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Dusan T. Batakovic: The Kosovo Chronicles




The study of Serbo-Albanian relations in the first decades of the 20th century is merely one chapter in a history long marked with conflicts which in their strongest current bore traits of lasting political confrontation and religious intolerance which had deepened over the centuries. Thus the need for precisely defining in perspective the processes under study, imposes itself as the primary obligation. Favoring a national and ideologically neutral reflection is not simply an implicit inclusion of historiographical principle, but an aspiration enabling a stratified account of never unambiguous historical content, instead of a reduced image of the past. Viewed from that angle, the figure of Essad Pasha Toptani, whom entire Albanian historiography condemned as the biggest traitor of his own people (for cooperating with Serbia), emerges in a different light, ideologically impartial, alien to every industrious work on history.1

The era delimited with the beginning of the Balkan Wars and the end of the Paris Peace Conference was marked by a fresh surge of old conflicts between the Serbs and Albanians. The centuries-long commitment of most Albanians in the Ottoman Empire to an Islamic structure of society (where the Muslim belonged to a privileged status to which the Christian was necessarily subordinate), was a major obstacle to any attempt at creating more permanent political cooperation, and achieving national and religious tolerance. In the first decade of the 20th century, the Albanian national question began to undermine the very foundations of Ottoman rule in the Balkans; subsequent to the great uprisings against the Young Turk pan-Ottoman policy, it was supposed to end with the creation of an autonomous Albanian unit within the frame of the Empire - in the spirit of the decisions reached by the Albanian League in Prizren in 1878. Demands were made to the Porte that an autonomous Albania be formed from the Kosovo, Scutari, Bitolj (Monastir) and Janina vilayets - ethnically mixed areas to which all the surrounding Balkan states (for many a good reason) lay claim. Rejecting cooperation offered by the Balkan allies, primarily Serbia and Montenegro, the leadership of the Albanian national movement decided, by defending Turkey, to stand by the idea of an ethnic, Great Albania.2

The proclamation of the independent state of Albania in Valona on November 28, 1912, showed that despite the tremendous success of the Balkan Allies at war against Turkey, the balance of forces in the Balkans depended on the will of the most influential big power in the peninsula - Austria-Hungary. Created primarily with support from the Dual Monarchy, Albania was to serve as a dam to Serbia's major war objectives in the First Balkan War - obtaining a territorial access to the Adriatic Sea at the coastal belt between Durazzo and St Giovanni di Medua.

Serbia's diplomacy watched with strong suspicion the development of the situation in Albania. Territorial access to the Albanian coast was jointly assessed by all relevant political factors (the court, the government, the army, the civil parties and public opinion) as the only possible way to avoid the fatal embrace of the Dual Monarchy. By encroaching upon ethnically different land, in Northern Albania, Serbia violated a principle to which it appealed there until - the principle of nationality. State reason tipped the balance which was justified by strategic needs and a historical right as well as by the struggle for survival imposed by Austria-Hungary.

In fall, 1912, the Serbian troops took Allesio, Elbasan, Tirana and Durazzo with quick actions and little resistance; the men ecstatically jumped into the Adriatic, rejoicing over Serbia's sea. The ultimatum presented by Austria-Hungary, threatening to attack the northern borders of Serbia, compelled the Serbian government to renounce the access. The Great Powers acknowledged the creation of the autonomous state of Albania at the Conference of Ambassadors in London (1912-1913), initially under the sovereignty and suzerainty of the sultan, and subsequently under their control. Serbia was given trade access to the sea via a neutral and free port in the north Albanian coast. The Montenegrin army, bolstered by Serbian troops, managed to take Scutari after exhausting battles and many victims, but was forced under a decision reached by the Conference to abandon it and surrender it to the international forces.3

The new state was a cat's-paw in the hands of Vienna. The ministers of Ismail Kemal's (Qemalli) provisional government were forced to draw up the declaration on independence in Turkish, and write the provisions in Turkish letters, since none of the government members were literate in the Albanian Latin alphabet. The markedly pro-Austrian orientation of Kemal's government did not meet with support from the wider population, which was through centuries-long traditions attached to the Ottoman state and its ideology. Muslims were in the majority in Albania (around 70% of the population), and to them the only acceptable solution to the national question was to set up a state under the rule of the Turkish prince, a demand which the government in Constantinople was quick to point out. In northern Albania, the Catholic Mirdits strove to create an independent state under the wing of the Catholic powers: King Nikola I of Montenegro merely nurtured their demand for independence. To the south, northern Epirus had little in common with the tribes of central and northern Albania, being under Greek influence and of Orthodox majority.4

Religious and tribal differences, an insufficiently formed national awareness, a completely underdeveloped economy, illiterate masses and their ignorance in politics held meager promises for a future stable state community. Albanian tribal and feudal chiefs, who were accustomed to reversing their positions and allies under the Turks for a handsome gratuity, demonstrated neither enough political maturity nor national solidarity. Clashes of different conceptions on the future of the country, the involvement of the Great Powers and strife over power between regional chiefs drew Albania into a whirlpool of civil war, even before its status was defined and its borders fixed. Austria-Hungary benefited mostly from the anarchy, with its consular and intelligence agencies encouraging a vengeful policy of Albanian officials, flaring up old hatred between the Serbs and Albanians, and building outposts for undermining and then destroying the Serbian administration in the newly-liberated territories - Old Serbia and Macedonia.5

The strengthening of influence by the Dual Monarchy in Albania, which was threatening to become a tangible means of political and military jeopardy to Serbia, disputes over demarcations and the status of individual adjacent regions instructed the Serbian government to seek among prominent Albanian tribal chiefs those who would be ready to resolve the issues within the Balkan framework. The figure most suitable for that purpose emerged - Essad Pasha Toptani, a Turkish general who gave Scutari over to the Montenegrins in April 1913, and was allowed in return to leave the town with his army and all their weaponry to become involved in the struggle over power in central Albania.

1 K. Frasheri, The History of Albania, Tirana 1964, pp. 183-212; A. Buda (ed.), Historia e popullit shqiptar, II, Prishtine 1969, pp. 371-516; S. Polio - A. Puto, {ed.),Histoire de I'Albanie, Roanne 1974, pp. 181-212; M. Qami, Shqiperia ne mareredheniet nderkombetare (1914-1918), Tirane 1987, pp. 43-45, 107-112, 240-243,280-281, 313-315.

2 S. Skendi, Albanian National Awakening (1878-1912), pp. 438-463; P. Barti, op. cit, pp. 173-184; B. Hrabak, Arbanaski ustanci 1912 godine, pp. 323-350; B. Mikic, The Albanians and Serbia during the Balkan Wars, in: East Central European Society and the Balkan Wars (ed. B. K. Kiraly - D. Djordjevic), New York 1987, pp. 165-196; Kosovo und Metochien in der serbischen Geschichte, Lausanne 1989, pp. 311

3 Z. Balugdzic, op. cit, pp. 518-523; D. Djordjevic, Izlazak Srbije na Jadransko more i Konferencija ambasadora u Londonu 1912, pp. 83-86; M. Vojvodic, Skadarska kriza 1913. godine, pp. 125-137; 145-151. Cf Ismail Qemalli. Permbledhje dokumentesh 1889-1919, Tirane 1982. An elaborate insight in the documents is also provided by the Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije 1903-1914, VI/1, Doc. Nos. 135, 389-393, 395, 411, 415, 460, 495-496, 506, 521, 527; VI/2, Doc. Nos. 23, 43, 80, 87-89,108,124.

4 M. Ekmecic, Ratni ciljevi Srbije 1914, pp. 372-377; J. Swire, Albania, The Rise of a Kingdom, pp. 183-240, D. Mikic, op. cit. pp. 185-191; M. Schmidt-Necke, Entstehung und Ausbau der Konigsdiktatur in Albanien (1912-1939), Munchen 1987, pp. 25-40.

5 V. Corovic, Odnosi Srbije i Austro-Ugarske u XX veku, pp. 396-410; M. Gutic, Oruzani sukobi na srpsko-albanskoj granici u jesen l913. godine, Vojnoistorijski glasnik, 1 (1985), pp. 225-275; B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji od kraja 1912. do kraja 1915, pp. 185-206.


The career of Essad Pasha Toptani (born in Tirana, 1863) was similar to the careers of the biggest Albanian feudal lords. As the owner of vast chifliks in central Albania, Essad Pasha quickly climbed up the Turkish administrative hierarchy. At the opening of the century he was a gendarmery commander in the Janina vilayet. He supported the Young Turk movement in 1908, and represented Durazzo as deputy to Turkey's Parliament; in 1909 he was entrusted with the ungrateful duty of handing Sultan Abdulhamid II the decree on his deposition. Prior to the Balkan wars, he held the post of gendarmery commander in the Scutari vilayet where he successfully engaged in trade with the Italians, giving them concessions for the exploitation of forests. He took over command of Scutari in early 1913, demonstrating all the qualities of a great military leader. He decided to surrender the city only when the garrison, broken by famine and disease, decided, together with the city chiefs, to stop resisting. The London Ambassadorial Conference of the Great Powers had already decided that Scutari remain within the Albanian composition. In those circumstances, surrendering Scutari in late April 1913 on honorable conditions was a wise political decision.1

Essad Pasha evaluated that to rely chiefly on Austria- Hungary when Italy and Greece were laying open claims to the territory of the Albanian state, would be fatal to his country's survival. By cooperating with the center of the Balkan alliance - Serbia - and through it with Montenegro, he was seeking foundations to build a stable Albanian state with a Muslim majority, in which he would rely on the large beylics in the central and northern parts of the country. Essad Pasha possessed the characteristically Muslim trait of distrusting fellow-countrymen of another religion. The bearing of the northern Albanian Catholic tribes, which aspired to separate from Albania, and the pro-Hellenic orientation of the Orthodox Albanian population in northern Epirus, were the reasons why he consented to adjust the border to the benefit of Serbia, Montenegro and Greece: he believed that an Albania smaller than the one stipulated in 1913 would, once homogeneous in religion, be a much more stable country. The development of international circumstances urged a closer cooperation with Serbia: Albanian territories were an object of aspiration and, when World War I broke out, compensation in the cabinets of big European powers.3

Already in early May, 1913, Essad Pasha informed the Montenegrin king of his intentions to proclaim himself King of Albania, and of his readiness to cooperate with the Balkan alliance. He said the Albanians owed their freedom to the Balkan peoples and that he would establish with them the borders of Albania without the mediation of other powers. Essad Pasha told Serbian diplomat Zivojin Balugdzic at a meeting in Durazzo, that he wanted an agreement with Serbia. Hesitant at first, the Serbian government consented, assessing that the Pasha had showed by his bearing that he really wanted an agreement with Serbia, which he regarded, Balugdzic quoted, as the nucleus for mustering Balkan forces.4

It was crucial to the Serbian government shortly before the Bulgarian attack to neutralize preparations in Albania against raids into Serbian territory - especially in Kosovo, Metohia and western Macedonia. Around 20,000 men were in arms in the Albanian territory, mostly refugees from Old Serbia and Macedonia whose leaders, Hasan Pristina and Isa Boljetinac, were close associates of Ismail Kemal. They strove to fight the influence of Essad Pasha, agitating an attack on Serbia and stirring up an uprising of the Albanian people there.

The Bulgarian komitadjis trained Albanians for guerrilla actions, with money and arms coming from Austria-Hungary. Essad Pasha refused to join them and warned the Serbian government not to approve of their action.5 At the end of September, 1913, a forceful raid was carried out into Serbian territory. The around 10,000 Albanians, who charged into the territory from three directions, were lead by Isa Boljetinac, Bairam Cur and Kiasim Lika. Aside to them, Bulgarian officers also commanded troops. Their troops took Ljuma and Djakovica, and besieged Prizren. They were crushed only after two Serbian divisions were sent to the border.6 Essad Pasha used the crushing of the pro-Austrian forces to proclaim himself (with the support of Muslim tribal chiefs and the big beylics in the central parts of the country) governor of Albania in Durazzo, in late September, 1913. Vienna assessed the act as positive proof of his pro-Serbian orientation. Official Serbia simultaneously helped a number of other small tribal chiefs who resisted Kemal's government, directing them towards cooperation with Essad Pasha. The alliance between the Serbian government and Essad Pasha was not stipulated in a special treaty: Pasic nevertheless ordered that his followers be aided in money and arms. To the Serbian prime minister, Essad Pasha served as a counterbalance to the great-Albanian circles around Ismail Kemal. The new prince of Albania, Wilhelm von Wied, backed the revanchist aspirations of Albanian leaders from Kosovo and Metohia. As the most influential man in his government, Essad Pasha held two important portfolios - the army and interior ministries. When the unresolved agrarian question, urged by Young Turk officers, grew into a massive pro-Turk insurrection against the Christian prince, Essad Pasha supported the insurgents and in a clash with the Prince sought backing at the Italian mission. After the arrest in Durazzo, Essad Pasha left for Brindisi under protection of the Italian legate in Durazzo at the end of May 1914. After his departure, border raids into Serbia assumed greater dimension and intensity.5

The threat Albania posed for Serbia abruptly increased at the beginning of the world war. The relationship between different political trends within the Albanian society towards the Central powers and the Entente powers was to a large extent determined by their commitment towards Serbia. The pronounced tendency towards pro-Austrian political circles grew with the continuous influx of Albanian refugees from Serbia. Their revanchist policy was the prime mover of a strong anti-Serbian movement in the war years, and became after its end a basis for national forgather.

1 For details see: D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915, pp. 299-303 (with earlier literature).

2 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), in: Srbija 1918, Zb. radova Istorijskog instituta, 7, Beograd 1989, p. 346

3 Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, VI/2, Doc. No 135, Z. Balugdzic, op. cit., 521-522.

4 0 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu, pp. 52-64.

5 Ibid, pp. 33-38, 60-61.

6 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, p. 305.


The beginning of the "Great War" left open the question about a precise demarcation between Serbia and Albania. The International Demarcation Commission discontinued work in mid-1914, thus state borders in areas of dispute remained to be fixed. War caught unguarded the Serbo-Albanian border. Austria-Hungary, not heeding for money, prepared fresh raids into Serbian territory. Pašić rightly anticipated the intention ofVien-na's diplomacy to open, aided by the Young Turks, another front and flank Serbian lands: he feared that the Albanian leaders financed by Vienna -Hasan Pristina, Isa Boljetinac (Bollletini), Bairam Cur (Curri) and Riza Bey Krieziu - would "attack Serbia when they receive orders from Turkey or Bulgaria and weaken Serbian military action on the other side".1 Concerned with reportings about incessant unrest in the border belt and endeavors to fomcnt an Albanian uprising in Serbia, military circles in the New Region Troops in Skoplje proposed preventive military action.

Essad Pasha strove to preserve an independent position, crossing thus from Italy to France. He planned to confront, with the help of the Entente, Austria-Hungary's efforts to completely subjugate his country. He made inquiries from Paris on the conditions upon which the Serbian government would aid his return to Albania. In 1914, Pašić imposed the following conditions: that he sign a political-customs treaty with Serbia on a joint defense, that Albania acknowledge the customs union at the chiefs' assembly, and that a solution be reached at the following stage on forming a personal or real union with Serbia. Essad Pasha confirmed by cable his acceptance in principle of Pašić's conditions and immediately set off to Serbia.2

The Serbian government policy towards Albania was aimed at pre-venting subversive actions from Albania and creating preconditions to exert influence at the end of the war on the demarcation of its borders, particularly in the strip towards Serbia. Shortly before Essad Pasha's arrival to Serbia, Pasic was interested in learning the stand of the Entante Powers towards Albania: would they oppose "if Albania as a Turkish- Bulgarian-Austrian instrument now attacked the Serbian border - could we now not only fend them off, but incapacitate them for attacks in connection with Turkey, occupy certain Strategie points and bring them under our influence until the time comes when Europe would again resolve that issue, and probably reach a better solution, which would ensure peace in Europe and the Balkans".3

Essad Pasha obtained permission in Athens from the Greek diplomacy to work in agreement with the Serbian government. At the same time he secured backing from Italy, which hoped to have an open road to permanently occupying Valona (Viore) once his regime was established in Albania. The government in Rome saw Essad Pasha as the most appropriate figure to oppose growing Austro-Hungarian and Turkish influence on conditions in Albania.4

Essad Pasha did not give up his claim to the Albanian throne. He warned the Serbian consul in Salonika that it would be perilous to Albania if its prince came from the sultan's family, as that would, through detrimental influence from Constantinople, open new hostilities towards Serbia and other Balkan states. He thus pointed out himself as the most appropriate figure to rule Albania. He sent messages to Pasic on the need for them to conclude a special treaty before his departure for Albania.5

Upon arriving in Nis, Essad Pasha signed a secret alliance treaty with Pasic on September 17. The 15 points envisaged the setting up of joint political and military institutions, but the most important provisions focused on a military alliance, the construction of an Adriatic railroad to Durazzo and guarantees that Serbia would support Essad Pasha's election as the Albanian ruler. The treaty left open the possibility that Serbia, at the invitation of Essad Pasha, carry out a military intervention to protect his regime. The demarcation between the two countries was to be drawn by a special Serbo-Albanian commission. Essad Pasha was to confirm the treaty only upon being elected ruler, with consent from the National Assembly: this left maneuvering space for revising individual provisions. Serbia was obligated to finance Pasha's gendarmery and supply the necessary military equipment by paying off 50,000 dinars per month.6

After the defeat of Prince Wilhelm von Wied in clashes with pro-Turk insurgents and his escape from Albania, anarchy broke out in the country. The insurgents hoisted the Turkish flag, demanding that the country preserve its Muslim quality. The senate of free towns in central Albania invited Essad Pasha to take over power. With over 4,000 volunteers mustered in the vicinity of Debar, Essad Pasha marched peacefully into Durazzo at the beginning of October 1914, set up his government and proclaimed himself supreme commander of the Albanian army. He did not question the ties with Constantinople, and the consent in principle to the sovereignty of the sultan over Albania. As the lord of central, particularly Muslim parts of the country, Essad Pasha was compelled to approve of the pro-Turkish beylics who had invited him to take over power. His first measures were directed at protecting the Serbian border from raids of troops lead by Young Turk and Austro-Hungarian officers in the northern parts of the country. He informed the Serbian government of his move on the Catholic tribes to subdue Scutari and capture Albanian leaders Isa Boljetinac, Bairam Cur and Hasan Pristina who were in hiding in the northern parts of Has region.7

Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria believed that under the rule of Essad Pasha Albania would come closer to the Powers of the Entante on a European war. Germany and Austria-Hungary immediately recalled their legates in Durazzo, and Bulgaria withdrew its diplomatic agent. At the same time Austro-Hungarian and Young Turk officers stepped up joint work on a preparation to raid Serbia. In keeping with the provisions of the Nis agreement, Essad Pasha undertook action to prevent the troops from crossing over to Serbian territory, but he was soon thwarted by a new pro-Turk insurrection.8

In early November 1914, Turkey engaged in a war with the Central powers, and included among the enemies of Islam Essad Pasha Toptani, as an ally to Serbia and therefore the Entente. The declaration of jihad stirred up a new pro-Turk insurrection of the Muslim population. The "Board for Uniting Islam" from Constantinople called for another conquest of Kosovo: "Hey Muslims! The until recently part of our fatherland - Kosovo - where the Holy Tomb of Sultan Murad lies, where the flag of the crescent moon and star fluttered, now flies the flag of the hateful Serb, who is turning mosques into churches and seizing everything you have. That low people is forcing you to fight in arms against allies and Mohammedan regents".9 The illiterate Albanian mob was easily fanaticized with pro-Turk and pan-Islamic slogans, thus the insurgents succeeded in winning over part of Essad Pasha's followers. With regular supplies of money, arms and ammunition from Austria-Hungary, the insurgents, commanded by Young Turk officers, posed an increasing threat to Essad Pasha's territory. The entire movement gained an expressly anti-Serbian character: demands were made that regions Serbia had liberated in the first Balkan war be annexed to autonomous Albania under Turkish sovereignty. Italy and Greece cleverly benefited from the whole confusion:

Italian troops disembarked on Sasseno island, and then took Valona and the hinterland, while Greek units marched into northern Epirus and set up full authority there.10

Essad Pasha's position in Durazzo continuously deteriorated. Pressured by the success of the insurgents, he called the Serbian government more than once to intervene in Albania. A tacit agreement with Italy to fend off Austria-Hungary occasionally provided money. Not only did he request guns from Greece, but demanded that its troops encroach upon those regions where his enemies mustered.11

The Serbian government ordered in December 1914 that preparations begin for a military intervention in Albania. As the allied diplomacies at the time exerted strong pressure upon the Serbian government to make territorial compensation for Bulgaria, offering in return some substitutes in Albania, Pasic wanted to incapacitate further bargaining over Macedonia with an intervention in Albania. Yet only the Russian diplomacy approved his plan. Legate Miroslav Spalajkovic from St Petersburg informed in early January 1915 that the Russian diplomacy was not opposed to a Serbian intervention in Albania as long as it did not affect the course and scope of operations against Austro-Hungarian troops. There was even mention that the Russian diplomacy hoped an occupation of some parts of Albania would "this time be constant and definitive".12 When Serbian armies broke off an Austro- Hungarian offensive in the north, Pasic's government feared that politicians and military circles in Vienna would use the lull to open war against Serbia.

Raids organized sporadically by fugitive leaders of the Albanian movement in Kosovo and Metohia, and carried out in co-action with Young Turks and Austro-Hungarian officers, were not of wide scope, but roused nervousness among Serbian military circles on the Albanian border. The insurgents besieged Essad Pasha in Durazzo and demanded of him to acknowledge the sultan's rule and declare war on Serbia. Pasic then evaluated it was wiser to intervene immediately than wait for a bulk army to muster in Albania with which an entire Serbian army would be forced to fight.13

The allied diplomacies warned the Serbian government that military intervention in Albania would strike an unfavorable response. The Russian diplomacy advised Serbia to be content with the occupation of the strategic points it had already occupied and refrain from actions that Italy might regard as measures directed against its interests.14

In late May, 1915, the Serbian diplomatic representative in Durazzo informed that Essad Pasha's position was critical: two new raids into Serbian territory had taken place. Despite warnings from the allies, Pasic decided on a military intervention.15 Over 20,000 Serbian soldiers armed with guns marched into Albania from three directions at the beginning of June, and took Elbasan and Tirana - the hotbeds of rebellion - suppressed the Young Turk movement, liberated the besieged Essad Pasha in Durazzo and turned over the captured insurgent leaders. A special Albanian Detachment was set up to implement a thorough pacification of Albania and consolidate Essad Pasha's rule. The regions inhabited by Mirdits, where Isa Boljetinac, Hasan Pristina and Bairam Cur were in hiding, remained out of reach for the Serbian troops; Ahmed Bey Zogu, lord of the Matis, who was the closest relative to Essad Pasha, attempted to reach an agreement with the Serbian government on his own, contrary to the Pasha: he set off to Nis on his own accord for negotiations with Pasic.16 The Montenegrin army took advantage of the favorable situation and marched into Scutari, officially still under international regime.

Serbia's military intervention roused strong disapproval from the allied diplomacies, especially Italy, whose claims to the Albanian coast and central parts of the country, guaranteed under the secret London Treaty, ensured its domination in Albania. Pasic replied to protests from the allies that a temporary action was at stake and that the Serbian troops would withdraw as soon as Essad Pasha's rule was consolidated.17 The Serbian prime minister evaluated that the timing was right to permanently tie Albania to Serbia, through Essad Pasha.

Serbian Internal Minister Ljubomir Jovanovic arrived in Tirana and on June 28,1915, at St Vitus' Day, signed a treaty with Essad Pasha on a real union between Serbia and Albania. Essad Pasha obligated himself to adjust the border to Serbia's advantage on the strip between Podgradec and Has. Serbia was to acquire the towns of Podgradec, Golo Brdo, Debarska Malissia, Ljuma and Has to Spac, until the international powers drew the new borders. Joint institutions envisaged an army, customs administration, national bank and missions to other countries. The Serbian government was to place at Essad Pasha's disposal experts to set up the authorities and state institutions. With Serbia's help, Essad Pasha was to be elected prince of Albania by an assembly of chiefs, he was to draw up a constitutional draft in agreement with Serbia and form a government of people who would represent the idea of Serbo-Albanian unity. The treaty anticipated that the Serbian army remain in Elbasan and perhaps in Tirana until the provisions of the treaty were executed, to persecute and destroy joint enemies. If Essad Pasha was to learn of Italy's intent to occupy Durazzo, he was under the obligation to call the Serbian army which would do so before the Italian troops.18 The Tirana Treaty was the best political option for Pasic's government in resolving the Albanian question. It stipulated to the end Serbia's war aims towards Albania. The real union was a political form allowing Serbia to influence the fate of those Albanian regions to which it lay claim prior to and during the Balkan wars. Expecting that the fate of Albania would again be discussed at a peace conference at the end of the war, the Serbian government wanted a tangible ground with the union project when putting forth its demands on Albania.

The Austro-Hungarian-German offensive on Serbia and Bulgaria's engagement in the war with the Central powers helped - with frequent news about the defeats and withdrawal of Serbian troops - the mustering again of Essad Pasha's opponents in northern Albania. It was proposed at an assembly in Mati that Serbia be attacked when a favorable condition rose and Albania be expanded to Skoplje. Ahmed-bey Zogu, who through a commissioner, had constant connection with the Serbian government, opposed their plans. No joint action against Serbia took place but clashes

A decision by the allies to deliver to Serbia aid in arms and ammunition via Albanian ports suddenly increased the importance of Essad Pasha's alliance. Already at the beginning of November 1914, Essad Pasha examined with the Serbian representative in Durazzo the possibility of keeping Albania a safe base for the Serbian army. Fearing another pro-Turk insurrection, Essad Pasha requested of the Serbian government that a French or British regiment disembark in Durazzo and be deployed to strategic positions throughout the country; he would in return prepare detachments to aid the Serbs in combating the Bulgarians. The Serbian prime minister, however, proposed that Essad Pasha receive a battalion of the Serbian army in Durazzo to thus prove that Serbo-Albanian interests stood before the interests of the Entante Powers. Pasic feared that Italy would use the plight of Serbian armies in the north to land its troops in Albania and occupy the whole territory. Pasic pointed out to Essad Pasha that the Entante Powers considered him a friend and a "kind of ally", and that after their victory his alliance would be rewarded with guarantees from the powers.19

1 Arhiv Srbije, Beograd. Ministarstvo inostranih dela, Strogo poverljivo (further in text: AS; MID, Str. pov.), 1914, No 233. For details on joint work among Austro-Hungarian Young Turk and Bulgarian services in Albania see: A. Mitrovic, Srbija u Prvom svetskom ratu, pp. 218-229.

2 B. Hrabak, Muslimani severne Albanije uoci izbijanja rata 1914. godine, pp. 53, 66-67.

3 AS, MID. Str. pov. 1914, No 233.

4 G. B. Leon, Greece and the Albanian Question at the Outbreak of the First World War, Balkan Studies, 1/11 (1970), pp. 69-71.

5 AS, MID, Str. pov., 1914, No. 290, 308. Essad Pasha also had arrangement with Montenegrin diplomats on principle to settle the controversials border issue by agreement, thus from Athens he requested of the Serbian government to inform Cetinje that he would "leave for Montenegro later on, as he had promised". (Ibid, No. 250)

6 Sh. Rahimi, Marreveshjet e qeverise serbe me Essat pashe Toptanit gjate viteve 1914-1915, Gjurmime Albanologjike, VI (1976), pp. 125-127; D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, p. 307.

7 AS, MID, Str. pov. 1914, No. 438

8 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, p. 307.

9 M. Ekmecic, op. cit., p. 387. The insurgents in northern Albania declared holy war against Serbia. Public Record Office London (later in text PRO, FO), vol. 438/4, No. 1071

10 G. B. Leon, op. cit., 78-80; M. Ekmecic, op. cit., 385-386. Cf P. Pastorelli, Albania nella politico estera italiana 1914-1920, Napoli 1970, pp. 19-32; James H. Burgwyn, Sonnino e la diplomazia italiana del tempo doi guerra nei Balcani nel 1915, Storia Contemporanea, XVI, 1 (1985), pp. 116-118.

11 G. B. Leon, op. cit., p. 79

12 AS, MID. Str. pov., 1914, No 863, tel. M. Spalajkovic to MID, St. Peterburg 25. 12. 1914 / 7. 01. 1915. Cf. B. Hrabak, Albanija od julske krize do proleca 1916. godine na osnovu ruske diplomatske gradje, I, Obelezja 5 (1973), pp. 71-75.

13 AS, MID, Str. Pov., 1914, No. 810, 877; B. Hrabak, Elaborat srpskog ministarstva inostranih dela o pripremama srpske okupacije severne Albanije 1915. godine, Godisnjak Arhiva Kosova, II-III (1966-1967), pp. 7-35

14 Arhiv Jugoslavije, Beograd, 80-2-604. Tel. M. Spalajkovic from St. Petersburg, 23. 04/6. 05. 1915, No 704; PRO FO, vol. 438/3, No. 100, 118.

15 The most vicious raid into Serbian territory was lead at the about 200 persons to stir up the tribes around Prizren, but his host was crushed near the village of Zur. The Serbian government informed the allies that around 1,000 armed ethnic Albanians had crossed the border (PRO, FO, 438/5, No. 53; A. ®,195

16 Essad Pasha complained about the conduct of the Serbian military authorities who pursued their own policy in Mati and other regions and attempted to agitate among individual Albanian chiefs for acknowledging as ruler of Albania a Serbian prince. (D. T. Batakovic, Secanja generala Dragutina Milutinovica na komandovanje albanskim trupama 1915. godine, Mesovita grada, XIV (1985), pp. 128, idem, Ahmed-beg Zogu i Srbija, in: Srbija 1916. godine, Zb. radova Istorijskog instituta, 5, Beograd 1987, pp., 165-177). Cf. M. Ekmecic, op. cit., pp. 394-395.

17 Pro, Fo, vol. 371, Nos. 184, 187, 200, 624,; vol. 438/5, No. 75; vol, 438/6, No 1444; M. Ekmecic, op. cit., pp. 392-394; A. Mitrovic, op. cit., pp. 230-232,

18 Sh. Rahimi, op. cit., pp. 137-140; D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, pp. 309-310.

19 Ibid, pp. 313-314.


The retreat of the Serbian army into Albania in late 1915 and early 1916 put the alliance of Essad Pasha to a serious test. In regions whereto his authority did not extend, particularly Catholic tribes in the northern parts of the country, the Serbian troops were forced to shoot their way through to the Adriatic ports where allied ships were waiting for them. Essad Pasha's gendarmery aided the Serbian army, secured safe passageways, accommodation and food, and engaged in skirmishes with Albanian regiments that attacked Serbian units and pillaged unarmed refugees. Essad Pasha issued a special proclamation calling Albanians to help the Serbian army, and informed military commanders about the advancement of enemy forces, the emergence of rebellious regiments and the mood of individual tribes.1

The "Albanian Golgotha" was the greatest war trial of the Serbian people. Of the 220,000 soldiers which broke through Albania towards Corfu and Bizerta, only 150,000 reached the destination; of about 200,000 refugees spread along Albanian crags and marshes by the coast barely a third (60,000 people) escaped death.2 Serbia's losses would have been much heavier were it not for Essad Pasha and his followers during the retreat and embarkation.

During the retreat Essad Pasha maintained contact with the Serbian government. He rejected Pasic's proposals to proclaim his treaty with the Serbian government and admit Serbian officials in his administration, explaining that his enemies were already calling him Essadovic because of his alliance with Serbia. He wanted the allies to guarantee that Italy would not occupy entire Albania after the retreat of the Serbian army. Realizing that Austro-Hungarian troops would soon take Durazzo, Essad Pasha proposed to Pasic that he be conveyed to Corfu with his government and gendarmes, so as to be able, when the allied offensive was launched, to take up positions on the left flank of the Serbian army and operate towards Albania. At the demand of the Italian diplomacy, Essad Pasha and several hundred gendarmes crossed at the end of February 1916 to Brindisi escorted by Serbia's charge d'affaires. Prior to his departure, he declared war on the Central powers, thus taking upon himself full responsibility for his cooperation with Serbia and the Entente powers.3

Despite promises that he would be recognized as the Albanian prince, and faced with open endeavors by the Italian government to exert complete influence over him, Essad Pasha continued on to France to seek backing from the allied diplomacy. Political circles in Paris admitted him as the prime minister of a legitimate government. Military experts evaluated that Albania was a reservoir of good soldiers which could be winged over for the allied cause by Essad Pasha only. In late August, Essad Pasha reached Salonika in a French vessel. Through the mediation of the Serbian and Greek diplomacies, his government acquired the status of an exiled alliance cabinet. Essad Pasha's camp was set up at the Salonika battlefield from 1,000 gendarmes and followers under the command of Albanian officers. Deployed to positions towards Albania, he operated within the composition of the French eastern army. According to Pasic's intentions, his camp was to operate mixed with Serbian troops towards Kosovo and northern Albania.4

During work in Salonika, Essad Pasha continuously strove to obtain firm promises from France and Great Britain that when the war was over rule over Albania would not be given to Italy, and that he would be allowed to reinstate his administration in the country. At the end of 1916, Korea was proclaimed an autonomous republic under the protection of French military authorities, and power was given to the local liberals. Essad Pasha complained to Pasic about the actions of the French military command, and warned of Italy's web of intrigues, emphasizing that he had tied his fate to Serbia. He feared that the Italian troops in Argirokastro were preparing an assassination. Instead, General Giazzinto Ferrero proclaimed the state of Albania, in early June, 1917, under the Italian protectorat.5

The Serbian government followed with anxiety the consolidation of Italian positions in Albania. Immediately after the protectorate was proclaimed, the Serbian government protested to the allied powers calling on the decisions of the Ambassadorial Conference in London, to which Italy was a signatory, and warned that the one-sided proclamation of Albanian independence violated the "Balkans to the Balkan peoples" principle. The news that the Italian military authorities were promising the Albanians considerably wider state borders than those established in London in 1913 aroused particular concern. Pasic therefore made it especially clear that the Italian protectorat resembled a similar attempt by Austria-Hungary to "secure for itself a protectorat over Albania, and indirectly over the other Balkan peoples by creating a new Great Albania to the detriment of other Balkan peoples".6

Essad Pasha also protested to the Italian government. Dissatisfied with the development of the situation, he resolved to set off for Switzerland, the center of various Albanian committees, and through the French government to secure backing from the British diplomacy which supported Italy's policy in Albania. He obtained no guarantees in Paris, and failed to secure backing from the Geneva committees, tied firmly to Austria-Hungry which financed them.7

Increasingly insecure about winning support from the allies and concerned over implications that his special obligations towards Serbia were no longer a secret, Essad Pasha demanded of Pasic that the government provide more money and secure after the war his administration in Albania within the borders drawn by the Conference of Ambassadors in London. On his return to Salonika at the beginning of 1918, Essad Pasha in talks with Regent Aleksandar linked the distrust of the French diplomacy with the Tirana Treaty and Italy's endeavors to compromise France. In talks with other Serbian diplomatic officials, Essad Pasha complained that the provisions in the Tirana Treaty impeded him in political work. Finally, he made a demand to the Serbian government to procure permission from the French military authorities for introducing his administration in the Korea Republic, where Italians were freely agitating against him. The French command, however, dissolved the Korea republic in February 1918, and took over command of Essad Pasha's units, which held the front between Podgradec and Shkumbi River, due to low combat morale.8

The Serbian government strove to aid Essad Pasha as appreciably as possible within its means. Its policy towards Albania was, in principle, to any thwart plans on foreign protectorates and reinstate the regime that existed prior to the withdrawal of the Serbian army. The Serbian government protested several times against the consolidation of Italian positions in Albania, striving to give as much prominence as possible to Essad Pasha and prepare the conditions for his return to power. Essad Pasha realized himself that Serbia was his last outpost and that without its support he had no chance with the allies to win back his return to the country. Thus in a message to US President Woodraw Wilson in the summer of 1918, he said that only a future Yugoslav state could guarantee for the integrity and independence of his country.9

In the event that Pasha's return to power was not possible, Pasic was preparing to leave open the question of the border with Albania. (The Entente had prior to the breakthrough of the Salonika front signed an agreement in Paris on the division of spheres of interest whereby Albania was ceded to Italy.) In early November 1918, Pasic sent the following message: "Our policy in Albania is to establish, if possible, the situation as it was prior to the evacuation, when Essad Pasha was the Albanian prime minister, and occupy territories from the Mati river beyond and in agreement with the tribal chiefs, reestablish local administration which will act on the instructions of our authorities."10

He called Essad Pasha - at the time in France seeking backing - to return to Salonika and at the same time demanded that territories taken in Albania be occupied by mixed allied forces: he proposed also that the Albanian camp be used, mixed with Serbian officers. The French command, however, disbanded Essad Pasha's troops on October 12. By a decision of the interallied Supreme War Council, Albania was to be controlled by the Italian army up to the Maca river.11

Still, the Serbian prime minister did not rule out the possibility that the situation would develop enabling the return of Essad Pasha to Albania, to the region north of the Mati river which Serbia considered its sphere of interest. Italy persecuted Pasha's followers in the occupied parts of the country, and at one particular time made a demand to France for his internment. It all ended with the withdrawal of the French representative to his government.12

1 Ibid, pp. 315-317.

2 Veliki rat Srbije za oslobodjenje i ujedinjenje Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca, vol. XIII-XIV; Kroz Albaniju 1915-1916, Beograd 1968; M. M. Zivanovic, O evakuaciji srpske vojske iz Albanije i njenoj reorganizaciji na Krfu (1915-1916) prema francuskim dokumentima, Istorijski Casopis (XIV-XV), pp. 231-307.

3 D. T Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, pp. 321-324.

4 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), pp. 348-349.

5 AS, MID, Str. pov., 1917, No. 232 Memoire: Proglas protektorata Italije nad Albanijom i uopste rad Italije 1917 Krf, D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), pp. 350-351; P. Pastorelli, op. cit., pp. 36-41; I documenti diplomatici italiani, Quinta serie, vol. VI, Roma MCMLXXXVIII, NOs, 119, 390, 394, 427, 438, 445, 448, 831.

6 AS, MID, Str. pov., 1917, No. 182. Pasic's note dated 30. 05/13. 06.1917.

7 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), pp.

8 Ibid, pp. 353-358.

9 Ibid, pp. 359.

10 Ibid, pp. 360.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid, pp. 361-362; B. Hrabak, Reokupacija oblasti srpske i crnogorske drzave s arbanaskom vecinom stanovnistva u jesen 1918. godine i drzanje Arbanasa prema uspostavljenoj vlasti. Gjurmime albanologjike, 1 (1969), pp. 262-265, 285-286.


After the war, Italy became the main rival of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in Albania. Rome strove to use the disintegration of the Dual Monarchy to step up its positions in the Balkans and turn the Adriatic Sea into an Italian lake. Albania was in its schemes the country wherefrom Italian influence would be wielded onto the neighboring regions. The Italian troops occupied the largest part of Albania and, by meeting the demands of various committees (particularly the Kosovo Committee) in annexing to Albania Metohia, Kosovo and western Macedonia, they presented themselves as the protector of the interests of all the Albanian people. An interim government of Turhan Pasha Permeti was set up in Durazzo under the wing of Italy at the end of December 1918, which was ready to recognize as its ruler a prince from the House of Savoy. At the Peace Conference in Paris, Italy strove to secure the possession of Valona and hinterland and obtain a mandate over the other parts of Albania.1 The envoys of the pro-Italian Durazzo government demanded at the Peace Conference a revision of the 1913 borders - they wanted Prizren, Djakovica, Pec, Pristina, Mitrovica, Skoplje, Tetovo and Debar to be included in the composition of the Albanian state.2

The policy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes towards Albania did not deviate much from that of Pasic's government. Belgrade evaluated that the consolidation of Italian positions in Albania would be a source of continual threat to Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring regions. Head of the delegation to the Conference, Nikola Pasic, also shaped the policy of the new state as regards Albania. In order to repress Italian influence in the Balkans, he demanded the restoration of Albania within the 1913 borders, as an independent state with autonomous and national rule. If the Great Powers should nevertheless decide to divide the Albanian territories among the neighboring states, the delegation demanded that the Yugoslav state be given northern Albania from the Veliki Drim to Scutari.3

Under the aegis of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, Essad Pasha brought his delegation to The Peace Conference in Paris. Having submitted a memorandum to the Conference at the end of April, he called on the legitimacy of his government, its allied status in Salonika and the declaration of war on the Central powers. Seeking the restoration of independent Albania within the 1913 borders, Essad Pasha demanded to be recognized as the only legal representative of his people.4

The Peace Conference, however, did not officially discuss the fate of Albania as it was formally considered a neutral state during the war. The question of its future was being resolved at the Ambassadorial Conference of the Great Powers. The diplomatic circles of the Western allies assessed that Albania was insufficiently nationally constituted and that its development had to be under the control of a big power. As time passed, the representatives of the Great Powers saw the solution to the Albanian question in granting a mandate to Italy - its troops controlled the largest part of the Albanian territory and its diplomats persisted on the allies meeting the provisions taken over by the 1915 London Treaty.5

Pasic evaluated that the Albanian question was to be resolved soon. He strove to set it apart from its natural linkage with the Adriatic question, which was considered an object of compensation. Even though France and Great Britain paid heed to the interests of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, Pasic believed that the key role in resolving the Albanian question would be assumed by United States President Woodraw Wilson and Italy. He persistently maintained the stand that the Delegation of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes demanded the restoration of Albania within the 1913 borders, and that border alteration towards Serbia and Montenegro be resolved in agreement with the tribes that lived there. If the stand prevailed that the provisions of the London Treaty should be met, Pasic demanded - as a Great Power was coming to the Balkans and in the immediate vicinity of the Yugoslav state - stronger strategic borders as compensation, "The Glavni (Veliki) Drim from the sea to the confluence of the Crni Drim, then the Crni Drim up to a point beneath Debar, to the confluence of the Zota river left of the Crni Drim, encompassing entire Ohrid Lake with the watershed to remain on our side."6

Since Valona and the hinterland was being ceded to Italy under the 1915 London Treaty, as well as protectorat over central Albania, while Northern Albania was intended for Serbia and Montenegro, Pasic proposed that the northern Albanian tribes be given the right to self-determination, "to say themselves if they wish to join the central Muslim Albania under the Italian protectorat, or to form a separate small state - some sort of small 'buffer state', or if they desire to join our state as a small autonomous state".7 Thus from the beginning of 1919, petitions of individual Catholic tribes demanding to be annexed to Serbia were collected at the border belt, with backing from the military and civil authorities of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes.8 This way Pasic wanted to parry the pro-Italian delegation to the Peace Conference and deputies of the American Albanian society "Fire", which demanded the forming of a Great Albania inclusive of considerable regions of the former Serbian and Montenegrin state. Thus he supported those groups of Albanian delegates in Paris that maintained it would be the most benefitial for Albania if it came to terms with the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, and accepted a border alteration to its advantage, in keeping with the wish of the local population. Pasic set out they believed that their independence "would best be ensured if they entered into an alliance with us, especially to set up a customs union. The group comprises Essad Pasha's followers and those opposing the Italian protectorat".9

On the ground, particularly those areas in Albania under occupation (by agreement with the French army, after the Austro-Hungarian troops were driven out) - Pishkopeja, Gornji and Donji Debar and Golo Brdo - the Serbian military authorities, and subsequently those of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, tried to help organize Essad Pasha's followers. A committee in Debar was entrusted with the task of setting up rule in the border areas and preparing the conditions for Pasha's return to the country. His commissioners exerted the strongest influence in regions between Golo Brdo and Gornji Debar, in Podgradec and Starova while deep into the country, in the central parts, Italian troops gradually and successfully checked Essad Pasha's followers. Despite continuous dissipation, Essad Pasha still enjoyed considerable support especially among the old Muslim beys, who viewed with distrust the consolidation of Italian positions in central Albania.10

Beside the Conference, Italy and Greece signed in late July 1919 a secret treaty - the so-called Tittoni-Veniselos Treaty - on the division of the Albanian territory. At the beginning of December the allied powers recognized Italy's sovereignty over Valona and the hinterland, and offered it a mandate to set up administration in the remaining part of Albania under the control of the League of Nations. The same memorandum envisaged and defined territorial compensations to the advantage of Greece. Pasic again set out that in that case the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had to stand by their demand for more favorable borders towards Albania. He proposed that the region of the entire length of the Mace river to the Crni Drim be demanded as the maximum, and the stretch along the Crni and Veliki Drim rivers to their confluence as the minimum.11

Cooperation with Essad Pasha never ceased for a moment. The delegation of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes backed his demands that he be paid war reparations as an ally to the Entante Powers and thus indirectly acquire an allied status. Pasha's followers in the country dissipated and gathered again, depending on current circumstances, and were unsparingly helped in actions against those supported by the Italians. He sent messages several times to his followers that he was returning to the country and advised them to act in cooperation with Serbia and to decisively oppose the Italian occupation.12

While a bitter diplomatic battle over Albania's destiny was being waged at the Conference, a movement rose against the Italian occupation in the country. The government in Durazzo was condemned and replaced at a national congress of Albanian chiefs in Ljusnje in early 1920, and strong protests were lodged with the Peace Conference and Italian parliament. The delegates demanded the creation of a Great Albania; command over the army was entrusted to Bairam Cur.13 Essad Pasha's followers who convened at the People's Assembly in March made strong demands that the Italian troops be routed. Ahmed Zogu, the interior minister in the government of Suleyman Delvina, strove to neutralize Essad Pasha, sending to that end special emissaries to Paris at the end of May. The delegation offered Essad Pasha the post of prime minister, on the condition that he abandon aspirations to rule Albania.14 At the time Bairam Cur lead a decisive battle against the detachments of Pasha's followers. Finally, on June 13, 1920, an Albanian student, Avni Rustemi, by order of Lushnje government, killed Essad Pasha in front of the Continental Hotel in Paris, believing that as an ally to Serbia and then to the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, he had betrayed the interests of the Albanian people. Essad Pasha was buried with the last honors in the Serbian army cemetery in Paris.

1 P. Pastorelli, op. cit., pp. 63-86; V. Vinaver, Italijanska akcija protiv Jugoslavija na albansko-jugoslovenskoj granici 1919-1920. god., Istorijski zapisi, XXIII, 3 (1966), pp. 477-515; Z. Avramovski, Albanija izmedju Jugoslavije i Italije, Vojnoistorijski glasnik, 3 (1984), pp. 164-166.

2 Arhiv Jugoslavije, Delegacija Kraljevine Srba Hrvata i Slovenaca na Konferenciji mira u Parizu (later in text: AJ, Delegacija), f-27, No 296; D. Todorovic, Jugoslavija i balkanske drzave 1918-1923, Beograd 1979, p. 50.

3 The Question of Scutari, Paris 1919; A. Mitrovic, Jugoslavija na Konferenciji 1919-1920, Beograd 1969, pp. 169-176; Documentation in: B. Krizman - B. Hrabak, Zapisnici sa sednice delegacije Kraljevine SHS na mirovnoj konferenciji u Parizu 1919-1920, Beograd 1960, pp. 321-324, 365-366

4 Memoir prčsente ŕ la Conference de la Paix ŕ Paris par son Excellence le general Essad Toptani président du gouvernement d'Albanie, Paris 16 Avril 1919. (Essad Pasha's correspondence with the Serbian government and his letter addressed to the Conference in: A3, Delegacija, f-27. The same file contains the memoirs of Leon Krajewski dated January 2, 1919, focusing mainly on Essad Pasha's relations with France)

5 AJ, Delegacija, f-27, No 7289; P. Pastorelli, op. cit., pp. 189-225; D. Todorovic, op. cit, pp. 53-64. Cf P. Milo, L'attitude du Royame serbo-croato-slovene a I'egard de I'Albanie ŕ la Conference de la paw. a Paris (1919-1920), Studia Albanica, 1 (1989), pp. 37-57.

6 AJ, Delegacija, f-28, Pasic to Prime Minister; A. Mitrovic, Jugoslavija na Konferenciji mira, pp.

7 Ibid

8 D. Todorovic, op. cit., pp. 49. The originals of a number of petitions (submitted to the Peace Conference) on the annexation of the northern Albanian tribes to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes are kept in: AJ, Delegacija, f-28.

9 Same as footnote 49.

10 AJ, Delegacija, f-27, Nos. 5504, 5376, 6275, 6451, 6589.

11 Z. Avramovski, op. cit., p. 167.

12 AJ, Delegacija, f-27, Nos. 5504, 5376, 6275, 6451, 6589.

13 Ibid, Nos. 5484 - 5489; i. Avramovski, op. cit., pp. 169-170.

14 AJ, Delegacija, f-28, Nos. 6724, 6725.


The cooperation of the Serbian government and subsequently the government of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes with Essad Pasha is an important chapter in the history of Serbo-Albanian relations. It was the first joint effort to resolve issues of dispute between two peoples in the Balkans to the Balkan peoples principle, in a manner that was, with certain territorial concessions to Serbia, and subsequently to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, to wipe out old hotbeds of mutual conflict. The strategic aspirations of the Serbian government to curb the influence of Great Powers in Albania did not emanate solely from old aspirations to permanently master northern Albania, but from actual political estimates that under the influence and protectorat of a Great Power, the Albanian state would pursue the course of maximalist and national claims to territories that were inhabited, aside to the Serbian people, by Albanians -- Kosovo, Metohia and western Macedonia.

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