Italy and Albania: The political and economic alliance and the Italian invasion of 1939

Peter Tase
As the successful coup d’etat of Rome in October 27 – 29, 1922, successfully unfolded and Benito Mussolini emerged into power, the threat of invasion and spread of fascism was looming over southeastern Europe and North African countries of Ethiopia, Libya and Somalia. Mussolini’s intentions would not be perceptible until October, 1935, the invasion of Ethiopia and consequently almost four years later with the invasion of Albania in April 7th, 1939, which is considered by many as the prelude to World War II. Italy’s role and support towards the implementation of infrastructure projects and economic development initiatives in Albania proved to be essential. The fascist regime of Benito Mussolini was also a strategic ally for King Zog I who was in a desperate need to establish a stable government and secure his monarchy. Although King Zog I came to power with the immense help of Yugoslavia, months later he established strong ties with Italy and worked tirelessly to foster strategic bilateral relations with Mussolini’s administration. Italo-Yugoslav Relations improved greatly after the signing of a bilateral agreement in March 25, 1937, therefore Benito Mussolini had the green light from the Yugoslav government – which brought King Zog I into power in December, 1924 – to storm with loans, equipment and human assets the newly created Albanian government which later would become a Kingdom under the rule of Zog I. The focus of this Essay will be the impact of Italian – Albanian Strategic Alliance, a detailed analysis on the pact of Tirana (1926), the Italian Strategic Interests on western Balkans and its subsequent invasion in April, 1939.

Italy, Albania, The National Bank of Albania, The Pact of Tirana, Benito Mussolini, Ahmet Zogu, Società per lo Sviluppo Economico dell’Albania (SVEA)

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