Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation

Flag of the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation (OF). The zigzag outline represents the Mount Triglav.
Slovene partisans in winter 1942.

The Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation (Slovene: Osvobodilna fronta slovenskega naroda), or simply Liberation Front (Osvobodilna fronta, acronym OF), originally called the Anti-Imperialist Front (Slovene: Protiimperialistična fronta, PIF), was the main anti-fascist Slovene civil resistance and political organization. It was active in the Slovene Lands during World War II. Its military arm were the Slovene Partisans. The organisation was established in the Province of Ljubljana on 26 April 1941 in the house of the literary critic Josip Vidmar.[1] Its leaders were Boris Kidrič and Edvard Kardelj.


The programme of the Fronta was outlined by the following fundamental points:

Internal political situation

Although the Front originally consisted of multiple political groups of left-wing orientation, including some Christian Socialists, a dissident group of Slovene Sokols (also known as "National Democrats"), and a group of intellectuals around the journals Sodobnost and Ljubljanski zvon,[3] during the course of the war, the influence of the Communist Party of Slovenia started to grow, until the founding groups signed the so-called Dolomite Declaration (Dolomitska izjava), giving the exclusive right to organize themselves as a political party only to the communists, on 1 March 1943.[4]

On 3 October 1943, on the session, known as Assembly of the Delegates of the Slovene Nation, which was held in Kočevje by the 572 directly elected and 78 indirectly elected members, the 120-member plenum was constituted as the highest civil governing organ of anti-fascist movement in Slovenia during the World War II.

After the war, the Liberation Front was transformed into the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Slovenia.[5]

External political activity

On 19 February 1944, the 120-member Črnomelj plenum of Liberation Front of the Slovenian People changed its name to SNOS and proclaim itself as the temporary Slovenian parliament. One of its most important decisions was that after the end of the war Slovenia would become a state within the Yugoslav federation.[6]

Just before the end of the war, on May 5, 1945, the SNOS met for the last time in the town of Ajdovščina in the Julian March (then formally still part of the Kingdom of Italy) and established the Slovenian government with the Communist leader Boris Kidrič as its president.[7]

The Liberation Front led an intensive and specific propaganda system. It printed flyers, bulletins and other material to persuade people about its cause and slander the occupying forces.[8] The Front's radio, called Kričač (Screamer), was the only one of its kind in the occupied Europe. It emitted from various locations and occupying forces confiscated the receivers' antennas from the local population in order to prevent listening to it.

Slovene Partisans

Main article: Slovene Partisans

The Slovene Partisans were the armed wing of the Liberation Front,[9] which fought in the beginning as a guerilla and later as an army. It was mostly ethnically homogenous and primarily communicated in Slovene.[3] These two features have been considered vital for its success.[3] It was the first Slovene military force.[3] Its most characteristic symbol was the Triglav cap.[3][10] Contrary to elsewhere in Yugoslavia, where on the freed territories the political life was organized by the military itself, the Slovene Partisans were subordinated to the civil political authority of the Front.[9] The partisan activities in Slovenia were initially independent of Tito's Partisans in the south. The merger of the Slovene Partisans with Tito's forces happened in 1944.[11][12]

The Front's name

It has been traditionally claimed by Slovene historians that the term Anti-Imperialist Front was the first to occur.[13] This may be read for example in a work by Peter Vodopivec from 2006.[14] In 2008, the historian Bojan Godeša published a peer-reviewed discussion about the name. He mentions a leaflet from the end of April 1941 with liberation front (non-capitalised) written on it, two months before the first known mention of the anti-imperialist front (non-capitalised) on 22 June 1941.[13] He also mentions that Josip Rus, who represented the Slovene Sokol Society in the founding meeting of the OF, always claimed they had only discussed the organisation as the Liberation Front.[13] That's contrary to the opinion by Josip Vidmar, also a founding member, who stated that the organisation was renamed as Liberation Front only on 30 June 1941.[15] The claims by Godeša have been cited in a seminar by Božo Repe, another eminent historian, who added that the name Anti-Imperialist Front, written with capital letters, was used particularly in the communication with the Communists of the Soviet Union. He attributed this to the desire of the Slovene Communists to demonstrate that their work corresponded to the aims of the Comintern.[16]

See also

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  1. "Godeša: OF je ob koncu vojne predstavljal večino Slovencev" [Towards the End of the War, the Liberation Front Represented the Majority of Slovenes]. MMC RTV Slovenija (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. 26 April 2011.
  2. Yugoslavian Encyclopaedia, articles Slovenci and Slovenija, Yugoslavian Lexicographical Institute, Zagreb, 1981, pp. 505-528.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Vankovska, Biljana. Wiberg, Håkan (2003). "Slovene and the Yugoslav People's Army". Between Past and Future: Civil-Military Relations in the Post-Communist Balkans. I.B.Tauris. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-86064-624-9.
  4. Gow, James; Carmichael, Cathie (2010). Slovenia and the Slovenes: A Small State in the New Europe (Revised and updated ed.). Hurst Publishers Ltd. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-85065-944-0.
  5. General Encyclopaedia, article Socijalisti_ki savez radnoga naroda Jugoslavije, Yugoslavian Lexicographical Institute, Zagreb, 1981., p. 547
  6. (Slovene) 60-letnica Zbora odposlancev slovenskega naroda v Kočevju (2003)
  7. 60 Years Since First Post-WWII Slovenian Government
  8. Vreg, France (2000). Politično komuniciranje in prepričevanje: komunikacijska strategija, diskurzi, prepričevalni modeli, propaganda, politični marketing, volilna kampanja [Political Communication and Persuasion: Communication Strategy, Discourses, Models of Persuasion, Propaganda, Political Marketing, Election Campaign] (in Slovenian). p. 138. ISBN 961-235-029-9.
  9. 1 2 Repe, Božo (2005). "Vzroki za spopad med JLA in Slovenci" [Reasons for the Conflict Between the Yugoslav People's Army and the Slovenes] (PDF). Vojaška zgodovina [Military History] (in Slovenian). VI (1/05): 5. ISSN 1580-4828.
  10. Martinčič, Vanja (1990). Slovenski partizan: orožje, obleka in oprema slovenskih partizanov [Slovene Partisan: Weapons, Clothing and Equipment of Slovene Partisans] (PDF) (in Slovenian and English). Museum of People's Revolution. pp. 44–45, 50–52. COBISS 17009408.
  11. Stewart, James (2006). Linda McQueen, ed. Slovenia. New Holland Publishers. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-86011-336-9.
  12. "Histories of the Individual Yugoslav Nations". The former Yugoslavia's diverse peoples: a reference sourcebook. ABC-Clio, Inc. 2004. pp. 167–168.
  13. 1 2 3 Keber, Katarina. Šter, Katarina, eds. (April 2008). Historični seminar 6 [Historical Seminar 6] (PDF) (in Slovenian). Scientific and Research Institute, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. p. 142. ISBN 978-961-254-060-9. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  14. Quote: "Po nemškem napadu na SZ so se gibanju, ki ga je spodbudila ustanovitev PIF (ta se je konec junija preimenovala v OF) ...". [After the German attack of the Soviet Union, the movement prompted by the establishment of PIF (renamed at the end of June to OF) ...". Peter Vodopivec. "Od Pohlinove slovnice do samostojne države" (in Slovene) [From Pohlin's Grammar Book to an Independent State]. Modrijan Publishing House. Ljubljana, 2006. Pg. 268. ISBN 978-961-241-130-5.
  15. Quote: "In tako smo 30. 06. 1941 na plenumu razpravljali o tem, da je treba našo organizacijo preimenovati. Po dolgem ugibanju smo jo preimenovali v OF Slovenskega naroda." ["And so we discussed at the plenum of 30 June 1941 that our organisation has to be renamed. After a long guess, we renamed it as the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation." (Josip Vidmar, Bitka kakor življenje dolga. (in Slovene) [A Battle Long as a Life]. Cankarjeva založba [Cankar Publishing House], Ljubljana. 1978. Pg. 163)
  16. Repe, Božo (2 March 2011). Gregor K., ed. "Mi pa se nismo uklonili njih podivjani sili" [We Did not Submit to Their Rampant Force] (in Slovenian). Radio Študent.
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