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Title: La Politica Estera di Ahmet Zog. Lo Stato Indipendente Albanese 1920-1926
Tutor: Micheletta, Luca
Keywords: Ahmet Zogu
Issue Date: 25-Nov-2010
Abstract: The independence of Albania was proclaimed at Vlorë, on November 28th, 1912. The Conference of the Ambassadors which convened at London to settle amicably the Albanian question which nearly precipitated a general conflagration, recognized its independence and sovereignty which it placed under the collective protection of the then six great European powers. When, in accordance with the decisions of the Conference, Prince Wilhelm was placed on the throne of Albania, all the great Powers, besides the lesser ones, accredited to him their diplomatic representatives, whose ranks ranged from Ministers plenipotentiary to Charges d’Affaires. (It is to be remarked that in addition to the Albanian Ministers that had been appointed to Italy, Austria, Greece etc. etc., the Government of the Prince appointed also a Minister to the United States, but he failed to come to America in time.) Prince Wilhelm of Wied arrived in March 1914 but stayed only six months, when he fled the country at the outbreak of World War I. Following the downfall of Wilhelm mainly thanks to Italian intrigues a de facto government established under Essad Pasha. However the new government was not acceptable to the people because of its Italian origin and support, nevertheless the Powers still recognized it. Pasha was arrested on 19 May 1914 and tried for treason and sentenced to death. Only the intervention of Italy saved his life and he escaped to Italy in exile. Several months later, war broke out. The war led to occupation by the armies of France, Italy, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary. These invasions left Albania without any political stability, and the country was nearly absorbed by its neighbours after the war. The young Albanian state, though neutral, quickly became the object of Greek, Italian and Serbian attention, which did the utmost to bring the young country’s existence to an end, and split its territories among them. Albania became a battlefield. This situation imposed a long and weary war on Albanians. The country was beset by enemies, racket by intrigue, paralysed by grinding poverty. On 25 December 1918, Essad’s government was superseded by a new national government which was established by the National Albanian Assembly. Obviously, the Albanians were fully convinced that their sovereign and independent state (Albania), as recognized originally by the London Conference, had not impaired or interrupted by the general crisis that had convulsed the whole of Europe. Amidst the greatest difficulties and crises that the country had faced, the new government had almost miraculously succeeded in re-establishing State independence and the unity of the nation. It had also managed to establish the rule of law and order over the united Albanians whose confidence has remained high at all times. Pursuant to the agreement with Italy, signed at Tirana on 2 August 1920, which marked the end of a long-drawn and unequal struggle with Italy, the latter power recognized the independence and sovereignty of the Albanian state, handing over the province and seaport of Vlorë and at the same time becoming its guarantor against foreign aggression. Before the end of the struggle with Italy, France also had turned over to Albania the Provinces of Shkodër, in the north, and Korçë, in the south, which she had been holding for the avowed purpose of surrendering them to Serbia and Greece, respectively. Yugoslavia had repeatedly declared her intention to respect the independence and territorial integrity of Albania, but on the contrary an unfortunate conflict had broken out due solely to the Yugoslavs’ unjustified desire to hold a number of strategic points on the frontier. Fortunately, the conflict soon came to an end, particularly thanks to mediation by Great Britain. Greece had finally received the turning over to Albania of the provinces of Korçë and Gjirokastër, which constituted the so-called Northern Epirus, and through an agreement entered into by the two governments; the matter had been left to be settled by the Peace Conference, if not by the lapse of time. Anyway, Albania was in possession of all territories assigned to her by the London Conference in 1912, and at peace with all her neighbours, without there being any danger that the state of peace might be ever compromised by the then Albanian government which owed its origin to the National Convention that assembled at Lushnja on January 28, 1920, in the aftermath of the outburst of the popular indignation against the decision of the Powers to dismember Albania, and which had been effectively blocked by the intervention of the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, who vetoed the plans of Britain, France, and Italy at the Paris Peace Conference to divide Albania amongst its neighbours. From now up to annexation by Italy in April, 1939, Albania experienced an active political life and underwent rapid changes. In the course of such events developed intensively the political life of Ahmet Zog. He tried to take advantage of the contradictions between the Great Powers and neighbouring countries, protect Albania’s sovereignty and integrity and keep it away from the contemporary conflicts. In what can only be described as an isolated and backward corner of Europe barely emerged from the Middle Ages, Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister Ahmet Bey Zogolli in the 1920s, took the crown in the land of Ghegs and Tosks as King Zogu I, and presided over a kingdom most noted for its blood feuds. He took significant steps for the construction of a national unity, and of a national consciousness that he saw as his principal task, reducing the impact of divisive factors on Albanian society, such as regional loyalties, the traditional North-South division and religious differences. King Zog oriented his kingdom to the West and pursued an "open door" policy. His endeavours to make Albania a developed country economically, militarily and culturally according to western democracy models are known.

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