Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

Union of Working Youth. This mass organization was set up by the Albanian communist leadership to serve as a reserve for the Albanian Party of Labor (Communist), preparing people for membership in the party. Until 1973, it was a docile organization; its leaders submitted to orders coming from the higher party organs without a murmur. However, in 1973, young leaders began to complain that party leaders had no understanding of the problems facing young people and that they were neglecting young people's interests in society. They no longer shared the revolutionary fervor of the aging Enver Hoxha (see Hoxha, Enver) and were becoming restive under the stultifying policies of the party leaders. Above all, they hoped for an opening toward Europe; they wanted to listen to Western music, wanted to wear Western clothes, and, most of all, wanted to be able to visit Western countries. Their protests went unheeded. Rudi Monari, the secretary of the Youth League, was expelled from the organization shortly after the protest, and he was imprisoned on false charges.

The Communist party's control of the Union of Working Youth of Albania was exercised under the statute issued by the Politburo on November 23, 1941. According to this, two members of the Politburo of the Albanian Communist party were delegated to the Central Committee of the youth organization. (During the 1940s and early 1950s, these two were Qemal Stafa and Naku Spiro.) The organization was patterned on the KOMSOMOL of the Soviet Union, which prepared thousands of young people for party membership.


Bibliography

Pipa Arshi, Albanian Stalinism: Ideo-Political Aspects ( Boulder, CO, 1990).

Western-Albanian Relations after World War II. In the early 1940s, Albanian communist leaders hoped for the recognition of their government by the Western powers. However, when the United States and Great Britain did not respond to Albanian overtures, and even encouraged the Greek government to cast its eyes on southern Albania, they became violently anti-Western. No doubt, they were encouraged in their attitude by Tito's agents in their ranks.

In the early months of 1946, the Albanian communists went so far as to restrict the movements of American and British representatives to their country. Thereupon, Britain refused to upgrade its mission and forbade the establishment of an Albanian legation in London. The United States Senate's resolution of July 26, 1946, went so far as to suggest that northern Epirus (southern Albania) be transferred to Greek sovereignty. The United States eventually withdrew the corollary resolution its representatives had placed on the agenda of the Paris Peace Conference in 1947, but the damage to United States-Albanian relations had already been done. The Albanians intensified their anti-United States propaganda, and the United States withdrew its diplomatic mission from Tirana on November 6, 1947.

Albanian relations with Western states remained nonexistent through the 1950s and most of the 1960s. After the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact, however, the Albanian leaders became so frightened that they began a cautious

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