1939-1944 1949-1968

Albania 1944-1949

Status and Foreign Policy : At the Conference of Yalta (Feb. 1945), Albania was allocated to the British sphere of influence, together with Greece and Yugoslavia. Yet, when the German troops withdrew, Albanian Communist partisans were in control of the country, and Britain at first spent limited energy and attention on the remote mountainous region. A Provisional Government, dominated by the Communists, was recognized conditionally by the Big Three in December 1945. Britain did not recognize the communist Albanian government, the Bank of Britain froze prewar Albanian assets. Albania severed diplomatic relations. Britain, heavily involved in the (costly) Greek Civil War, did not pursue a similar policy in Albania; the communist administration was to stay. When two British navy vessels ran into a minefield in the Corfu Channel, this incident lead to a further deterioration of British-Albanian relations.
Albania supported the Greek Communists in the Greek Civil War. (Democratic) Greece claimed Northern Epirus. With Soviet support, Albania maintained a relatively large army and fortified coastal positions. Late in 1948 diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia were severed; Yugoslav advisors were expelled from Albania. These measures increased the country's dependence on the USSR; with the Greek Civil War coming to a close, Soviet interest in Albania declined. When COMECON was established in 1949, Albania became a beneficiary of economic aid without becoming member of the organization.

Domestic Policy : A People's Assembly was formed representing the country; it was dominated by the communists. Enver Hoxha was chairman of the council of ministers since 1946. In 1946, Albania introduced Universal Womanhood Suffrage. All political parties except the communist party were outlawed, a One-Party-State established. 1947 and 1948 saw Stalin-style party purges; in 1948 politicians branded as supporters of Tito were purged from the Communist Party . In 1948 Catholic schools were closed, a number of church leaders executed.

The Economy : Albania is one of Europe's economically most backward countries. When the communists took over, Large landowners were expropriated, collective farms established. Albania benefitted from relief supplies by the U.N.R.R.A. A Five-Year-Plan, following the Soviet model, was implemented in 1945. In 1946 Albania and Yugoslavia formed a monetary union; 1 Yugoslav Dinar valued as 1 Albanian Lek. In 1945-1948, Albania benefitted from Soviet as well as Yugoslav aid; the sudden decision to cut relations with Yugoslavia (1948) resulted in the geographical isolation of Albania and the necessity for increased Soviet aid; the monetary union with Yugoslavia was cut. The first Five Year Plan was scrapped, and replaced by a provisional Two Year Plan.

Entry Albania, from Global History of Currencies, by Bryan Taylor
Article History of the COMECON, History of Communist Albania, from Wikipedia
Enver Hoxha, from Wikipedia
Corfu Channel, from International Court of Justice, from Cornell Law School
DOCUMENTS Albanian Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
Albanian banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money and from Currency Museum
1949 Judgment by the International Court of Justice in the case between Albania and the U.K. over the Corfu Channel, posted by International Court of Justice, Contentious Cases
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 : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 p.38, 1947 p.36, 1948 p.37, 1949 pp.38-39, 1950 p.36 [G]
Article : Albania, in : Americana Annual 1945 pp.33-34, 1946 pp.37-39, 1947 pp.20-21 [G]
Article : Albania, in : New International Year Book 1945 pp.32-34 [G]
Article : Albania, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.34-35 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 10th 2002, last revised on February 28th 2007

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