1878-1912 1918-1924

Albania in World War I

Although an Albanian National Movement had emerged late in the 19th century, the creation of an independent Albanian State in 1913 is the result of diplomatic pressure exerted by Austria-Hungary and Italy on the Balkan states victorious in the FIRST BALKAN WAR of 1912. In 1913 the KINGDOM OF ALBANIA was created; large areas with an Albanian-speaking majority, notably KOSOVO (allocated to Serbia) and CAMRIA (= southern Epirus, allocated to Greece) were left outside of the borders of the Albanian state. The new King, prince WILHELM ZU WIED, arrived in March 1914; unfamiliar with the language and customs of the land, he departed in the first weeks of World War I. The capital of the young kingdom was TIRANA.

Albania, a country comparatively backward and in the process of being organized, was without allies; Serbia, which in 1912/13 had ambitions to annex the entire territory, regarded it as an artificial state owing it's existence to the protection offered by Austria-Hungary and Italy. When World War I broke out, Albania remained neutral, and none of the rival powers seems to have been interested in drawing Albania to their side. When Serbia's position became untenable because of Bulgaria's entry into the war in October 1915, the forces of landlocked Serbia, refused permission to march across Montenegrin territory, disrespected Albania's neutrality and marched across northern Albania to the coast from where they were shipped to the Greek island of Corfu, which was to become their base for the remainder of the war.
Albania's neutrality now had been violated and the Central Powers invaded, occupying the country's north. The Greeks proceeded occupying the south, which they called NORTHERN EPIRUS; the Greek forces received the support of the local Greek minority. CENTRAL ALBANIA was occupied by Italian forces (1915-1916); the Italians were pushed back by the Central Powers.
During World War I, the Albanian front was a side show of a side show, not receiving much international attention. The little state organization it had had disintegrated.

Railway construction in Albania began in 1917.

HSH Albanian Railways, by F. Valoczy and G. Sarbutt
DOCUMENTS Albanian Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
Albanian banknotes 1917, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money, scroll down to 'special issues'
The Establishment of the Principality of Albania, 1912-1913, Washington GPO publication 1918, posted by Mt. Holyoke
The Albanian Question in the Balkan Crisis of 1913, Washington GPO publication 1918, posted by Mt. Holyoke
A Brief Historical Atlas of Albania-One-Nation-All by Giovanni Armilotta
REFERENCE Miranda Vickers, The Albanians - a Modern History, (1995) London : Tauris 2001, 282 pp., KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.65 V637a
Article : Albania, pp.612-618 in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, vol.14, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.14
Article : Albania, in : New International Year Book 1913 pp.28-30, 1916 p.27, 1918 pp.31-32 [G]
Gabriel Louis-Jaray, Au Jeune Royaume d'Albanie (1914), posted by Gutenberg Online Library
Jacob Gould Schurman, The Balkan Wars 1912-1913 (1916), posted by Gutenberg Library Online

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 25th 2002, last revised on October 15th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz