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lundi, 02 janvier 2012

Fascism in Albania

Fascism in Albania





Ex: http://xtremerightcorporate.blogspot.com/

It is often stated as a fact that the Italian invasion of Albania was an unprovoked act of aggression by Mussolini who was simply trying to make some territorial acquisition of his own in order to keep pace with the expansion of his ally Nazi Germany. Although it may be often repeated, this is simply not true. Italy had very long-standing interests in Albania but the actual invasion was not something Mussolini had planned out ahead of time. In fact, it came at a very inopportune moment, the very same month that the Spanish Civil War ended, which had been a very hard-fought victory for the Italian forces. It was that same month, when the Italian economy had already been pushed to the limit by wars in Ethiopia and Spain that the Albanian government announced a moratorium on their debts to Italy. Mussolini informed the trumped-up King, Zog, that these debts would have to be repaid as agreed. Previously, Italy had been very friendly with Albania. They had expelled Greek troops from the country in World War I, preserving its independence, had signed a number of friendship and defensive treaties with them and, obviously, had loaned them considerable amounts of money.

Not surprisingly, another issue was Albania giving Italy access to her oil wells at Devoli. This was something that concerned Mussolini greatly as the League of Nations sanctions in Italy during the Ethiopian war had proven to him how much Italy depended on imported oil. The country had virtually no mineral resources of its own, but oil was the most vital necessity and Mussolini did not want Italy to be in a position where foreign powers could starve Italy of such a commodity in the future. There was also the fact that the world community, after the First World War, had pretty much recognized Albania as an Italian protectorate and the Italians had a long history in the region. The ancient Romans had settled on the shores of Albania even before they controlled the whole of the Italian Peninsula and the Republic of Venice had had extensive holdings in Albania. Moreover, the self-promoted King of the Albanians had used the money Italy poured into the country in return for access to oil in order to enrich himself, his family and his own circle of supporters while the rest of the population lived in mild to dire poverty.


King Zog, as he called himself (inventing an illustrious ancestry going back to Albanian historical heroes after promoting himself from politician to monarch) was far from an admirable figure or a pitiable victim of Fascist aggression. He had clawed his way to the top and, as his biographer Jason Hunter Tomes wrote, “unable and frankly unwilling to have much faith in any group of his people, Zog strove to keep all classes in unstable equilibrium. Through hours of hideously convoluted talk, he obsessively manipulated his assorted underlings (nearly all older than himself) in an effort to exercise personal control from seclusion”. He was a small-time, puffed up potentate who would be most remembered for making it into the Guinness Book of World records for being the heaviest smoker in the world, sucking down 225 cigarettes a day. His tyrannical rule kept liberal-minded Albanians upset while his abolition of Islamic law and marriage to a Catholic Hungarian-American outraged conservatives in the Muslim nation. His love for poker also did not endear him to the majority of his people (gambling being forbidden in the Muslim religion) and he was involved in numerous feuds and vendettas with rival clans so that he was guarded constantly and lived as a recluse, fearing to go out in public.

Much has been made of the assassination attempts on King Zog as a way of justifying his cowardly, reclusive behavior, but it doesn’t hold water. Mussolini was the subject of more than one assassination attempt and yet it never phased him in the least and he was always going out in public, constantly among his people, his soldiers, in Italy and across the empire. Zog was a cowardly, corrupt back-stabber with delusions of grandeur and that is all there is to it. Even with all of that though, Mussolini might have looked the other way. The breaking point was Albania reneging on her debts and then the information that came to light showing that Zog was conspiring with the Greeks to get him out of the financial pinch his own greed had put him in. The last thing Italy wanted was Greece getting a foothold in Albania again and throwing into jeopardy Italian access to Albanian oil wells and metal mines. When all of this came together, Mussolini had little choice but to act and order Italian armed forces to occupy Albania.


The Albanian police and soldiers scattered pretty quickly after the Italian troops landed and King Zog issued, what the international media would later make famous, appeal to his people to rise up and resist the invaders. The problem was that the vast majority of Albanians were too poor to even own a radio so almost no one in his own country even heard him, though the media made sure plenty of people in France and Britain and the United States did, using it as an example of Fascist aggression against a weak, innocent, saintly little country. We assume those hard working Americans had no idea that the King they heard on the radio had never even seen an Italian soldier before he was racing toward the border in a fleet of limousines loaded down with gold bars, fancy furniture, designer suites and evening gowns, lavish jewelry and, of course, crates full of cigarettes. And the fact of the matter is that the occupation of Albania was not really much of an invasion or conquest. Only a handful of Italians were killed and most of the Albanian population came out to cheer their “conquerors” who had delivered them from the backward tribalism Zog had subjected them to. The Albanian people were not stupid and they could see as well as anyone that they were living in an impoverished backwater while Fascism had brought order, stability, jobs and economic efficiency to Italy.

Although no one would want to admit it today, about the only time Albania achieved any level of progress was during the years after Albania was annexed to the Italian Empire on April 16. It was only during those years that Albanian territory expanded to include almost all ethnic Albanians in the region, taking in the contested region of Kosovo, border areas of what is now Montenegro and others. Italian companies invested in Albania and there was a brief economic upsurge before the war brought everything to a standstill. What is more, not even all the Allies who would later feign outrage over the occupation of Albania objected at the time. Even so staunch an enemy of the Fascist government as the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden sent Mussolini a personal telegram immediately afterwards thanking him for his swift and correct action and assuring him of British support for the move which most felt surely headed off a much greater Balkan crisis if the corrupt King Zog had been allowed to continue on his way. The only major Allied power that was really upset by it was the French because they were afraid that the annexation of Albania had secured the eastern frontier of Italy leaving them free to focus on the west. They were, perhaps, nervous that Mussolini would next look to reclaim ethnically Italian areas under French control like Savoy, Nice and Corsica.


Also untrue is the claim by some that Albania during the Fascist period was totally controlled by Italians. The two viceroys during the period were Italians but the prime ministers of the Albanian government were all Albanians. The first had even been prime minister for Zog (even though the two hated each other which was typical). The next one had fought on the Turkish side against Italy in the Italo-Turkish War of 1912, yet after Albania was annexed he was given a seat in the Roman Senate. Likewise the last two were both born and raised ethnic Albanians, so these were not simply Italian puppets by any means. It was the Albanian government, everyone forgets, that voted to depose King Zog (who had fled the country anyway and was still running) and then voted for the union with Italy. The problem was the war, which had to occupy the full attention of Rome rather than domestic concerns in Albania or Italy. Unlike even Ethiopia, there was not time for much development or progress because the war was the primary focus. So many Albanians continued their feuding ways. Some cooperated, some resisted because they were communists and on the Allied side and some nationalists resisted as well, stupidly so, because it was only with Italian support that their goal of a “Greater Albania” pretty much came true. Of course they also fought each other most of the time also.

So what was the result? Without the Fascists overseeing things it all went to hell PDQ. After the Italian armistice in 1943 the Germans came in for a while, with the same result, some Albanians cooperating and others resisting and others fighting everybody. In the end, with the Allied victory came, of course, the Communist victory (which was World War II in a nutshell; making the world safe for communism) and Enver Hoxha became the new communist dictator of Albania. He had been a communist partisan, leader of an Anti-Fascism committee and all the usual stuff, an avowed Leninist puppet for the international Bolsheviks in Moscow pretty much. Some of his deluded followers even continued on and helped Tito take power in Yugoslavia, so they were helping the very people who were going to strip away all the territory they had gained thanks to the Italians (which of course they wanted to keep). Hoxha was a fawning sycophant for Joseph Stalin and when he finally figured out he had made Albania a puppet of Yugoslavia he reversed course and decided to be a puppet of Soviet Russia. This went so far that when Stalin died, Hoxha actually made all the Albanians get down on their knees and give thanks to the memory of their great Soviet “liberator”.

Hoxha was such a mindless, Stalinist ass hat that relations with the USSR soured when Khrushchev took over and tried to restore at least a little bit of sanity to things. Hoxha denounced Khrushchev as a sell-out but went on praising Stalin as practically a god. He finally drew closer to Mao and the Red Chinese who he thought had more Marxist purity than the Soviets. When China got tired of his insanity he had no choice but to turn back to Russia and even Yugoslavia again -so went the Albanian Communist search for a sugar-daddy. It wasn’t happening. China denounced Albania and so, in his time in power, not only had Hoxha brought oppression, poverty and death to his people, lost them most of their territory and regional standing, but in the whole communist world he had managed to piss off the Yugoslavs, the Soviets and the Maoists, leaving Albania absolutely alone. What an achievement. Under Hoxha and his communist idiots Albania had achieved only one thing; having the absolute lowest standard of living of any country in all of Europe. There was one more leader after him of the communist era who then became the first President of the post-communist era (typical of the Reds, just change your coat and carry on) and there still hasn’t been much improvement since.

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