Separation from Austria
The First World War ends and, with the peace treaty of St. Germain, the southern part of the Austrian crown land of Tyrol becomes part of Italy. The new border is the Brenner Pass.
With the March on Rome, the Fascists take power in Italy and South Tyrol sees the beginning of a phase of forced Italianisation. Encouraged by Benito Mussolini’s regime, tens of thousands of Italians immigrate to South Tyrol, use of the German language is forbidden, German schools are closed, while German-speaking officials and teachers are dismissed or compulsorily transferred.
Hitler and Mussolini agree on a “solution” to the problem of South Tyrol. South Tyroleans will have the choice of leaving their homeland and being resettled in the German Reich, or becoming Italian citizens and abandoning their own identity. A massive campaign (also supported by the Nazis) begins in favour of resettlement, ultimately adopted by some 86 % of all South Tyroleans. Wartime events however mean that in the end “only” some 75,000 South Tyroleans actually leave their homeland.