With both the rise of Albanian reactionary forces in 1924 and the arrival of the Italian fascists in 1939, the brave Albanian people with the Communist Party of Albania at the helm fought back against their oppressors. By undertaking three great tasks, the democratic peoples of Albania were able to defeat the Italian Fascists, the German Nazis, and the forces of internal reaction. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Albania, they were able to unify the masses, workers, and peasants into the National Liberation Front; they were able to organize the people striking and fighting for the freedom of Albania into the National Liberation Army; and they were able to defeat the fascist occupation government, the landlord-bourgeoisie alliance, and the reactionary forces in their nation — establishing a free nation and shining beacon of socialism for the world to see.
There are lessons to be learned from the Albanian National Liberation War (1939-1945). First, it shows that the fascists and reactionary traitors can be defeated if the people stand up as one and reject their schemes and designs for terror against the proletariat. Secondly, it shows that occupiers can be defeated by a smaller force if the people are on their side. Lastly, it shows that fascism is not forever, instead it is a transitory state of affairs that can and must be defeated.
In the years after its independence from the Ottoman Empire, the democratic movement in Albania faced both heroic victories and disastrous defeats. From the successful revolution and insurgency in 1924 that installed the Fan Noli bourgeois-democratic republic, with its improvements of the lives of the working class and peasantry, to the violent counterrevolution in December 1924 that installed the future King of the Albanians, Ahmet Zogu, the Albanian people had much to endure. Much of the people in Albania at this time were peasants and this was reflected in the infrastructure of the nation, it needed to build its productive forces up more. Additionally, the landlord class was largely in charge of the nation.
The Albanian communists had to build up both its own forces and the forces of the working class and peasantry to prepare them for the necessary revolution. While this was occurring, there was increased encroachment from Italy. On April 7, 1939, Fascist Italy invaded Albania. The clique of Ahmet Zogu fled the country, and the pro-fascist military forces dissolved rather than fighting back to defend their homeland. Democratic and patriotic forces, however, would rise to the occasion, and under the leadership of the Communist Party, would undertake the great struggle for liberation.
During the period of Italian control of Albania, Mussolini kept the landlord-bourgeoisie alliance in Albania that had previously supported Ahmet Zogu intact. It also intensified efforts to solidify the rule of Fascist Italy and its puppets in Albania. In 1939 the fascist authorities held a Constituent Assembly to solidify their rule and give the title of “King of the Albanians” to the Italian king, Victor Emmanuel III. After this, a pro-Italian regime was installed, headed by the landowner Shefqet Vërlaci.
The Albanian people, however, did not take this insult lying down. There were widespread strikes, widespread sabotage of facilities that Italy needed, and student movements and communist cells were formed. The Albanian National Liberation Movement was taking shape.
To solidify the National Liberation Movement and the war against the bourgeoisie-landlord alliance supporting the Fascist Italian occupation, a communist party was needed. There were several communist cells already in existence, all that was needed was a force to unify them all. From the 8th to the 14th of November 1941, a meeting took place to unify all of these groups and to found the Communist Party of Albania. Among the people who attended the meeting were the revolutionary leader Enver Hoxha, veteran Comrades Qemal Stafa, and Vasil Shanto. At last, the Communist Party of Albania was born.