Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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people, Enver Hoxha (see Hoxha, Enver) proclaimed a Cultural Revolution to begin in 1966. This was not the consequence of an intraparty struggle as was the case in China, but the idea had its origin in Beijing. Hoxha wanted to reassert the Communist party's authority over the local and regional party bureaucracies and strengthen the influence of the Communist party over all segments of Albanian society.

The Cultural Revolution began in February 1966 with an announcement that high party and state functionaries had been assigned to work with local and regional party and state institutions. Excess personnel were "encouraged" to volunteer for work in factories and collective farms. The party leaders promised to correct their mistakes in an open letter to the people issued by the party's secretariat. Ranks in the armed forces were abolished next, and the institution of political commissars was reintroduced. The salaries of middle and high-ranking officials were reduced. The cabinet shrank from nineteen ministers to thirteen. The number of civil servants was cut. Next, so-called dissident intellectuals were attacked.

In February 1967, the second phase of the Albanian Cultural Revolution began. Hoxha urged Albanians to eliminate the "last vestiges of bourgeois culture" from their thinking and to intensify their struggle against what he called "bureaucratism." He appealed to the young people of Albania to strive for the preservation of the purity of the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. During the late spring and early summer of 1967, the Cultural Revolution reached its climax.

The Albanian Red Guards, patterned after their Chinese counterparts, criticized intellectuals on wall posters and conducted a vicious anti-religion campaign in the cities. But they did not get out of hand as did their Chinese brothers. They continued to be controlled by the party's bureaucrats throughout the Cultural Revolution. The party leaders now proclaimed the emancipation of women and suggested that they enter the industrial and agricultural labor force. This was a response to the growing labor shortage in every area of the economy. By the end of 1967, the Cultural Revolution had petered out.


Prifti Peter R. Socialist Albania Since 1944: Domestic and Foreign Developments ( Cambridge, MA, 1978).

Economic Policies of the Communist Regime. In 1944, Albania was an underdeveloped country. Its meager industries were destroyed by World War II. For this very reason, rebuilding the economy after the war was over did not take a long time. The aim of the Communist party was, however, not only reconstruction, but the building of a modern industrial state with a highly developed, mechanized agriculture. It embraced the Stalinist methods of centralized planning and management systems. The regime's economic policies show remarkable consistency, more so than those of any other socialist country in Europe. Rapid industrialization, the forced collectivization of agriculture, and the upgrading of centralized social services were to be the means to achieve these goals.


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Dictionary of East European History since 1945
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