A Viewpoint on the Italian Diplomacy Towards the Albanian Monarchy (1928-1939)

Esilda Luku

Abstract


This paper aims to analyze the diplomacy of Italy based on its economic and political interests during the monarchical system of governing in Albania. The Italian government strongly supported the intention of Ahmet Zogu to transition from Presidential Republic to Monarchy, in order to ensure the domestic political stability and the reduction of the continuous confrontations caused by neighbors’ intrigues. It approved the proclamation of Zogu as “King of Albanians”, who would strengthen the bilateral relations and attend a common policy in accordance with the Treaty of the Defensive Alliance, signed on November 22, 1927. The Italian government competed with Yugoslavia to control the Adriatic Sea and to establish the economic hegemony in Albania and elsewhere in the Balkans. Rome used the difficult economic and financial situation of Albania in the circumstances of the Great Depression to provide a loan of 100 million gold francs for ten years without interest. But, it was cancelled due to non-renewal by the Albanian government of the Friendship and Security Pact with Italy in November 1931. Thus, Italy demanded the repayment of the loan provided by SVEA (Società per lo Sviluppo Economico dell’Albania) and customs union with Albania, which were rejected by King Zogu I because its country was turned simply into an Italian colony. The signing of a series of bilateral economic agreements not only extended the Italian control in Albania, but also contributed to the development of the Albanian economy during the monarchy. Moreover, Italy with the support of Britain aimed at strengthening the political domination in the Balkans against the Franco-Yugoslav alliance that organized the Balkan Conferences (1930-1934). It opposed King Zogu I efforts for an independent foreign policy and put under pressure the Balkan countries not to accept Albania in the Balkan Pact signed on February 9, 1934. The Italian diplomacy intended to establish a protectorate in Albania and Count Ciano sent King Zogu I successive proposals that included: 1) the control of the means of communication in the case of threat to the independence of the Albania; 2) an Italian consultant in each ministry; 3) the recognition of civil and political rights for the Italians living in Albania and 4) the respective legacies turned into embassies. King Zogu I refused such an agreement because it violated the independence and the territorial integrity of Albania. He alerted the Great Powers to the Italian threat, but faced with the Western indifference. On April 7, 1939, Italy invaded Albania in violation of the deal with Britain to maintain the status quo in the Mediterranean.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n11p258


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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