The Fiume Crisis: How It’s a Key to Rethinking post-WWI Europe

Lecture | October 17 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 270 Stephens Hall

 Dominique Kirchner Reill, Associate Professor, History, University of Miami

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES)

The Fiume Crisis recasts what we know about the birth of fascism, postwar nationalist activism, and the fall of empire after 1918 by telling the story of the three-year period when the Adriatic port-city Fiume (today known by its Croatian name Rijeka) became an international fiasco that stalled negotiations at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and became the setting for the fifteen-month occupation of the city by the poet-soldier Gabriele D’Annunzio, an occupation many believe Mussolini copied explicitly in his rise to power. The history of Fiume in this period is usually cited as the natural outgrowth of extreme nationalism at the end of World War One, which led to it becoming the birthplace of charismatic fascism. The Fiume Crisis upends this story by showing that what happened in Fiume had little to do with D’Annunzio, charisma, or proto-fascism. Rather, the Fiume Crisis was a result of the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy and all the promises and challenges that living in a “ghost state” presented.