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Founding a Balkan State

Founding a Balkan State: Albania's Experiment with Democracy, 1920-1925

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 248
  • Book Info
    Founding a Balkan State
    Book Description:

    Austin shrewdly demonstrates how the missed opportunities of Albania's political transition affected the course of Balkan history for decades to come.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9973-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    Robert C. Austin
  4. Map: Albania in the Twentieth Century
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Internal and External Challenges
    (pp. 3-27)

    While most Albanian political leaders in the early 1920s were careerists without a commitment to a defined program, there were also politicians and organizations with a long-term vision for Albania. Foremost among them were Fan Stylian Noli and Ahmed Bey Zogu, both of whom emerged as young and determined leaders of the new Albania. While not apparent from the outset, it was the conflict between these two that helped to define the political struggle from 1920 until Zog emerged triumphant in late 1924. This was a conflict between two types of politicians in Albania at the time: those who obtained...

  6. 2 Creating a Revolutionary Situation
    (pp. 28-53)

    Between April 1921 and June 1924, Albania’s internal political climate changed substantially, and the conflicts that had been taking shape in the immediate aftermath of the Lushnjë Congress became more intense. Increasing power drifted to Zogu, who came to be respected by the outside world as possibly the only Albanian politician who could maintain internal stability. As Zogu’s power increased, Noli’s prestige diminished, and as early as March 1922 Noli appeared to be a spent political force. However, Zogu’s increasing control over Albanian political life did not go unchallenged as the number of his enemies within Albania continued to increase....

  7. 3 Fan Noli in Power
    (pp. 54-74)

    By the beginning of June 1924 it appeared that Albania had made a fundamental break with the past, that substantial reform was a real possibility, and a new epoch was on the horizon. This was certainly how some leaders, especially Noli, viewed the situation. Fundamental questions, however, had not been answered, and Noli’s seizure of power was shaky, to say the least. The implementation of a new order required a far more cohesive group than that which Noli led; it also required vital political and financial support from abroad, and skilled legislators willing to make the necessary sacrifices and compromises....

  8. 4 Albania’s Neighbours – Yugoslavia and Greece
    (pp. 75-104)

    While facing extraordinary obstacles inside Albania, Noli knew if the ‘revolution’ of June 1924 was to triumph, a tranquil external environment was needed. Point 20 of his reform agenda vowed to pursue that end. However, a peaceful external environment proved elusive, and Noli was forced to divert considerable time and effort from domestic questions to deal with meddlesome neighbours. Aware that he faced difficulty in consolidating his June victory internally, Noli instead chose to place paramount importance on solving external problems first. To be fair, the circumstances by which Noli came to power required that he give a high priority...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  10. 5 Great Britain, Italy, and the United States
    (pp. 105-131)

    Noli placed great hopes in Great Britain as his best possible ally. His experience at the League, where British support proved so vital on a number of issues, shaped his ideas. Moreover, as a firm supporter of the British parliamentary system, he hoped in the long run to establish a similar system in Albania. In an interview in Geneva with theTimes,Noli declared that the Albanians would not soon forget that their country’s admission to the League was due chiefly to Britain’s and the Dominions’ support.² Great Britain, he reasoned, was a disinterested power in a good position to...

  11. 6 The League of Nations and the Soviet Union
    (pp. 132-145)

    In 1924, while Noli had hoped that Britain would assume the role, as it had in 1920, of a disinterested protector of Albanian interests, he also placed considerable faith in the League of Nations as a potential source of support. However, Noli’s goal was frustrated by the intransigence of the League, which remained tied to the Great Powers and unable to move independently toward helping Albania. He also often served to make matters worse by adopting an arrogant tone with the organization, wrongly assuming that Albania was the centre of the world and that the success of his reform program...

  12. 7 Traitor One Day, Patriot the Next
    (pp. 146-156)

    By the beginning of December 1924, the Albanian experiment with reform was deeply troubled, and achievements after four years of flirtation with a compromised form of political pluralism were limited. The far from cohesive group that seized power in June had ruptured beyond repair, and the main camps were busy preparing for new elections that would, in theory, finally decide the main questions facing the state since 1920. By the time he returned from Geneva, Noli enjoyed little credibility in the country and was no longer capable of shaping events. As one Albanian historian noted, the ‘democratic revolution’ was surrounded.¹...

  13. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 157-164)

    In its broadest sense, the purpose of this study was to chronicle the vicissitudes of state and nation building efforts in Albania that culminated in Fan Noli’s seizure of power in June 1924, his subsequent fall in December of the same year, and its implications for Albania in the interwar period. With very little time on his hands, Noli sought to fundamentally alter the main pillars of Albania’s domestic and foreign policies. He thus confronted the main obstacles to stability and democratization, apparent throughout the early 1920s in the Balkans, and attempted to eliminate them through radical reforms. Albania’s and...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 165-204)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 205-212)
  16. Index
    (pp. 213-222)