Between Tito and Stalin: Albanian Communists and the Assertion of National Sovereignty, 1944-1948


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies


History Department


This dissertation analyzes Albania’s program of asserting its independence in the face of the Yugoslav initiative to annex the country and make it part of the Yugoslav federation between 1944-1948. Yugoslavia’s proposed unification of Albania and Bulgaria aroused Western suspicions of Soviet ambitions to expand communism in Europe as a whole. Tensions in the Yugoslav-Soviet alliance mounted in early 1948, culminating in a rift between Belgrade and Moscow, when Albanian leaders began military preparations with Yugoslavia against the threat of war with American-supported Greece. The dynamics of the Albanian-Yugoslav-Soviet triangular relationship complicate early Cold War narratives in which Moscow follows a preconceived strategy to satellize the continent's eastern half. With Albania as its subject, this dissertation assesses the limits of Soviet power in the Balkans after the Second World War and illustrates the layered meaning of sovereignty and nationhood in twentieth-century Europe.