- Albania under Italy
Infobox Former Subdivision
native_name = "Regno albanese"
conventional_long_name = Albanian Kingdom
common_name = Albania
continent = Europe
region = Balkans
country = Albania
era = World War II
status = Protectorate
empire = Italy
Protectorateof the Kingdom of Italy, component of the Italian Empire
event_start = Italian Invasion
year_start = 1939
date_start = April 7
event_end = German invasion
year_end = 1943
date_end = September 9
p1 = Albanian Kingdom
flag_p1 = Flag Kingdom Of Albania.svg
s1 = Albania under Nazi Germany
flag_s1 = Flag of German occupied Albania.svg
image_map_caption = The territory of the Albanian Kingdom showing 1939 borders and its 1941 borders in pink.
capital = Tirana
national_motto = "Foedere et Religione Tenemur" (It)
"We are held together by Pact and Religion"
national_anthem = Royal Anthem
"Marcia Reale d'Ordinanza" (It)
"Royal March of Ordinance"¹
Himni i Flamurit" (Sq)
"Hymn to the Flag"
common_languages = Albanian, Italian
Albanian lek, Italian lira
government_type = Monarchy
title_leader = King
leader1 = Victor Emmanuel
year_leader1 = 1939-1943
title_representative = "Governor"
representative1 = Francesco Jacomoni di San Savino
year_representative1 = 1939-1943
representative2 = Alberto Pariani
year_representative2 = 1943
Albania existed as a
protectorateof the Kingdom of Italy officially known as the Albanian Kingdom (Gheg Albanian: "Mbretnija Shqiptare", Standard Albanian: "Mbretëria Shqiptare", Italian: "Regno albanese"), officially led by Italy's King Victor Emmanuel IIIand its government led by Italian governors between 1939 after being occupied by Italy until 1943. During this time, Albania ceased to exist as an independent country, and existed as an autonomous part of the Italian Empireled by Italian government officials who intended to make Albania part of a Greater Italy.
The Kingdom of Italy invaded Albania on
7 April 1939,cite book |author=Keegan, John; Churchill, Winston |authorlink= |editor= |others= |title=The Second World War (Six Volume Boxed Set) |edition= |language= |publisher=Mariner Books |location=Boston |year=1986 |origyear= |pages= p314|quote= |isbn=0-395-41685-X |oclc= |doi= |url= http://books.google.com/books?id=e0_3Nrc8D0wC&pg=PA314&vq=April+7,+1939&dq=Albania+April+7,+1939&source=gbs_search_s&sig=ACfU3U0QPFoJknTqKr3lGz1P9qsXWXICPA|accessdate=] five months before the start of the Second World War. The Albanian armed resistance proved ineffective against Italians and, after a short defense, the country was occupied. On 9 April 1939Albanian King Zogfled to Greece,cite book |author=Zabecki, David T. |authorlink= |editor= |others= |title=World War II in Europe: an encyclopedia |edition= |language= |publisher=Garland Pub |location=New York |year=1999 |origyear= |pages=p1353 |quote= |isbn=0-8240-7029-1 |oclc= |doi= |url= http://books.google.com/books?id=gYDN-UfehEEC&pg=PA1353&dq=albania+%22Italian+protectorate%22&as_brr=3&ei=LSh7SP3sMoHAigHm0uzBBA&sig=ACfU3U2Mkq1BcJPJheoiFuManvWK9W0bBw|accessdate=] in spite of earlier alliance and support of Italy that Albania held with Italy since 1925. However Italy's political leader, Benito Mussolinirequired direct control over Albania to officially expand his empire as he had grown jealous of Germany's annexation of Austriaand occupation of Czechoslovakia. Albania ceased to exist as an independent country and became a component of the Italian Empire. Albania was turned into an Italian protectorate, similar to the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, in that the land was an autonomous territory of Italy which was designed for eventual colonization and Italianization. The throne was claimed by king Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, who was the official ruler of Albania until his abdication on 25 July 1943.Fact|date=July 2008 The government was led by Italian governors and an Albanian civil government.
Albania was important culturally and historically to the Italian nationalist aims of the Fascists, as the territory of Albania had long been part of the
Roman Empire, even prior to the annexation of northern Italy by the Romans. Later some coastal areas (like Durazzo) had been influenced and owned by the Italian Republic of Venicefor many years ( Albania Veneta).
Strategically, control of Albania gave Italy a position in the Balkans to invade Greece which it did in 1940, as well as challenge Italy's other rival,
Yugoslavia, to which a war via Albania would garner support of Albanian nationalists who wanted to gain Albanian populated territories in Kosovoand Vardar Macedonia.
While Victor Emmanuel ruled as king,
Shefqet Bej Verlaciserved as the Prime Minister. Shefqet Verlaci controlled the day to day activities of the Italian protectorate. On 3 December 1941, Shefqet Bej Verlaci was replaced as Prime Minister and Head of State by Mustafa Merlika Kruja.cite book |author=Owen Pearson |authorlink= |editor= |others= |title=Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History : Volume II: Albania in Occupation and War, 1939-45 |edition= |language= |publisher=I. B. Tauris |location=London |year=2006 |origyear= |pages= p167|quote= |isbn=1-84511-104-4 |oclc= |doi= |url= http://books.google.com/books?id=P3knunC7z_oC&pg=PA167&dq=%22Shefqet+Verlaci%22+%22prime+minister%22&lr=lang_en&as_brr=3&ei=OVF7SL7YOZPgiQGOheXMCA&sig=ACfU3U0cCdDiEmWiyfUTt3Y1x70i4xdb-w|accessdate=] Nazi Germanyoccupied Albania when Italyquit the war in 1943.
From the start, Albanian foreign affairs, customs, as well as natural resources came under direct control of Italy. The puppet
Albanian Fascist Partybecame the ruling party of the country and the Fascists allowed Italian citizens to settle in Albania and to own land so that they could gradually transform it into Italian soil.
In October 1940, during the
Greco-Italian War, Albania served as a staging-area for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's unsuccessful invasion of Greece. Mussolini planned to invade Greece and other countries like Yugoslaviain the area to give Italy territorial control of most of the Mediterranean Seacoastline, as part of the Fascists objective of creating the objective of "Mare Nostrum" ("Our Sea") in which Italy would dominate the Mediterranean.
But, soon after the Italian invasion, the Greeks counter-attacked and a sizeable portion of Albania was in Greek hands (including the cities of
Gjirokastërand Korçë). In April 1941, after Greece capitulated to the German forces, the Greek territorial gains in southern Albania returned to Italian command. Under Italian command came also large areas of Greece after the succesfull German invasion of Greece.
After the fall of Yugoslavia and Greece in April 1941, the Italian Fascists added to the territory of the Kingdom of Albania most of the Albanian-inhabited areas that had been previously given to the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Albanian fascists claimed in May 1941 that nearly all the Albanian populated territories were united to Albania ( [http://terkepek.adatbank.transindex.ro/kepek/netre/226.gifsee map] ). Even areas of northern Greece ( Chameria) were administered by AlbaniansFact|date=October 2008. But this was even a consequence of borders that Italy and Germany agreed on when dividing their spheres of influence. Some small portions of territories with Albanian majority remained outside the new borders and contact between the two parts was practically impossible: the Albanian population under the Bulgarian rule was heavily oppressed.
After the surrender of the Italian Army in September 1943, Albania was occupied by the Germans and soon exploded into a ferocious guerilla war.
Italian invasion of Albania
Albania under Nazi Germany
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