Albania Contemporary History Part III

By | December 15, 2021

In Durres, meanwhile, in October 1914 Esad Pasha had been appointed head of the provisional government by the Albanian senate. But at the end of 1915 the Austrians advanced on Scutari, Alessio, Croia and Durazzo; and a new insurrection, favored by Austria, drove Hexad from this latter city. The Bulgarians occupied at the beginning of 1916 Monastir, Ochrida, Berat and Elbasan, looking out with patrols as far as the sea between Durres and Valona. The Italian forces were then concentrated in Valona, ​​which in 1915 liberated a large part of southern Albania from the Greeks and in 1916 halted the Austro-German advance towards the Voiussa. In February 1917, contact was established with the French troops, who, advancing from Macedonia, had reached Ersek; in June of the same year the Italian army occupied Preveza and Pindo, enthusiastically welcomed by the prevalent Aromuna population. In June 1918 our troops, starting the offensive towards the north, occupied Berat, and in union with French troops towards the Macedonian border, they proceeded rapidly after the conclusion of the armistice with Bulgaria. In Scutari the control commission was reconstituted, made up of members of the allied countries; but France maintained until June 1920 the occupation of the countries where her troops were at the time of the armistice, that is, of the districts of Corizza, Starova and part of those of Skrapari and Berat. For Albania 1998, please check

All northern, central and southern Albania, with the exception of the left bank of the Black Drin, occupied by the Serbs, was under Italian influence. In 1917, General Ferrero’s Gjirokaster proclamation had already promised the independence of Albania under the protection of Italy; and the promise was then kept. Almost entirely occupied the principality of Albania, as it had been established in 1913, Italy favored the establishment of a regular Albanian government there, formed in Durres by Turhan Pasha in December 1918, and met many needs of the new state with works public, financial assistance, cultural and charitable institutions. The Italo-Greek agreement of 29 July 1919, which recognized the Greek aspirations on Southern Albania and followed complicated negotiations carried out during the Peace Conference and following the London pact, for the new structure of Albania considered in relation to the Adriatic settlement, made Italy momentarily lose the traditional Albanian sympathy. In January 1920 a national assembly was convened in Lushnjë, which energetically reaffirmed the purpose of the most strenuous resistance against any partition of Albania.

International intrigues, also operating on the Albanian soul who emerged from the war, troubled and distrustful of any organizational work even carried out to his advantage, led to the insurrection of Valona against the Italian occupation of this city. Having lost some external position, the city of Valona nevertheless remained in the hands of Italy until the Tirana protocol, concluding the negotiations already conducted for some time in Tirana by Baron Aliotti and then by Count Manzoni, led to the eviction of Valona by Italy which he only kept the island of Saseno. During the same negotiations, Italy had also denounced the Italo-Greek pact of 29 July 1919, freeing itself from any commitment regarding southern Albania. Italy was thus able to resume good relations with the

With regard to internal politics, the agitations often fomented by external ambitions continued in this period, which were capable of increasingly alienating the soul of the Albanians from the possibility of agreements with neighboring states. As for the Greeks the year 1914, so for the Serbs 1920 marked the collapse of the sympathies gathered up to then in Albania; and this following the destruction of about 30 Albanian villages carried out by the Serbs in the Dibrano, in response to the attack given by the Albanian nationalists on the Yugoslav border in the autumn of 1920.

In the same year (1920) the twenty-five-year-old Ahmed Zogu, from an ancient ruling family of Mati, appeared on the big political scene. The Albanian history is summarized from this moment in his political vicissitudes. Leaving power at the end of 1920, he returned there as Minister of the Interior in 1921, in the same year in which, probably for the purpose of political pressure, raids on Tirana by Dibrane bands led by Aqif Lleshi, Taf Kaziu and other leaders were taking place. dibrani, some of them officers of the Yugoslav reserve. An important event of the same year 1921 is also the release of the relatives of Esad Pasha, members of the powerful Toptani family, who, after his killing in Paris in 1920, had been imprisoned to overthrow their influence in central Albania.. Freed among others Ahmed bey Toptani, in 1922 he attempted a coup on Tirana with Jusuf Eles, Zià Dibra and other opponents of Zogu. The attack failed, and Durres too, temporarily occupied by Ahmed bey Toptani, had to be evacuated when a battalion from Mati arrived, loyal to Zogu, and numerous armed peasants, led by the powerful Bey of Elbasan, Shefqet Verlaci. A violent repression followed which helped to assert the prestige of Zogu. Who, following this new blow to the power of the beys of central Albania, was able to review his internal policy directives and partially detach himself from the nationalists, who had carried out the movements of 1920 with him, supporting himself in the upcoming elections to the party conservative.

Albania Contemporary History Part III