Short Biography of Enver Hoxha

(Published by La Nostra Lotta, Italy)

Enver Hoxha was born in Gjirokaster, in the south of Albania, on October 16, 1908; his father was a modest employee, for many years an emigrant in America; his mother was a housewife.

A great influence on the spiritual growth of Enver Hoxha was exercised by his uncle Hyen Hoxha, a man who for that period was a definite revolutionary. He represented Gjirokaster on November 28, 1912, in the act of proclamation of independence of Albania, signing a document that consecrated the will of the Albanian people to free themselves from the yoke of the Turkish empire. He later also took a hostile attitude towards the reactionary regime of king Zog. This played a fundamental role in the formation of the political ideas of Enver Hoxha.

In his city he breathed the air of protest against a repressive government that culminated in the democratic revolution of 1924.

Having finished elementary school he attended the high school of Gjirokaster. At the age of 16 he was already among the first initiators and also secretary of the Society of the Students of Gjirokaster, which was permeated with a democratic-revolutionary spirit. He led the protest of progressive students when center was closed by the government after a year.

He left Gjirokaster to move to Korca, where he continued his studies in the French high school. Here he learned French history, literature and philosophy. In this city he read for the first time the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" given to him by a worker named Koi Bako. In this period he also learned for the first time about the October Socialist Revolution; all that together with the ideas of the French Revolution which thrilled Enver Hoxha, determined his cultural development and his political tendencies.

In the summer of 1930 he finished his studies at the high school of Korca with excellent marks; in the same year he won a scholarship to attend the faculty of natural sciences at Montepellier in France. He wanted to study philosophy or law. Here he attended the lessons and the conferences of the Association of Workers organized by the French Communist Party.

After a year, not having much interest in biology he left Montepellier to go to Paris, hoping to continue his university studies. He took courses in the faculty of philosophy at the Sorbonne and, in the Marxist environment of the French capital, he collaborated with "Humanite", writing some articles on the situation in Albania. Here he had the opportunity to study Marx's "Capital" and Engels' "Anti-Duhring." For these reasons in November of 1933 he was denied his scholarship by the government of Zog.

For economic reasons and with the help of some Albanian friends he went to Brussels, where he found a job in the Albanian Consulate. He attended university courses in the faculty of law; here he broadened and enriched his knowledge of Marxist-Leninist literature. Once again he was dismissed, because the consul discovered through Zog's agents that his employee had deposited in his office revolutionary materials and books. In that period he studied in France and worked in Belgium, also attending the University of Brussels.

Being without work and without money, he could not finish his university studies, so Enver Hoxha in the summer of 1936 finally returned to Albania. He spent a brief period of time in the city of his birth, he made contact with Albanian communists, and in July of 1936 he met Al Kelmendi, an Albanian communist. He had contacts with the communist group of Korca, which was the most solid and organized of the movement. He returned to Korca as a teacher in the French high school.

On April 7, 1939, Italy occupied Albania.

For his openly revolutionary and anti-fascist ideas he was dismissed. He left Korca, went to Tirana, the Albanian capital, on November 29, 1939. Here he worked part-time in the government grammar school for a short time as a teacher, being again dismissed because he was by now known as a communist. With the help of some friends he opened a small shop, which became a cover for his clandestine activity. He came into contact with many members of the varied communist groups, that of Scutari, that of the youth of Korca, etc. In collaboration with the communist activists of these groups he worked actively for the unification of the scattered communist movement, with the firm intention to create a single communist party.

On November 8, 1941, the Communist Party of Albania was founded and Enver Hoxha, who had a played an important and decisive role, was chosen one of 7 members of the provisional Central Committee. According to the decision of the meeting, no one was chosen secretary or president. Soon Enver Hoxha showed himself as the true leader of the party. He carried on an intense activity for the organization of the party in Tirana and in the various cities and regions of Albania.

He was the principle inspirer of the political life of the party, which consisted in organizing the armed struggle by means of a united front of all forces, independent of their political and ideological orientation. In September of 1942 at the Conference of Pesa the National Front of Liberation was formed.

Condemned to death in absentia by a fascist tribunal, Enver Hoxha lived and worked illegally in Tirana and in the various regions of the country.

In March of 1943 the first National Conference of the C.P.A. elected him formally as General Secretary of the Party, a position that he held until his death. He founded the Army of National Liberation which, in the spring of 1944 had about 70 thousand men.

The role of Enver Hoxha as a political and military figure was very important and perhaps fundamental. The role that Enver Hoxha played in the organization of the new political system was also fundamental. Aware of the fact that Albania in the post-war period could no longer be a feudal dominion of the bourgeoisie, nor a colony of the imperialist powers, Enver Hoxha in the party inspired the creation of embryos of the new political power: the National Councils of Liberation.

In May of 1944 the Anti-Fascist Congress of Permet chose Enver Hoxha as president of the National Anti-Fascist Committee of Liberation, which was at that epoch the only legislative organ of the Albanian State, with the attributes of a provisional government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army. After 4 months, in view of the coming liberation of the country, the Committee was transformed into a Provisional Democratic Government and Enver Hoxha became the first head of government of the new Albania.

After liberation, which was the exclusive achievement of the Army of Albanian Liberation itself, Enver Hoxha began a new phase in the fight for Albania to rise again on the path of socialism. In March of 1946 the Constituent Assembly, chosen in the elections of December 1945, proclaimed Albania a Peoples Republic and nominated Enver Hoxha as Prime Minister, the office that he held until 1954.

In August of that same year Enver Hoxha participated in the Peace Conference in Paris as head of the Albanian delegation, defending brilliantly the right of his people to be considered a member of the anti-fascist coalition, opposing the territorial claims of Greece.

The period of 1947-1948 was marked by the firm and determined attitude of Enver Hoxha to prevent the realization of the intentions of Tito: to transform Albania into a Yugoslav republic. The distrust of Enver Hoxha towards the Yugoslav leaders and towards Tito had its origin during the war and developed in the post-war period. As the relationships between the two states grew, so did Enver Hoxha's doubts about Yugoslavia's real policies. These doubts were fed by the way in which the economic relationships between the two countries were conducted, and by the ever stronger tendency of Yugoslavia to make Albania into a satellite state. Above all, the national problem, with the lack of self-determination for Kosova promised by Tito but never realized, fed Enver Hoxha's doubts about the Yugoslav leaders.

The 1950s were years of the first, most difficult steps for Albania towards economic, social and cultural development. To appraise correctly and objectively this experience of almost fifty years, to comprehend the vastness of the political, economic, social and cultural transformation that was realized, one must take into account the enormous backwardness that Albania had inherited from the past.

A country with a completely agricultural economy, with a primitive agriculture marked by feudal economic relationships, almost totally lacking in industry, with a very low level of education: 80-85% of the population was illiterate; a life expectancy that did not reach 40 years; this was Albania before the war. To all that must be added the human casualties, 28 thousand fallen out of 800 thousand inhabitants and the destruction of the war.

Enver Hoxha as leader of the C.P.A. and as head of government played an important role in what was revealed as a still bloodier struggle than the war, for the revival of Albania.

The politics of the Party of Labor - called that after the first congress of November, 1948 - had three fundamental orientations: industrialization, the development of agriculture through the formation of cooperatives, and a program for the development of education and culture. Enver Hoxha was the inspirer and author of the work that was carried out in those years, as leader of the Party of Labor. With great sacrifices, with enormous popular enthusiasm and also with aid of the socialist countries - the Soviet Union in the 1950s and for a certain period afterwards also China - Albania was transformed into a advanced country, very far from the level inherited from the past, and this was already an excellent progress.

Big industrial complexes, thermo and hydroelectric power plants were built, swamps, embankments and rivers were reclaimed, entirely new cities were built from nothing. A very widespread system of elementary and middle schools were developed that assured the education of all children; the whole country was electrified. Enver Hoxha knew very well that Albania was not heaven on earth, that it was still very far from the more advanced countries of Europe.

The last fifty years were marked by increasing differences with the Soviet leaders.

The Party of Labor of Albania and Enver Hoxha personally had many reservations about the new course officially applied by Khrushchev after the XXth Congress of the C.P.S.U. For Enver Hoxha there was not only the question of Stalin, but above all the policy toward the U.S.A. and world imperialism, and still more the hegemonic tendencies of the new U.S.S.R, towards the socialist countries.

Enver Hoxha, in the contacts he had with Khrushchev, presented his reservations on different occasions: in Moscow in December of 1956, April 1957, January 1960, and also in Tirana in May of 1959. Upon his arrival at the Conference of the 81 Fraternal Parties held in Moscow on November 16, 1960, Enver Hoxha in a courageous speech made public his reservations and his accusations regarding the new Soviet course. This act also marked the official break between Albania and the U.S.S.R. From that moment Enver Hoxha, supported for a brief period of time by the Chinese, become the unique heroic fighter against modern revisionism.

For all his life he defended the theory and the principles in which he believed, Marxism-Leninism. He rejected every deviation from the revolutionary spirit of this theory. Yugoslav, Soviet, Chinese, Eurocommunist, all were for him the Trojan horse in the international communist and workers movement. Enver Hoxha wanted to defend the victories of the socialism in Albania and the very independence of the country.

In the 1970s, new fronts of struggle were opened, all those inside the Party and the State who were against socialism were unmasked.

Enver Hoxha suffered a heart attack in 1973, and although he was able to recover fairly well, he could no longer devote the maximum of his being to this new struggle. In fact, from that moment on the activity of Enver Hoxha in the Party and he in the State tended more and more to decrease. There began on the part of the enemies infiltrated into the Party and the State the work of methodical, systematic destruction of all that had been realized on the road to socialism in Albania.

From the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s Enver Hoxha began a period of intense theoretical activity. All his experience, all his life, from an activist to a communist leader, is contained in the various volumes he has written. Among these are:

This is only a part of his intense theoretical activity by which Enver Hoxha has enriched the universal fund of the experience of the theory to which he devoted all his life, Marxism-Leninism.

In the 1980s Enver Hoxha's state of health worsened, he suffered from diabetes and in 1983 he was stricken with a cerebral ischemia, and again in 1984.

On April 9, 1985, he suffered a cardiac arrest; the doctors were able to revive his heart, but he was deprived of consciousness. On April 11, 1985, Enver Hoxha died.

His death was felt by the people as a great loss. There was nationally a sincere and heartfelt grief. The Albanian people loved and adored him. Enver Hoxha in his period of activity of fifty years had given the Albanian people freedom and national dignity, he had brought his people from the darkness of the feudalism towards a society, which, although not ideal, was more just and more advanced. He had given his people an ideal for which it was worthy to fight, to sacrifice, oneself, to live for. Enver Hoxha succeeded in giving to his people all that they do not have any more. He gave the world Marxist-Leninist movement the clarity of the development of the class struggle, from the October Revolution until today.

Tirana, 1995
Tom Kastrioti

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