1/12/1915 Uninvited guests in Albania

Albania is a small Balkan nation that has only recently become independent. The country is in a disordered state with no effective central government. Following the invasion of their own country, the Serbian army is retreating through the mountains of northern Albania, hoping to reach the coast and rescue by the Allied navies. The Serbs are suffering terribly from exposure and lack of food, with many of the soldiers dying on the roadside as they desperately try to escape the invaders of their country. The large numbers of civilians fleeing with them are experiencing even more terrible sufferings.

The problems of the Serbs are exacerbated by the uncharitable response of the Albanian population. Many of them are resentful of the Serbs’ violation of their country’s neutrality and are responding by attacking and robbing them whenever opportunity arises. There are reports that the Austro-Hungarians have supplied the Albanians with arms to assist them in their resistance.

The Serbian army is not the only one that has made its way into Albania. Italian troops have landed in the southern port of Vlorë, known to Italians as Valona. Italy is Serbia’s ally so one might think that the Italians are coming to the rescue of the retreating Slavs. But no, the main aim of Vlorë force is to assert Italian rights in Albania. Under the secret agreement that brought Italy into the war, Albania was to become an Italian protectorate. Now the Italians are trying to cement their claim to what they see as their just desserts. The Italians set to work on chasing away Greek forces who have crossed into the southern part of the country.

image source:

Albania (The Balkan Wars)

3 thoughts on “1/12/1915 Uninvited guests in Albania

  1. I don’t usually respond to these kind of street-corner accounts of history, and there is a good chance you won’t permit this comment, but, nevertheless, my question is, where did you learn your history? Do you still believe in this fairy tales that the Albanians are mean and uncharitable, while the poor Serbs are only trying to pass through, and they really never meant any harm? What is this, history for kinder garden kids? Do you not even have the courage to admit to yourself that both peoples have fought for centuries, and they both have massacred each other, even though there are also cases of amity between them? Did you know that the Albanians and the Montenegrin old tribes often share the same blood?
    You know, I have no problem with people embellishing a little history, as long as they make it more interesting. If you have to lie, at least make it sound great. Where is the greatness in a “peaceful army” passing through Albania’s mountains and being attacked by the elements and the fury of the barbarous Albanians? Is it only that some survive? Great feat. I entered in Albania and… got out, alive.

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  2. I hear what you are saying. In a blog of this type covering events as they happen I can’t really go back and cover the tangled relations over many years of Albanians and their neighbours. I had thought however that I had made clear that the Serbs were essentially invading Albania, even if just to transit it, bringing the Great War to a country that had not asked to take part in it.

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  3. I would not expect you, or anyone, to cover the whole tangled history of the Balkans generally, or that of Albania’s relations with its neighbors specifically–it often is an impossible task to ask of history books as well, not only blogs, but from what you had written it was nowhere clear that the Serbs were invading Albania. Perhaps you had set that out in other posts, which I have not read though. The current post, however, sounded to me like those one-dimensional nationalist tales you read generally in online forums, which involve a lot of racist remarks and a virulent exchange of insults among the members, with the difference that this seemed a bit more authoritative. In any event, I might have missed something, for I did not go through the whole blog in detail. The only reason I wrote is that it did not appear like the writing of those forum knuckleheads that I mentioned.

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