by Antonina Zhelyazkova

The two world wars, the occupation periods and the frustration of the Albanian national strivings and anticipations for independence... (3)

The main dividing line between the two resistance formations was the idea of "ethnic Albania" which was on the agenda of the Ballists - free and democratic, modernly constituted ethnic Albania… This was a Maximalist claim in the complex situation witnessed at that time and in the Balkans as a whole. On the other hand, Albanian Communists acted in close cooperation with the Yugoslavian resistance and, under the influence of the YCP, preferred to discuss the issue when the war would already be over. Ultimately, ACP's aspiration to gain an independent control on power took the upper hand and the most convenient moment for joint action of the resistance was missed, namely the time of the capitulation of Italy and the Wehrmacht's decision to occupy Albania.96

The deployment of the German army brought to light once again the Albano-Italian sympathies. To this day historians and anthropologists who collect the oral history of the Albanians from the periods of the occupation, are surprised to hear that most of the families remember that they hid Italian soldiers and officers persecuted by the Wehrmacht. Some circles of the Albanian society supported the Germans and collaborated with them. A transitional Executive Committee was formed, then a National Assembly was called together, its membership collaborating with the Germans, and in November a government was appointed, all these bodies being an appendage to the German general administrator Neubacher. In this period the Ballists joined forces with the monarchist Zogist organisation Legalitet and sought partnership with ACP. In a special directive Enver Hoxha not only rejected collaboration, but also ordered the persecution of the Ballists, and later of the members of Legalitet party. In practice, this directive set the beginning of a real civil war in Albania the methods of which were terrorism, mass killings and revival of the traditional regional, clan and religious-cultural division of the country by new - political - means. 

Anti-fascist resistance in Kosovo was put under full control by the YCP and Tito. The Albanian population joined Tito's forces, gave a heavy toll of hundreds of lives, but, at the same time, was indignant at ACP's position - in the name of Moscow-dictated internationalism it refused to discuss the strategic issues of the national problem of Albanians. In the second half of 1943, an Albanian League was again set up in Prizren proclaiming its intention to fight for the unification of all territories populated by Albanians. Moreover, the leaders of the Albanian League posed the question of putting Kosovo on equal administrative standing with the other provinces in Yugoslavia. Their endeavours encountered a redoubled opposition, because their right to self-determination was rejected not only by the YCP, but also by the Albanian Communists, and this predetermined the future of hundreds of thousands of Albanians living within the borders of post-war Yugoslavia.97

97 Ibid., p. 121