3. "German" Social Democracy

by Dr. Hellwig Valentin. From the book: "Der Sonderfall. Kärntner Zeitgeschichte 1918-2004/08", 2009, 2nd edition, Klagenfurt/Laibach-Ljubljana/Wien (Hermagoras-Verlag).

Translation by Liz Finney

The social democrats and the German nationalists in Carinthia benefited from from the intensitification of the national conflict. To the social democrats German culture was considered an expression of progress, and a declared belief in the national Slovenes was at odds with it, being  equated with a clerical-reactionary position. Internationalism, confirmed by oath, did not take on at first. Social democracy got by with the theory that only a good (German) nationalist could be an internationalist. Looked at in that light, internationalism indirectly appeared German nationalistic. The German nationalists presented themselves as the most dependable preservers of the German culture and appealed to all fellow rivals to comprehensively outdo the Slovenes. This line of conflict on the national scale was a good base for Carinthian national socialism, whose member numbers – calculated as a share of the population -  were higher when illegal than in other federal states. There were still many points of contact between social democrats and German nationalists before the first world war. The clerico-conservative claims were rejected in school and training environments. At the final ballots at the Imperial Assembly social democrats and German nationalists in most cases endorsed each other. There was to a certain degree an „intellectual coalition“ between these political camps in Carinthia.

The social democrats were consequently bitterly disappointed by their national German companions in 1923 when they banded together with the Christian social party on the national gentrified „single list of candidates“ and voted out the social democrat state governor Florian Gröger. The alliance of the German nationalists with the „clerico-conservatives“ was branded as a betrayal of „Carinthian liberalism“. The social democrats saw themselves pushed to the side of the Carinthian Slovenes, and considered that the „Bürgerblock“ - conservative alliance - should be blown apart together. This short phase of rapprochment was no more than half-hearted promises by the social democrats towards the ethnic group. The ten year anniversary celebration of the Carinthian referendum in 1930, in which the Slovenes did not participate, saw the social democrats hand in glove with the other „German“ parties.

4. The continuity of the political camps