According to VLADIMIR DEDIJER'S BOOK
Title of the Italian translation: IL SANGUE TRADITTO
RELAZIONI JUGOSLAVO-ALBANESI 1938-1949
Official records, letters and reminiscences,
Published in 1949
By EDITORIALE PERIODICI ITLIANI
Printed by LA TECHNOGRAFICA - VARESE - P.ZZA CARDUCCI, 6
A large number of journalists, historians and pseudo-historians, have informed and misinformed the public about the history of events in the Balkans in the period 1930-1949. More often than not they were guided by ulterior interests of one or the other Great Power or one or the other Balkan State. The long list of Serbian authors, full of varied publications about Albania, the Albanians and especially about Kosova, contains the title of a book with 222 pages written by Vladimir Dedijer.
In a chauvinistic effort without kid-gloves, worded in the characteristic jargon common for the Third Communist International, Dedijer sets himself the task of highlighting the correct Yugoslav line towards Albania from the day of the founding of the Albanian State (1912) until 1949 when the Albanian and the Yugoslav communists fell foul of each other.
Dedijer makes an extensive analysis of the records, reports and reminiscences of the Yugoslav envoys in Albania in the years when the CPA was formed, when the National Liberation Army was organised and the basic organs of State power were set up. His book is broadly based on statements and records of Albanian leading figures in the Party and the Army, which apparently are kept in the Yugoslav record offices, as well as in a number of letters exchanged between the top leadership of the CPA and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in the period in question.
THE BETRAYED BLOOD is divided into five chapters, each with a synopsis. It contains a note of the publisher, a brief foreword of the author, written on 10th January 1949, and facsimiles of five letters sent to Dushan Mugosha by the Albanian leaders of the National Liberation War.
The first question that arises from a cursory glance: Why did Dedijer produce his version of the story of Yugoslav-Albanian relations in 1949?
To the attentive observer of the course of events in the political relations between the Yugoslav and the Albanian communists, the moment for the publication of this book is well-calculated. Dedijer, an apologist for the Great-Serb policy towards the Albanian State, renders an invaluable service to the policy of Belgrade in the Balkans. On the one hand he underlines heavily the role of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in the Albanian political life especially in the period 1938-1949, and on the other hand, he implies that had it not been for the generous support of communist Yugoslavia, Albania could hardly have achieved what it did, until it broke with Yugoslavia in 1948.
I do not intend to carry out a proper study of the Albanian-Yugoslav relations, because that is the duty of the historians and political analysts. I will only stop to consider some of the major issues in one of the decisive periods when the destiny of the Albanian nation could have been shaped quite differently.
The basic questions that require serious consideration have to do with the role and influence of the Yugoslav envoys, Comrades Miladin Popovich, Dushan Mugosha and Svetozar Vuknamovich-Tempo and others, in the founding of the CPA in 1941, the setting up and organisation of the partisan fighting units and eventually of the Albanian National Liberation Army, and the organs of people's power (the National Liberation Councils and the Provisional Government), and in the national question, especially the future of Kosova and Metohija (Kosmet) and Sandjak.
In these pages I will ask only those questions which can find a one-sided answer in the book of Dedijer through the admissions made by Miladin Popovich, Dushan Mugosha, Velimir Stoynich and other Yugoslav "comrades". Whereas the Yugoslav side has given its answers, the way it thinks fit and in conformity with its own national interests, the Albanian side kept its quiet on all levels, not only during the rule of Enver Hoxha, which is only understandable, because he would never allow anyone to expose that dark side of his relations with the Yugoslav communists. It appears that Enver Hoxha casts a very long shadow in the corridors of power in the SP, which is just as silent about this chapter of our history as the Party of Labour of Albania was.
The Albanian side, from the highest leadership of the Communist Party, the State and the government, has maintained continued silence (until 1982) over this cardinal issue of our nation which is directly connected with the way our war against the fascist and nazi invaders was organised, with the role of the nationalist forces in this war, with the alienation and antagonism of these forces, with the civil war in Albania, and with the scandalously unequal economic agreement between Albania and Yugoslavia.
On the strength of reports, notes and correspondence of the Yugoslav envoys in Albania, and other documents which are in Yugoslav records, Dedijer dwells on the following issues:
Chapter One - The Creation of the CPA
Chapter Two - The Beginning of the Armed Struggle and the Creation of the National Liberation Army
Chapter Three - Efforts to Unite the People and to Strengthen the Unity of the Party
Chapter Four - The Struggle for Albania's Independence
Chapter Five - The Reconstruction of the Country, the Setting up of the State Administration, the Building of the Economy and of a Modern Army
It is often said that history is written by the victors. In modern times this is true if we bear in mind certain factors which define the way in which history is written, and which in turn determines the subject matter of history.
The quality of written history depends largely on the quantity of sources which the historian can research. In many countries, however, there are laws that prohibit the research and publication of classified documents.
The quality of written history depends, also, on the subjectiveness of the writer and the angle which he gives to his research. It is up to him whether to highlight or to suppress vital facts and sources according as his interests dictate.
"The History of the Party of Labour of Albania" was written only thirty years after the creation of the party. In both editions, our politicised historians place the relations between the CPY and the Albanian communist groups in a light which was convenient for the communist Tirana after the great break with Yugoslavia in 1948, in the same manner as they did with the rest of the history of the country's relations with the USSR and later with communist China.
The reader has a strong feeling of one-sidedness in the way events and facts are presented both in the HISTORY OF THE PARTY OF LABOUR OF ALBANIA and in Enver Hoxha's book "The Titoites".
The chapter devoted to the formation of the CPA amply stresses the decisive role of Miladin Popovich and Dushan Mugosha in the founding meeting of 8th November 1941. Dedijer supports these revelations with the notes and reports which Dushan Mugosha sent to the Central Committee of the CPY in the period from 1941 to 1944.
According to his reports it emerges that it was only thanks to Dushan and Miladin that Enver Hoxha was finally convinced of the need for the creation of a party from the merger of the communist groups in Albania. Indirectly Dedijer seeks to convince the reader that Enver Hoxha was a factionalist and that, had it not been for the envoys of Belgrade, the Albanians would never have had a Communist Party in 1941.
During the period of their stay in Albania, the Serb envoys had a clear plan as to how they would proceed in their work. The fact is that they did a "good" job in choosing the people who supported the Yugoslav line within the CPA. Their main support became Koi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo - both of them nonentities, individuals devoid of backbone and national sentiment.
This is how Dedijer describes the situation on the eve of the founding of the CPA:
"The Korēa group would not own up to its mistakes. They wanted to be proclaimed as a Party on their own and the rest of the groups should join them... but in the end we prevailed on them and convinced them through strong argument that they should form the Party... Koi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo were most helpful in the Kora group." (p. 9, footnote 12).
Whereas, "In the Shkodra group, Qemal Stafa and Kristo Themelko were most seriously committed to the formation of the Party." (p. 9)
According to Dedijer, the founding meeting of 8th November 1941 was directed and received all instructions on the fundamental organisational principles from the two Serbian envoys, Miladin and Dushan (p. 10). The author stops short of claiming, like so many others have done, that Albanian communsits held dual membeship of the CPA and CPY.
The decisions to organise a demonstration on 28th October 1941 and other actions, which Dedijer claims were proposed by Miladin and Dushan, speak of the degree of influence which the two Serbian envoys had in the activity of the Albanian communists. Further evidence that they were in command of everything is seen in the fact that the Serbian envoys travelled widely around the country in order to set up Party cells and interfere directly with how the Albanian communists made their decisions.
"We together with the members of the Central Committee, Tuk Jakova and Kristo Themelko, worked in Tirana, Durrės, Shkodėr, Elbasan, Vlorė and Gjirokastėr, in Fier and Korēė." (p. 12, footnote 15).
By their constant presence at each single step taken by the members of the communist groups for the formation of the Communist Party, Tito's envoys in Albania built the necessary levers to control and guide the activity of the new party. That Miladin Popovich was in command and exercised complete control of the internal issues of the CPA, and that he had Enver Hoxha in the palm of his hand, this becomes clear from Enver Hoxha's expressions of boundless devotion and gratitude:
"I've never felt stronger in my life before, when I saw beside me a Yugoslav brother, a comrade, prepared to sacrifice his own life like a hero for the sake of my own people." (p. 16, reproduced from Enver Hoxha in the magazine "Albania-Yugoslavia", Year One, issue no. one, November 1947).
Vladimir Dedijer reproduces in several different parts of the book the letters which Dushan Mugosha received from the leaders of the CPA upon the completion of his mission in Albania: Tuk Jakova on 7th May 1944; Mehmet and Fiqrete Shqehu on 22nd April 1944; Enver Hoxha's letter bears no date; Nexhmije Hoxha on 7th May 1944; Koēi Xoxe on 7th May 1944; Besnik (Hysni Kapo) on 7th May 1944; Baca (Ramadan Ēitaku) on 7th May 1944 (pp. 31-38 and 203-219).
From the dates when these letters were written one creates the impression as if they were done by special order. It is also interesting to note that most of the writers address Dushan Mugosha by his battle name Sal' or Sali Murati; or by his party name Duk. Only Enver Hoxha, a few days before Dushan left Albania, learned the true name of his great friend. This speaks volumes about the trust which these internationalist brethren placed upon one another.
In their work Dushan and Miladin constantly sought the consent and instructions from the Central Committee of their own Party, without which they would never take a step. Their centre often took its time in responding.
"And then we do not know if you approve of the work done (by us) until today. If our work is good, should we continue?" (p. 16, footnote 23).
In these words quoted from his report of 21st May 1942, Miladin Popovich addresses himself to the Central Committee of his Party, which show that the great friend of Enver Hoxha would take instructions for the course of actions from Belgrade only.
From what Dedijer says it appears that the CPA had not succeeded in making independent contacts with the Commintern.
Why was it so difficult for them to open their own channel of communications with this communist forum? It is a fact that many old Albanian communists were the product of the Commintern. Many of them were as well acquainted with the European capitals as the Serbs were. Or was it that their bonds with the Yugoslav ideological brethren were so tight that they could not avoid them and work directly with the Communist International?
The Albanian communists were so intricately tied up with the Serbs that the application for the recognition of the CPA by the Communist International had to go through the HQ of the CPY. The same applies also for the endorsement of the political platform of the CPA, which had to go via Dushan Mugosha to the Commintern (p. 17).
As the activity of the CPA was extending, the Central Committee of the CPY decided to increase its presence in Albania and sent two more envoys - Blazho Jovanovich and Voja Todorovich as reinforcements. They arrived in Shkodra on 15th November 1942 and made contact with members of the Central Committee of the CPA at Sami Baholli's house in Labinot on 16th December 1942. They brought fresh instructions from the Central Committee of the CPY, which reached the top leadership only on 22nd December 1942. The instructions were formulated by Tito and were added to the directives of the Comintern. They had to do with the purity (read cleansing) the ranks of the CPA, with organising the fighting units, the forming of the General Staff and its role in relation with the Party (po. 20-23).
The author never even tries to conceal the fact that the CPA leadership was not in a position to formulate its own war policy, to organise the Party, to establish a correct relation with the army, and with the future state bodies. Under these circumstances the supreme Yugoslav leadership proposed:
"If the partisan movement in Albania spreads to assume wide proportions, we shall make every effort to send them our experienced commanders...." (p. 23).
Further, the instructions literally order the CPA to dispatch to the CC of the CPY all the personal records of the members of the CC of the CPA, so that in turn the records could be taken to the Comintern (p. 24). The order bore Tito 's signature and is dated 22 September 1942 (see p. 24). It was Tito's first letter to the CPA conveying also "fraternal greetings". Enver Hoxha's reply was published in the review Albania-Yugoslavia, Year One, issue no. 1, November 1947. To enlighten the misled reader, who has systematically been spoon-fed the Hoxhite propaganda, I reproduce a few lines from the humiliating letter, which would offend anyone who has a shred of personal and national pride left:
"Tito's letter constitutes a unique event of historic importance for our people... while we waited for months and years the moment when we would unite with the Yugoslav partisans, the Free Yugoslavia Radio brought to our free mountains the clean air of the glorious mountains of Yugoslavia, in which the brave partisans of Josip Broz Tito were fighting." (p. 25).
Without sparing his praises, Enver Hoxha extolled the role of Tito's new envoys in Albania, Blazho Jovanovich and his friends. Here is what he said in his speech at the Second Plenum of the CC of the CPA held in Berat in November 1944.
"Comrade Blazho has contributed greatly to the preparation of the Conference and the writing of the report. Blazho was a godsend to us." (p. 26, reproduced from the shorthand notes of the proceedings of the Second Plenum, which the CC of the CPA sent to the CC of the CPY).
Tito's envoys had complete control of everything that transpired in the daily life of Enver Hoxha's communist party. Dushan Mugosha instructed the CPA on the matters of a High Party Course, while Blazho wrote the lectures for the course and put special emphasis on the role of the communist party in the army. Dushan, again, took charge of the special course for political cadres.
In May 1944, Dushan, already feeling absolute sure of himself, went so far as to order the CPA to remove the Commander of the General Staff of the National Liberation Army, General Spiro Moisiu, and had Enver Hoxha to replace him (p. 61).
Tito's envoys were not content with just the control of the CPA. Velimir Stoynich and Vojo Todorovich ordered the HQ of the Albanian partisan formations to begin the operations for the liberation of Tirana (p. 67, para 2).
With the proposal of Miladin and Dushan
"... measures were taken to organise the armed struggle" (p. 46). Because of Enver Hoxha's hesitation, "the General Command was set up only four months after the First National Conference, following repeated efforts by Comrade Svetozar Vukmanovich-Tempo who, after returning from Greece in July 1943... put his views again to the meeting of the CC of the CPA.." (p. 54).
The book BETRAYED BLOOD in each single page reveals remorselessly the grave situation within the CPA, which could not do a thing without instructions and the endorsement from the Yugoslav envoys. Enver Hoxha was in a predicament. He could not make a single decision regarding the course of events in his own war-torn country.
The interference of the Yugoslav envoys is not a secret for those who lived through that period and can testify to them. Quite a few Albanians have been brainwashed by the Albanian communist, Marxist-Leninist teachings of the PLA and Enver Hoxha. The victims of a masterly propaganda churned out at the Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies in Tirana (the nursery of the post-war Albanian communism) under the guidance of Nexhmije Hoxha, have difficulty in accepting the facts about this dark period in the history of their party.
These people need to look carefully into the history of the Albanian-Yugoslav relations, which constitute the model that repeats itself with clock-work precision in the relations of the Party leadership in its relations with the USSR under Stalin and with Communist China of Mao Zedong.
Enver Hoxha's three labours of love are with Yugoslavia, with Russia and China are self-incriminating. They reveal an abortive policy which dragged Albania into betrayed friendships and eventually into 50 years of steady decline.
Enver Hoxha, unable to lead a political party and the popular movement and struggle against fascism, which he has admitted with his own mouth at the Plenum of Berat in October 1944, had no other recourse but to rely on someone. Eventually he learned the tricks of using them and denying everything on the morrow of the break with them. He did it to the Yugoslavs in 1948, to the Russians in 11961, and to the Chinese both in 1972 and finally in 1977.
To return to the role of the Serbian envoys in Albania, I should not pass in silence their schemes to plant the seeds of division among the members of the CC of the CPA. They were good at pointing out the difference between the "intellectuals" and the working-class communists in the CPA and used it to pit one against the other.
Dedijer mentions an interesting episode involving Nako Spiru and Enver Hoxha. Nako wrote a short biographical note of Enver Hoxha and sent it to the CC of the CPY. Dedijer does not say who had asked Nako to do so.
Average intelligence. Average attainment both as a student abroad, and later as a teacher. In the period before the formation of the CPA he led a desultory life. He is sectarian in the Party. He fancies himself. He has the inferiority complex. The people have no idea what he is, and those who know him do not think highly of him. The Party has tried everything to make him popular. But the people is not convinced in his qualities."
Dedijer treats the rest of the leadership of the CPA with the same disdainful tone. He does not spare Mehmet Shehu and Sejfulla Malėshova who did not seem to be the best of war companions.
Tito's envoys could have an easy ride with the Albanian communists by employing these lowly methods. They had a stranglehold on Enver Hoxha and could lead him by the nose. In that way they were able to make the law in the CPA and make decisions of a national importance. Nako Spiru's written admission suited the aims of our "Yugoslav brothers" who produced them at the right moment.
The Serbian communists would not have been as successful as they were without the assistance they skilfully obtained from the ranks of the CC of the CPA. After forcing Enver Hoxha to own up to his mistakes and inability, they could easily run the whole show in Albania.
This is what Dedijer chooses to quote from the man who was supposed to be in charge of the CPA and the liberation war, "our dear" Enver:
"Comrade Veljo (Velimir Stoynich) came (to Albania) and shook us from our slumber and opened new and much broader horizons for us and gave us a perspective. That is why meeting him was so important for our Party." (p. 98).
I can now say with certainty that the line of action adopted by the Yugoslav envoys regarding economic matters and the organisation of the Albanian army would not be much different from the line they pursued regarding Party matters.
As we reach the chapter of the economic relations between Albania and Yugoslavia we come across so many tables full of figures which reveal the amount of material aid which flowed from Socialist Yugoslavia to small poverty-stricken Albania after the war, with the only lofty aim of assisting the little sister and put in on the correct path of the socialist construction.
The years of the great love affair of Enver Hoxha with Tito we are reminded by Dedijer of the government agreement on the parity of the two countries' currencies. The Yugoslav dinnar, under the terms of the agreement, could be exchanged with the Albanian lek in advantageous conditions for Yugoslavia, despite protestations by Nako Spiru, who was a trained economist. It was no secret that the Albanian lek was several times stronger than the Yugoslav currency.
Dedijer, however, is intent on pointing out only the bright side of the agreement, and conveniently forgets to mention this discrepancy.
As the road-building plans in Albania began to be executed, Yugoslavia undertook to do all the purchases of the heavy equipment on behalf of Albania but frequently the equipment did not arrive (because the Russian suppliers were creating difficulties, Dedijer claims).
Dedijer says that 170 lorries were sent from Yugoslavia to assist small Albania in building the railway from Durrės to Peqin. And again Dedijer chooses to forget that the Albanian fleets of cars and lorries left their garages and disappeared mysteriously. "Evil" tongues said our Italian-made FIAT lorries, loaded with all the goods seized from the Albanian merchants would be more useful in Yugoslavia.
The warehouses of the Albanian towns were crammed full of textiles, footwear, and other valuables, which were shipped to Yugoslavia without receipts or without even a "thank-you" for acknowledgement. Meanwhile Enver Hoxha and his acolytes blew the big bugles about the fraternal internationalist support of Belgrade.
In order to have a more complete view of this aspect of economic relations with Tito's Yugoslavia, I would ask the reader to go to Enver Hoxha's "Titoites" (Tirana, 1981) and compare, if possible, what has been said until today about Nako Spiru's opposition to this day-light robbery.
I would like to add my late father's comments about all this from his experience of work in Durrės precisely at the time when all this was going on.
Durrės had miles of tunnels stocked with quantities of goods, ranging from brand-new FIAT lorries, fine quality merchandise, textiles of the best manufacturers, footwear, expensive pocket and wrist watches, cutlery, down to the usual knick-knackery.
Everything, he told me, was loaded in the lorries under the watchful eyes of the Yugoslavs who were everywhere and disappeared.
Enver Hoxha called all this "the fraternal internationalist assistance of Yugoslavia". While all this was going on, Enver Hoxha also worked closely with the Serbian envoys to set the death traps for everyone who protested against the Yugoslav interference in our domestic affairs. Nako Spiru was pushed to commit suicide. Sejfulla Mal'shova was thrown out of the Party and exiled.
"God forgive them
for they know not what they say"
Both in Albania and among the Albanian Diaspora there are many who stick to the old ideas when it comes to the legacy of Enver Hoxha's style of rule and to his motives for the preservation of the territorial integrity of the country in the face of the ambitions of the chauvinistic circles in the neighbouring countries. They believe that Enver Hoxha's motives were patriotic. They refuse to see the truth in the light of the documents that incriminate Enver Hoxha as a puppet in the hands of the Serbian envoys.
This erroneous belief is strong amongst intellectual circles of Albanian emigrants and, naturally, amongst those who yearn for Red Tirana, and for the pilgrimages to the house where the Party was founded.
Albania's independence, Enver Hoxha's (and the PLA's) manoeuvring for the "preservation" of the territorial integrity and the inviolable borders of the People' s Socialist Republic of Albania against the aims of the Greek and Serbian chauvinists require a correct and rigorous re-interpretation on the basis of the documents that have escaped destruction, and not on the basis of nostalgia and the brainwashing propaganda of the Albanian communists.
It is true that Enver Hoxha preserved the borders of Albania for nearly half a century. I am not questioning this. My concern is: In whose interest was all this done and at what price did the Albanian people pay?