Little serious scholarly study exists in English either of post-war Albania or its leadership. That which did exist tended to suffer from a lack of reliable primary resource material and either sang the praises of heroic Comrade Hoxha or presented him as an arch demon. Blendi Fevziu, while no apologist for Hoxha, presents here probably the best English language biography of Enver Hoxha has remained something of an enigma among the leaders of the none West aligned leaders of the European powers. Blendi Fevziu, while no apologist for Hoxha, presents here probably the best English language biography of Enver Hoxha based on a range of state archive documentation, interviews and diaries and letters of key actors. Neither a street activist or intellectual; rather someone whose lack of firm position or activism made him seem like a prime neutral candidate for filling a key Party post at a time of internal division and strife. It is interesting to see how Hoxha was a beneficiary of the support of leading Albanian nationalists in his early years who helped him through an education he seemed to have no interest in then in finding employment he had little more time for.
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Share via Email Enver Hoxha in Journalists were routinely denied visas and subterfuge had to be employed to get across the border.
The main feature was a crackly version of Henry V , starring Laurence Olivier, preceded by a short comedy turn by Norman Wisdom. With his cloth cap at a jaunty angle, censors for the Party of Labour of Albania assumed he exemplified the uplifting struggles of a typical English working-class lad. It showed the opening ceremony of a Congress of the Union of Albanian Women. This consisted of a long line of women, queuing to be greeted by Hoxha.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a light-grey double-breasted suit, he embraced each delegate with prolonged gusto. The newsreel offers only the most fleeting insight into Albanian political life.
Whether or not he was a philanderer, it provides copious ammunition to prove Hoxha was a tyrant. They affected old comrades in the politburo far more than ordinary citizens. Of the six co-founder members of the party, only one died at home in bed.
The rest were killed or jailed. One of the grimmest cases is that of Mehmet Shehu, who served for many years as prime minister until he shot himself in on the eve of a Politburo meeting where he was to be accused.
His crime? He had not stopped his son getting engaged to the daughter of a close relative of a US-based anti-communist who regularly denounced Hoxha on western TV. But I am giving my life for the party.
My last wish is: protect the party and socialism In spite of his flamboyance, Hoxha, a fan of Agatha Christie , loved spending time alone with books.
He had a huge library and regularly bought books from catalogues sent by French publishers. He also wrote prolifically, keeping a diary and writing or dictating more than 60 volumes of memoirs, and had a complex relationship with the internationally renowned novelist, Ismail Kadare , who continued to live in the country under his rule. Outside Albania, Hoxha was admired by some western radicals for denouncing every kind of imperialism, from Yugoslav to Soviet to Chinese, as well as the US kind.
His chutzpah in breaking with powerful allies became legendary. All Yugoslav experts were expelled. Xoxe was executed. In , at a meeting of communist parties in Moscow, Hoxha sided with the Chinese. His extreme antipathy to Hoxha as a person, and to communists in general, narrows his writing to invective.
The book barely mentions the destruction caused first by the Italian and then the German occupation which the postwar government inherited. Fevziu claims Hoxha held his partisans back so that the Germans would concentrate on killing anti-communist nationalists.
Albanian historiography is a thin field but the weight of opinion, including accounts by Reginald Hibbert, later an eminent diplomat, who was a wartime British liaison officer with the resistance in Albania, supports the opposite line.
Hoxha was not the bravest or most efficient of the partisans and it was thanks to luck as well as guile that he emerged as leader. But his popularity was genuine and widespread, at least for a time.
Demise of a Prime Minister The Final Purges The Years of Solitude Written like a crime novel, based on unparalleled access to once closed Albanian archives, the book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand communist Europe and how dictatorships get set up and eventually survive.
Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania by Blendi Fevziu review – the People’s Republic tyrant
Share via Email Enver Hoxha in Journalists were routinely denied visas and subterfuge had to be employed to get across the border. The main feature was a crackly version of Henry V , starring Laurence Olivier, preceded by a short comedy turn by Norman Wisdom. With his cloth cap at a jaunty angle, censors for the Party of Labour of Albania assumed he exemplified the uplifting struggles of a typical English working-class lad.
Enver Hoxha : The Iron Fist of Albania