Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The Forgotten Victims of the First World War - Widows, Orphans and War Invalids.

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
First World War, war widows and orphans, war-disabled persons (war invalids), situation of woman, emancipation, Austria-Hungary, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, social situation, social care, vulnerable groups, Red Cros
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (1)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  36397  PhD Gregor Antoličič  Historiography  Head  2020 - 2023  166 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,532 
The postdoctoral research project The Forgotten Victims of WWI – widows, orphans and war-disabled persons aims to explore the fate and situation of a big part of Slovenian victims of war during and after the First World War. The First World War caused massive casualties and exposed the belligerents and their successors to grave social issues. After the downfall of empires and the transition into new state entities, the issue of social care for the victims of war was put into the forefront. During the transition from Austria-Hungary to the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and then to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, this vulnerable group traumatized by war found itself in a very difficult situation. Austria-Hungary enabled social aid to widows and orphans and began establishing rehab centers for war-disabled persons, but the end of the war and the formation of the south Slavic state interrupted this process. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia adopted its first regulation foreseeing social care for victims of war only in 1920, while the first law was passed only in 1925. Therefore, the war was followed by a long transition period which put the victims in a difficult social and financial situation. On one side, women and their dependent children were in the process of emancipation while still having to take care of their home and family and seek social assistance for themselves and their children. During WWI, the emancipation was gaining momentum in Slovenia which meant that women broke away from their traditional roles as mothers and housewives to work in factories – among them also war widows. After the initial shock of their husbands leaving for the front, they were confronted with further sadness and shock after they found out they had fallen in battle. Not to be forgotten are also those women whose husbands did return from the battle, but were left scarred for life. Therefore, wives often had to take care of their war-disabled husbands and play a vital role in integrating them into post-war everyday life. While dealing with their fate, the war-disabled soldiers had to rely, along with the state aid, heavily on their loved ones. The fates of these three groups of victims of war were also intertwined outside of the laws that regulated their status. Accordingly, the main aim of this research is to explore the lives of these groups of war victims during the time of war and all the way to the adoption of the 1925 law. Another aspect of this project is to compare the situation in the Slovenian region with other European countries. A significant part of the project will be dedicated to answering the question whether the Slovenian victims of war, as former citizens of Austria-Hungary, were treated worse or whether their situation was more difficult than that of their Serbian and Montenegrin counterparts who fought against Austria-Hungary in WWI.
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