Dependence on Yugoslavia, 1945-48

Dependence on Yugoslavia, 1945-48

After World War II, just as before, Albania's economy relied heavily on foreign assistance. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration granted Albania US$26.3 million in aid during 1945 and 1946, including large amounts of seed and enough grain to feed a third of the population in 1945; the United States supplied US$20.4 million of the United Nations relief. In July 1946, Albania and Yugoslavia signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation, which provided for establishment of an agency that would coordinate the two countries' economic plans. The agreement also called for the creation of a customs union and the standardization of the Albanian and Yugoslav monetary and pricing systems. A series of technical and economic agreements soon followed. In November, Tiranė and Belgrade signed an economic cooperation accord and an agreement on the creation of jointly owned companies. At least on paper, these documents transformed Albania into a Yugoslav satellite; but their implementation quickly ran into snags.

In early 1947, Tiranė began voicing serious objections to the economic arrangements with Belgrade, taking exception to the way the Yugoslavs weighed Albanian investment in the jointly owned companies and calculated the value of Albanian exports of raw material to Yugoslavia. The Albanians also charged that Yugoslavia's shipping enterprise was working to usurp control of their country's foreign trade. Tiranė sought investment funds to develop light industries and an oil refinery; Belgrade wanted the Albanians to concentrate on agriculture and the extraction of raw materials. Despite its objections to the economic relationship with Yugoslavia, in early 1948 Tiranė launched a one-year economic plan designed to bring Albania's economy into step with Yugoslavia's. But Albania abruptly cut economic links with its neighbor after the Soviet Union expelled Yugoslavia from the Cominform (see Glossary) in June.


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