Albania, this small country situated in the south-western part of the Balcans, was among the first countries which was occupied on the 7th pa April 1939 by the fascist Italy of Mussolini, on the eve of the II World War.
GV's Ships in harbour, planes overhead
GV troops disembark, pan troops
STILLS of map and fighting scene
GV's armoured vehicles and civilians along the street
GV's Italian troops through streets cut away to civilian standing watching
Various stills of fighting scenes, Albanian partisans peasants and maps
GV's Albanian Communist party liberating Albania in 1944, showing parade watched by Enver Hoxha.
Various stills of map of Albania and various fighting scenes and partisan attacks.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Albania, this small country situated in the south-western part of the Balcans, was among the first countries which was occupied on the 7th pa April 1939 by the fascist Italy of Mussolini, on the eve of the II World War.
King Zog abandoned the country. The Albanian Royal army, paralysed by the Italian Military specialists surrendered without any resistance. In the meantime groups of patriots fought heroically, arms in hand, against the aggressors in all the areas where the fascists set foot. But the many enemy forces suppressed this resistance.
The occupation of Albania was the result of the aggressive policy of Italian fascism, of the capitulationist and anti-popular policy of the Zog regime and of the so-called non-intervention policy of the Western capitalist powers. Strikes, demonstrations, sabotage actions and assassinations continued after the occupation. An attempt on the life of the King of Italy, Victor Emanuel was made by the young patriot Vasil Laci.
But the fight of the Albanian people was organised and lead by the Albanian Communist Party which was founded on the 8th of November 1941, by comrade Enver Hoxha.
The newly created Pary fought for the national independence of the Albanian people and for a people's democratic Government, in an Albania free of fascism.
The main force in the war were the workers and peasants on whose backs the greatest burden of the fascist bondage weighed. The guerrilla units, the partisan detachments, battalions, brigades up to divisions and army corps were created.
With their heroic struggle, the Albanian people, numbering one million mailed down more than 15 Italian and German divisions during the war and put out of action about 70,000 enemies, killed, wounded and taken prisoners.
On this basis, on the 10th of July 1943, the General Staff of the National Liberation Army was founded, which at the end of the war numbered 70,000 fighters.
Apart from the strengthening and extension of the Albanian National Liberation Army, the democratic state power of the insurgent people was also strengthened.
The Congress of Peruet, held in 2 May 1944, solved the problem of political state power in favour of the insurgent people, thus founding the Albanian State of people's democracy.
The course traversed by the Albanian National Liberation Movement came up no only against the struggle with the occupier but also the struggle against internal reaction which collaborated with the enemy, gathered in their organizations known as "Balli Kombetar" and "Legaliteti", etc. They were discredited in the eyes of the people and destroyed by the National Liberation movement. Gradually people became convinced that only the Communist Party could fulfill their wishes. The Party ensured the Albanian people manu and powerful foreign allies and educated them with the spirit of proletarian internationalism, friendship and fraternity with all the people's fighting against fascism.
The Party never allowed any of the allies to intervene in the internal political and military affairs of the country. It destroyed the plan of the Anglo-American imperialist reaction which tried to prevent the triumph of the revolution and establish its own control in Albania. By maintaining a sincere stand towards allies and by correctly evaluating the foreign aid and support, the Party never waited for the others to donate freedom to the Albanian people.
Traversing a difficult but glorious road it became possible to liberate the whole of Albania on November 29th, 1944 thus making the triumph of the people's revolution. The Albanian democratic Government headed by comrade Enver Hoxha entered the capital.
After the liberation of Albania, with the decision of the Central Committee of the Albanian Communist Party and acting on the orders of the Commander in Chief Enver Hoxha, two divisions of the Albanian National Liberation Army (5th and 6th) continued the pursuit of the Hitlerite troops through Yugoslavia. In December 1944 and January-February 1945, the Albanian and Yugoslav partisans, fighting shoulder to shoulder against the Nazi hordes liberated Montanegro, Sanxhak and the southern part of Bosnja. In the fighting for the liberation of the people of Yugoslavia, hundreds of fighters of the Albanian National Liberation Army laid down their lives.
As one of the most active members of the world anti-fascist coalition in Albania, in comparison with its size of its territory and population also made a valuable contribution to the historic victory over fascism. It bore an extremely heavy burden. During the World War, about 700,000 fascists violated the 28,000 square kilometres of Albanian territory inflicting extremely heavy damage and ruin on it. Albania is one of the first countries in the world in regard to the losses in people and particularly in regard to material losses during the war.