23. 11. 2013

Address by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Alenka Bratušek at the Rudolf Maister Day

Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Dear Citizens of the Republic of Slovenia,

Dear fellow Slovenians,


Today we celebrate the memory of Rudolf Maister, one of the greatest Slovenians of all times. He was a great statesman and strategist who knew and dared not only to think but also act in the direction of statehood. He was also a poet and lover of all arts. Without Rudolf Maister and his work the history of Slovenia would be completely different. His leadership of the Slovenian national army after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his fight for Slovenia's northern border in 1918-1920 are the acts by which he should be remembered and which certainly rank him as one of our nation's greatest heroes of the 20th century. General Maister deserves honour, tribute and thanks for preserving Maribor, the Slovenian part of Styria, Prekmurje and a part of Carinthia within the Slovenian national borders. His bold moves by which he succeeded in wresting the Slovenian national territory from German hands are still very topical today, when Slovenians are faced with a different kind of trouble.


General Maister's major quality was his ability to take prompt action, as he knew how to set the right goals at the right moment, and this is precisely what we are required to do today. The fact is that General Maister would not have been able to carry out a campaign no matter how well planned it had been without having exercised his authority: the courage and combative readiness of the Slovenian army of that time made it one of the best allied armies in Europe, victorious in its fight for freedom and justice. Even today, almost a century later, these bold moves, courage, determination and good strategy still prove to be of key importance in getting Slovenia out of a difficult situation.


The Slovenian nation has grown stronger due to the deeds of General Maister and other famous people like him. We have demonstrated in the past that we can be winners, that were are brave, bold and determined in response to the call of our homeland. Why should we not do the same today? We have demonstrated to ourselves and to the rest of the world a high level of solidarity when it comes to our common good. Today it is our homeland's call again and if we are able to respond to it properly, we have nothing to fear for our future. Today we are changing the world we live in in an unpleasant way. But, General Maister's fight for justice and freedom was certainly more difficult. Those who had underestimated his efforts were proved badly wrong. His merits were not recognised until after the fight was over. History teaches that the way to victory is always strewn with thorns and General Maister's legacy should remind us today that all major battles have been and will be victorious only when there is common will for victory.