The National Movement within the Albanian Diaspora in 1919-1920
Keywords:World War I , Albanian Diaspora, Paris Peace Conference, Leauge of Nations, Immigration Societies, Balkans
This article examines the importance of Albanian émigré societies as active supporters of Albania’s membership in the League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference, and their role in the establishment of the modern state of Albania. Albanian immigration societies such as Vatra (the Pan-Albanian Federation of America) as well as the Society of Albanians of Romania were critical actors in the efforts to advance the cause of their homeland during and after World War I. This article analyzes the migrant networks that operated during this period by considering the work of local and foreign representatives of these societies, such as Fan S. Noli (one of the key figures being discussed in this article), Luigj Bumçi, Dr.Mihal Turtulli, Mehmed Konica, and Edith Durham. It illustrates how these figures played an intricate role in Albania's admission process to the League of Nations via their lobbying in the European chancelleries, gradually changing the Great Powers’ attitude towards the Albanian candidacy. Partly relying on a novel investigation of documents from the Albanian Central State Archive that pertain to the activity of the representatives of Pan-Albanian Federation Vatra in the Parliament of Great Britain, this article will clarify the postponement of the decision of the Albanian issue as part of the broader ‘Adriatic question’ from the Peace Conference to the proceedings of the League of Nations. As a result of the activity of the representatives and delegates of these societies, Albania was admitted to the League of Nations on 17 December 1920 without defined boundaries, constituting a special case in the history of the League of Nations.
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