904 and in 1929. Most of his poetry follows the Post-Romantic aesthetics, and is influenced by 19th century Slovene lyrical and patriotic poetry of Simon Jenko, Simon Gregorčič and Anton Aškerc.

References

  • Bruno Hartman, Rudolf Maister: general in pesnik (Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije, 2006)



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