By: Robert Hlede
I am one of those who do not have a dismissive attitude towards the national liberation struggle in World War II (hereinafter: NOB), but also among those who do not close their eyes to the truth.
With all due respect to the NOB, and especially to those who exposed their lives in 1941 and bravely resisted the German and Italian occupiers, but unfortunately historical facts also reveal another or darker side of the partisan struggle against the mentioned occupiers.
The other face of the national liberation struggle
Namely, there is a series of evidence that many things happened during the time of NOB, which is not a source of pride for the Slovenian partisans. Let me suggest some facts that confirm the latter. If I disregard the fact that the Slovenian partisans did not win any major battle on Slovenian soil, my criticism is not directed at the partisan struggle as such, but rather at the fact that the Slovenian partisans enabled or allowed the Communist Party of Slovenia (hereinafter: KPS) to use NOB for its revolutionary goals, or for the violent takeover of power. The latter is also proven by the data on the number of partisans and civilians executed by the KPS in the name of the revolution. In the book Slovenski razkol by Dr Jože Možina, for example, states that approximately one hundred thousand Slovenian citizens were killed in the interwar and post-war period, of which over fifty thousand were killed by the KPS or special units of the VOS, which is much more than the number of Slovenes killed by foreign occupiers. With these massacres, the Slovene communists not only dishonoured the NOB, but also caused a deep and so far, unprecedented split in the Slovene nation. The Slovene Home Guards, or White Guards, also contributed to the disintegration of the Slovenian nation, but it should not be forgotten that they were a response to the violence that the KPS systematically carried out against the Slovene population shortly after the start of the war, as well as the fact that the only reason for their collaboration with foreign occupiers, the fact that they needed weapons to defend their homes and defend themselves against criminal communist soldiers.
The myth of the Liberation Front continues
If in Slovenia we cannot or do not want to get rid of holidays that originate from the former country, it is absolutely bizarre that these holidays are celebrated on the wrong dates or on dates that do not correspond to historical facts. A typical example of the falsification of historical facts is also the Day of Uprising Against Occupation or the Day of the Establishment of the Liberation Front (sometimes the Day of OF). Historical sources state – and this is not about any kind of revisionism and changing of history, but about the strict observance of the order of events – that the organised rebellion against the German and other occupiers did not take place on April 27th, 1941, but only after the German attack on the Soviet union, that is June 22nd, 1941. The fact is that Slovenian communists only then found themselves on the ‘right side of history’.
It is also bizarre that the Day of Uprising Against Occupation is celebrated in Slovenia on a day when nothing happened. However, something happened the day before, or April 26th, 1941, when the Anti-Imperialist Front was founded, which – as the historian Dr Tamara Griesser Pečar – it was not directed against the occupiers of Slovenian territory (and least of all against the German occupier, since the Nazi-Bolshevist Pact between Hitler and Stalin from 1939 was still in force at that time), but against the English and French imperialists. Edvard Kardelj explicitly confirmed this in his lecture at the party school in Rog in 1944 with the following words: “The war between England and Germany from 1939 to 1941 was imperialist, i.e., unjust. With Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union, the war between England and Germany became just”. After Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union (hereafter: SU) in 1941 and, consequently, after the collapse of the Nazi-Bolshevist Pact, the situation changed radically. At that time, it was in the interest of the SU that the KPS started a fight against the German occupier. At that time, exactly what Edvard Kardelj predicted happened, namely, “that the communists will go into armed resistance against the occupier only if they have the opportunity for a revolution and if it is in the interest of the SU” (Source: KPJ Fifth Land Conference, Sources for the history of SKJ, Belgrade 1980, p. 204).
The fact that the commemoration of the Day of Uprising Against Occupation is a fictitious date is mainly confirmed by two events: in the actual sense, the revolt against the occupier took place later, that is, with the attack of the TIGR members on the Italian patrol on Mala gora above Ribnica on May 13th, 1941 (Source: Wikipedia, TIGR), and only on July 16th of the same year, with the first partisan action against German soldiers near Besnica (Source: Wikipedia, Partisan battles in Slovenia since 1941). Since a clear dividing line was not made in Slovenia between the communist regime and the democratic system, the holiday with fictional content or the communist myth about the Liberation Front is still preserved and the related claim that independent Slovenia began to be built during the time of NOB, which is of course disputed with facts. If this were true, then Slovenia would already have become an independent country at that time. Of course, this did not happen, or rather it happened only in 1991 with the armed resistance and the victory of the Slovenian army over the aggressor Yugoslav army, the successor of the Yugoslav partisans and the defender of the communist regime. The myth of the Liberation Front is not only about changing the historiography written by the former Communist Party and followed faithfully and blindly by its successors and followers, but also about confirming what the Polish philosopher and historian Leszek Kolakowski said, namely, “that the lie is the immortal soul of communism”.
The absurdity of reviving an ideology
The real absurdity is the fact that after more than three decades of independent Slovenia, August 23rd – otherwise the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of All Totalitarianisms – still remains a day on which Slovenia only condemns Nazi-fascist murder, while forgetting interwar and post-war communist crimes. Thus, in Slovenia, on the one hand, we have communist crimes without criminals, and on the other hand, communist crimes that are trying to hide themselves with the pretence of victory over Nazi-fascism. Even more absurd is the fact that after so many years of democracy, many Slovenians are still pining for Tito or socialism. It is true that not everything was bad in the socialist regime, but it is extremely unusual that its defenders forget the fact that fundamental human rights were systematically violated in this regime, not to mention violations of other rights. If I ignore the reasons that led to the revival of communist or socialist ideology in Slovenia, the fact that in none of the European countries the mentioned ideology is preserved as enthusiastically as in Slovenia will stand out above all: the use of communist symbols (despite the fact that in Slovenia, the use of Nazi, fascist and communist symbols is prohibited, communist symbols are used with impunity and increasingly), participation of the highest state representatives in celebrations celebrating the communist revolution, glorification of partisan battles that did not take place (for example in Dražgoše), preservation of communist monuments and their maintenance at state expense, veneration of the former leaders of the KPS (Edvard Kardelj and Boris Kidrič) and those most responsible for the massacres of Slovenes during and after World War II, the payment of above-average pensions and financing of high-standard health care to former NOB fighters and their heirs, are only some facts that indicate that Slovenia is an unenviable specialty in Europe regarding the glorification of communism and socialist ideology. A research or comparative study recently published by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia entitled The Heritage of Communism in Some European Countries also talks about this ‘speciality’. It shows, among other things, that in Slovenia the mentioned heritage is preserved not only on a symbolic level, but also on a substantive level. Having said all that, it is especially worrying and significant that the preservation of the communist heritage or socialist ideology is systematically and increasingly manifested in the political and cultural spheres, as well as being transferred to all other pores and subsystems of society. Considering what has been said, it is really not surprising that Slovenia is where it is, and above all, a country with an uncertain future.
The Levica Party or the Slovenian version of the return to socialism
As things currently show, Slovenia is increasingly returning to socialist times or times of insatiable spending of public funds and exhaustion of the state. The main protagonist of the ‘return to socialism’ is, of course, the Levica Party (along with its godfathers in the background), which with its demagogic attitude successfully deceives everyone around it: the ruling coalition and the majority media as well as, and last but not least, the people fall for its attitude. To tell the truth, the aforementioned party also occasionally proposes some good solution (one such solution was, for example, closing shops on Sundays and holidays), but those solutions that destroy the foundations of society (such as family, nation, private initiative, and other foundations of society) prevail, or and lead to the bankruptcy of the country. The latter proves, for example, the support of this party for excessive employment in the public sector, for higher taxes and consequently for higher public spending. Especially advocating for new inflows into the state coffers at the expense of those who bear the biggest tax burden in the country is a reflection of what the Levica party knows best – borrowing and planned spending or wasting taxpayers’ money. This means less money for investments, development, and general economic progress. Of course, the Levica party does not care about this and many other things, for it, the implementation of its programme or its ideology in the name of the hammer, sickle and the red star is more important.