Founding a Balkan State examines the pivotal period in Albanian history when the country's fundamental goals and directions were most hotly contested. In 1920, liberal Albanian leaders -- led by the US-educated Bishop Fan S. Noli -- began working to introduce democracy to the country, hoping that it would lead to modernization, prosperity, and overturning the legacy of five hundred years of Ottoman rule. In 1924, these leaders mounted a successful revolution; by 1925, however, their forces were in retreat. Albania soon slid into dictatorship under Ahmed Bey Zogu -- first as president, then as self-proclaimed king.Founding a Balkan State provides the only comprehensive assessment in English of these events. Robert C. Austin first delves into the country's weak domestic and international position both before and after the First World War, then assesses the internal and external challenges posed to its state- and nation-building efforts. Austin shrewdly demonstrates how the missed opportunities of Albania's political transition affected the course of Balkan history for decades to come.
Robert C. Austin is a senior lecturer in the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.