07.04.

1939: The Italian Invasion of Albania

1939: The Italian Invasion of Albania
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Italian soldiers disembarking from ships in Albania, April 1939

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 7 April 1939
  • The Albanian king Zog I escaped during the first day of the invasion, and took the country's gold reserves with him. The Italian king Victor Emmanuel III became the King of Albania.

On this day in 1939, the Italian army invaded Albania.

At the time, the political leader of Italy was Benito Mussolini who held the title “Head of Government, Duce of Fascism and the founder of the Empire” (Italian: Capo del Governo, Duce del Fascismo e fondatore dell’Impero).

The Italian Army almost immediately conquered the majority of the Albanian ports. It seems that 100,000 Italian soldiers and 600 aircraft were involved in the action. The Albanian Army was much weaker than the Italians. The King of Albania Zog I escaped during the first day of the invasion, and took the country’s gold reserves with him.

General Alfredo Guzzoni was the military commander during the attack on Albania. He had served in Ethiopia before the attack (the Italians had conquered Ethiopia before Albania). He also held the position of governor in Eritrea.

A personal union between Italy and Albania was proclaimed, which meant that the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III also became the King of Albania. Francesco Jacomoni di San Savino was elected to the position of the Governor-General in Albania (a “viceroy”).

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