The People’s Republic of Albania by Nicholas C. Pano

This book demonstrates the rise to power of the Communist Party in the country of Albania. It starts with the background of the country and moves on to the years of World War Two, when the communists came to power in the country. There were two kinds of communists in the country, those who associated themselves with Yugoslavia and those who followed the path of the Soviet Union. The relationships between the two are the subjects of this book. Albania is a very poor country and the leaders of it had to associate themselves with one of the regimes in order for the country to survive. At first the regime was loyal to Yugoslavia then to Soviet Union and in the end of 1950’s and 1960’s Albanians found China as their protector following many disagreement that occurred between Albania and Soviet Union. The problem with the book is that it was written in 1967, so the reader is left with many questions unanswered, what happened after 1967? For the reader today, additional research is needed in order to further follow the developments in this country.
The author goes in a lot of detail in order to show the development of the relationship between Albania and Soviet Union. His task is to show why Albania moved away from Moscow and found a new protector in China. The main reason why the shift between the two occurred is because Soviet Union developed friendly relations with Tito, and as we see from the history of Albania there is a strong ‘dislike’ of the Yugoslavian leader and the country by many Albanian Communists. This attitude towards Yugoslavia is founded by the fact that it wanted to make Albania part of Yugoslavia following the war, moreover, Albania had claims over the territory of Kosovo, because of the large Albanian populations living in the territories. However, this territory went to Yugoslavia and Albanians were very bitter about this development.
Yugoslavia was a threat to Albania, Soviet Union on the other hand, was far away from Albania, so there was no threat of physical absorption on its part. Moreover, Moscow had greater resources, so it was more capable of helping Albania in its economic development, as well as military protection. Albania made many improvements it the country due to the monetary support by the Soviet Union. However, Soviets wanted it to develop its agriculture, and not heavy industry. Albanians viewed it as a way of controlling the county, and continued to develop its industry instead of agriculture. However, the main reason for the worsening of the relations between the two was Yugoslavia, which Albanians claimed was not truly communist and they called on all communist republic to return to true Marxist-Leninist roots. As the relationship with Moscow worsened, and money stopped coming in, Albania stood by its principles and did not give in to Moscow, instead it found new source of support in Beijing. At the same time Soviet-Chinese relations worsen and it became Albania and China against the rest of the communist world. Albania was not very important to Soviet Union and the only reason it was given so much importance is because of China. Soviet Union used Albania as its proxy through which it carried out their struggles against China (Pano, p.141). The book ends with Albania still the only communist country in Europe with no friend on its continent, having the only friend in Asia.

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