After the death of Stalin and the manifestations of Khrushchev's treacherous, revisionist policy, the practically kinship, fraternal relations between the Soviet Union and Albania were destroyed. Tirana's disagreements with Moscow grew with each new attack by Khrushchev against Stalin, reaching its climax after a report at the XX Party Congress in February 1956. Khrushchev's leadership Khoja henceforth referred to as "imperialists and revisionists" who, "opening their mouths to the great Stalin," dared to launch a campaign against communism.
When Khrushchev called on Khoja to rehabilitate the members of the Communist Party who suffered for the support of Yugoslavia and the decisions of the XNUMXth Congress, in the following words:
"You are like Stalin, who killed people."
Then the Albanian leader calmly replied:
"Stalin killed traitors, we also kill them."
Having occupied Albania (How Italy occupied Albania) and joining it in the framework of "personal union", Italy established full control over the internal politics, trade and resources of the country. The Italians relied on the puppet Albanian Fascist Party. Albania was to become a part of "Great Italy", the Italians received the right to settle in Albania as colonists.
When the Italian-Greek war broke out in the fall of 1940, Albania became a springboard for Italy to invade. Albanian fascist militia legions took part in the war with Greece. Later, other Albanian units were formed - infantry and volunteer battalions (later regiments), artillery and anti-aircraft batteries. Also, Albanians were taken into the Italian troops, the Navy, the Air Force, border guards, etc.
However, the Greeks repulsed the blow, launched a counteroffensive and occupied Southern Albania (Northern Epirus). The Italians took control of the area when Germany defeated Yugoslavia and Greece in the spring of 1941. The Grand Duchy of Albania, created in August 1941 by decree of the Italian king Victor Emmanuel, included the territories of Metohija, Kosovo and western Macedonia.
Fight for Albania
Soon a new stage began in the struggle for Albania. The Albanian king Ahmet Zogu, who fled to London in September 1941, called on the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition to recognize him as the only legal authority in Albania. At this time in Albania there were his supporters, monarchists (or zogists). They were based in the north of the country. The Zogist rebels were headed by the head of the monarchist movement "Legality" ("Legality") Abaz Kupi.
Zog, who had changed his political orientation more than once, was brushed aside by the great powers. In London, Moscow, and then in Washington, they were interested in expanding the partisan movement in Albania in order to divert Italian troops from North Africa and Russia. Great power rivalries developed for control of the insurgency and, accordingly, the future of Albania. However, among the Albanian partisans, the most active role was played by the communists based in southern Albania.
On November 7, 1941, in Tirana, an underground conference of communists proclaimed the creation of the Albanian Communist Party (Albanian Party of Labor). Enver Hoxha became the deputy first secretary of K. Dzodze, and was also approved as the commander-in-chief of the partisan formations. The red partisans had more popular support than the Zogist monarchists or the Bali Kombetar (Popular Front) nationalists. In addition, Albanian nationalists leaned towards the Nazis and German Nazis. And in the end we went over to their side.
Britain had the best opportunities to supply the Albanian partisans, however, in the leadership of the Albanian resistance, E. Hoxha took the leading positions, who had already visited Moscow, studied at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, the Institute of Foreign Languages, and met with Stalin and Molotov. Hoxha promised to defeat the Nazis of Albania and build a socialist state based on the teachings of Lenin-Stalin. Khoja announced the future restoration of Albania's independence, rejecting the territorial claims of Italy and Yugoslavia.
This was a blow to the plans of British Prime Minister Churchill, who did not rule out a possible post-war partition of Albania between Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece. Thus, Britain tried to lure these countries over to its side. Churchill tried to improve his position in Albania with the help of diplomatic maneuver. In December 1942, England, followed by the United States, supported the idea of restoring a free Albania. The form of government was to be established by the Albanian people themselves. Then London offered Moscow to officially join the Anglo-American guarantees of non-interference in the affairs of Albania. The Soviet government replied that "the question of the future state system of Albania is its internal affair and must be decided by the Albanian people themselves."
German soldiers in Albania. September 1943
Albanian communist victory
After the defeat of the German and Italian forces at Stalingrad and the successes of the Allied forces against Italy, the Italian occupation forces were partially demoralized. The partisans significantly expanded their zone of influence, the number of units and formations of the People's Liberation Army under the leadership of Khoja increased (NOAA was formed in July 1943). Communist guerrillas increasingly came into conflict with nationalists. Italy surrendered in September 1943. The Royal Government of Italy has declared war on Germany. Italian troops in Albania laid down weapon, part of the 9th Army went over to the side of the partisans. German troops entered Albania before Italy's surrender.
The Germans announced the restoration of the "independence" of Albania. The wealthy Kosovar landowner Mitrovica became the prime minister of the pro-German puppet government. He relied on the support of the military formations of Northern Albania and Kosovo. He was supported by feudal lords, tribal elders and leaders. The National Front (nationalist ballists) also went over to the side of Germany. In particular, Albanian nationalists and Muslims fought as part of the 21st SS division "Skanderbeg" (1st Albanian), the "Kosovo" regiment, etc. They were noted in a number of brutal war crimes against Serbs, Montenegrins, communists, Albanian and Yugoslav partisans.
Yugoslav support in organization and armament made the communist NOAA the most combat-ready guerrilla force, far superior to the nationalists and monarchists. By the beginning of the winter of 1943-1944, the partisans had made great strides in the southern and central parts of the country. The number of NOAA under the leadership of Khoja reached 20 thousand people. In the winter, the Germans and collaborators launched a major counteroffensive in the south and center of Albania. After fierce battles, the Germans took up, the partisans retreated to inaccessible mountain areas. They retained their morale, potential and quickly recovered their numbers.
In the summer of 1944, NOAA seized the initiative and liberated much of the country again. On May 24, 1944, the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council of Albania was formed, reorganized on October 20 of the same year into the Provisional Democratic Government. It was headed by General Khoja, all the key posts in the government were given to the communists. In November, NOAA liberated the capital Tirana and all major cities in Albania. The remnants of the German troops went to Yugoslavia.
The Albanian People's Liberation Army (up to 60 thousand people) is the only one in Europe that independently liberated the entire country. NOAA then helped liberate Greece and Yugoslavia. After the end of the war, the Albanian People's Army was created on the basis of NOAA. A special unit - the "internal security division", became the structural and personnel basis for the state security service of the People's Republic (Sigurimi).
Guerrilla Enver Hoxha
Along the path of the USSR
After the liberation of the country was completed, the communists became an overwhelming military and political force in Albania. Formally, Albania was still a monarchy, but King Zog was banned from entering the country, and the monarchist movement (Legality) was defeated. Its members were repressed or fled from the country. The resistance of the Balli Kombetar (nationalists) was suppressed by force. All the remaining political forces were united under the auspices of the Communist Party. In December 1945, elections were held for the Constitutional Assembly. The communists got the majority, non-communist deputies showed political loyalty. In January 1946, the Constitution of the People's Republic of Albania (NRA) was approved, which was developed on the basis of the basic laws of the Soviet Union and socialist Yugoslavia. The Council of Ministers was headed by E. Hoxha, he also headed the Communist Party.
The new government enjoyed broad popular support. The Communist Party was supported by peasants, youth, women, a significant part of the intelligentsia. Hoxha's communist government was backed by many left-wing republicans, rank-and-file monarchists, and nationalists, inspired by sweeping reforms, strong power, and independence. The former feudal and tribal hierarchy was scrapped, extensive social reforms were carried out, and the equality of women was introduced. An agrarian reform was carried out, landlord ownership was destroyed, the debts of the peasants were canceled, they received land, pastures and livestock. The elimination of illiteracy took place. There was a sharp increase in social mobility, young people received a good education, could develop a career.
The main social lift was the army. The goals were set for industrialization, modernization, creation of modern infrastructure, education and health systems. All this deprived the enemies of the Khoja regime of their social base. All attempts by the anti-communist émigré forces to raise an uprising in Albania failed.
It is clear that a small, impoverished and war-ravaged country could not do all this on its own. Albania had some important resources - oil, coal, chromium, copper, etc. But apart from oil, other minerals have hardly been exploited. There was no adequate personnel, funds and equipment. The industry was in its infancy, mostly at the artisanal level. The people were poor, they did not have the means to raise the country on the basis of internal resources.
The West would not finance the communist regime. So, Britain offered help with finances, food, all the necessary materials, in the restoration of infrastructure, but demanded "free" and allied-controlled elections. The Albanian army was armed with captured (German and Italian) and allied (British and American) weapons. There was ammunition for several days of fighting. The uniforms of the army were 50% British and captured, the rest of the troops had only part of the ammunition or did without it. The soldiers lived from hand to mouth. The country was threatened by famine.
Fraternal Soviet aid
E. Hoxha declared himself a staunch supporter of Stalin's policy. The Soviet leader expressed support for socialist Albania, personally to Khoja during his visit to the Union in June 1945. The Albanian leader was present at the Victory Parade, was in Stalingrad, received assurances of Soviet scientific, technical and material assistance.
Already in August 1945, the first Soviet steamers arrived in Albania with food, medicine and equipment. Direct assistance in the West could be regarded as the USSR's interference in the internal affairs of Albania. Therefore, at first, Albania was formally helped not by the Union, but by Yugoslavia - in gratitude for the help in liberating this country from the Nazis. Food was brought from Russia, ammunition and equipment from captured warehouses in Poland.
Hundreds of Albanian students studied in the USSR. Soviet oilmen, geologists, engineers, teachers and doctors arrived in Albania. The Soviet people created industry and energy in a backward agrarian country. In the summer of 1947, Khoja again visited the Union. Stalin presented him with the Order of Suvorov. The tyrant was promised to re-equip the army for free and was provided with a soft loan for the purchase of various goods. Subsequently, Albania was provided with new soft loans, plus gratuitous assistance with food and technology. In the Stalin-Tito conflict in 1948-1949, Enver supported Moscow. He feared Belgrade's plans to create a Balkan Federation with the incorporation-absorption of Albania.
In 1950, Albania joined the CMEA, and in 1955 - the Warsaw Pact. In 1952, the USSR built a naval base near the city of Vlore. Taking into account the geographical position of Albania, it was a strategic base. We got a base in the Balkans and the Mediterranean.
Why Albania rebelled against the USSR
Enver sincerely believed in Stalin's policy, considered him to be his mentor. Therefore, Khrushchev's anti-Stalinism, his "perestroika-1", which, in fact, brought a bomb under Soviet civilization that exploded already under Gorbachev (betrayal of communism, the return to the rails of predatory, anti-human capitalism), led to a sharp deterioration in relations between Moscow and Tirana. Disagreements with the Khrushchev regime grew steadily and reached their climax after Khrushchev's report at the 1956th Party Congress in February XNUMX. Then Khoja and the head of the State Council of China Zhou Enlai left the congress in protest, without waiting for its closure. It is worth noting that Khrushchev's anti-Stalinist policies provoked irritation in China and North Korea.
The Albanian leadership has abandoned de-Stalinization. Enver called the Khrushchevites "imperialists and revisionists", renegades who encroached on the great Stalin. Enver noted:
“Stalin's good, immortal deed must be fully defended. He who does not defend him is an opportunist and a coward. "
Khrushchev threatened to curtail aid to Albania. In 1961, Khrushchev harshly criticized the Albanian leadership. Soviet specialists are being recalled from Albania. Joint Soviet-Albanian projects are being frozen. Under pressure from Moscow, almost all socialist countries are curtailing economic cooperation with Albania and freezing credit lines. In response, Tirana is strengthening economic relations with China.
Then there was a complete rupture.
In May 1961, Moscow withdraws submarines from Vlora. 4 submarines, with Albanian crews, remained. Chinese specialists began to serve them, and they served for another three decades.
The training of Albanian officers and cadets in Soviet schools and academies is being stopped. In 1962, Albania withdrew from the CMEA, in 1968 - from the Warsaw bloc.
Tirana headed for rapprochement with Beijing. In 1978, a break with the PRC followed (the Chinese leadership moved towards rapprochement with the West).
True, Albania has retained political, commercial and cultural ties with a number of countries.