Slovenia Remembers Legendary Military Figure

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In a message on Rudolf Maister Day, Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek underlined the general's boldness, decisiveness and ability to set the right goals at the right moment.

These are the traits Slovenia needs also in the current difficult economic situation, she added.

Before the ceremony a memorial room dedicated to the general's life and work will be inaugurated at the house where he was born. A smaller ceremony will also be held in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje with head of the War for Slovenia Veterans' Association Ladislav Lipič as the key-note speaker.

Maister is seen as one of the most prominent military personalities in Slovenian history. It is largely owing to him that Maribor, Slovenia's second city, and the northeast of Slovenia became part of the new Yugoslav state rather than Austria following the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Maister was in command of the regional headquarters at the end of World War I and in 1918 assumed command of Maribor and the Slovenian part of Carinthia. He set up a Slovenian army of 4,000 soldiers, disarmed the German Schutzwehr security service, and disbanded the militia of the German city council.

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The general then occupied Slovenian ethnic territory, establishing the northern border between Austria and Yugoslavia that was later ratified by the Saint Germain Peace Treaty. The same border still runs between Slovenia and Austria today.

Parliament designated 23 November as Maister Day in September 2005, but did not make it a bank holiday.

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