The BALLI KOMBëTAR (literally National Front), known as BALLI, was
an Albanian anti-communist resistance movement and a political
organization established in November 1942. It was led by Ali Këlcyra
Midhat Frashëri and was formed by members from the landowning
elite, liberal nationalists opposed to communism and other sectors of
society in Albania. The motto of the
Balli Kombëtar was:
"Shqipëria Shqiptarëve, Vdekje Tradhëtarëvet" (Albania for the
Albanians, Death to the Traitors). Eventually the Balli Kombëtar
joined the Nazi established puppet government and fought as an ally
against anti-fascist guerrilla groups.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Albania
Kosovo and Macedonia
Montenegro and Sandžak region
* 2 Program
* 3 Aftermath
* 4 Legacy
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 Sources
The Italian Protectorate of Albania established by Italy in
With Italy on the brink of defeat in 1942, the Albanian National
Liberation Movement (LNC) and the
Balli Kombëtar organized a meeting
in the village of Mukje. The
Balli Kombëtar entered into a fragile
alliance with the communist-led LNC, and acted as a resistance group
against the Italians. Following the
Mukje Agreement , the vague
mutual tolerance that had existed between the Ballists and Communists
quickly evaporated.The Allies too could not guarantee that Kosovo
would be a part of Albania, because they stood for the restoration of
occupied nations under their borders as they existed prior to World
War II .
Despite their hatred of the Allies, the Ballists feared that an
Allied victory in the war might well result in Communist control of
Albania. Their lukewarm attitude towards the British was also
fostered by their desire to preserve the occupied united Albanian
state under the borders drawn by the Italians in 1941, for they
bitterly opposed and dreaded the loss of
Yugoslavia once again, and feared that the Allies in their support of
Greeks might prevent them from claiming
Chameria and deprive them
of their southern provinces of
Gjirokaster , the heartland
of their liberation movement. They regarded the Yugoslavs and the
Greeks as their real enemies.
Mukje Agreement immediately triggered a hostile reaction from the
Yugoslav representative in Albania, Svetozar Vukmanoviċ . He
denounced the agreement and put pressure on the LNC to repute it
immediately, and Yugoslav Communist leader Milovan Đilas
subsequently described the
Balli Kombëtar as "Albanian Fascists".
The Balli Kombëtar, which had fought against the Italians, were
threatened by the superior forces of the LNC and the Yugoslav
Partisans , who were backed by the Allies. In the autumn of 1943,
Nazi Germany occupied all of Albania after Italy was defeated. Fearing
reprisals from larger forces, the
Balli Kombëtar made a deal with the
Germans and formed a "neutral government" in
Tirana which continued
its war with the LNC and the Yugoslav Partisans.
Midhat Frashëri was the leader of the Balli Kombëtar.
Safet Butka , a hardline Albanian nationalist, tried at various times
to cooperate with the Communist-dominated Liberation Front. In
February 1943, he organized a meeting with Communist representatives
and an agreement for cooperation was reached in March 1943. He also
made another local agreement in August 1943 and was one of the
initiators and supporters of the Mukje agreement. The Albanian
Communists had demanded that
Kosovo and Metohija be ceded to Albania
after the war. The LANÇ met with the Ballists in August 1943,
agreeing upon the establishment of
Greater Albania . The agreement
was however short-lived. After the denouncement of the Mukje
agreement by Albanian communists, he feared a civil war between
Albanians and when asked on the matter, always stated that "the only
Albanian that I will kill will be myself." On his way home, he was
informed of the first clashes between Albanian partisans and the Balli
Kombëtar. Upon hearing such news, he killed himself on 19 September
1943 in the village of
Melçan , faithful to his word. In the south
of Albania, the rivalry between the Communists and the Balli Kombëtar
heated up. The Communists almost immediately repudiated the Mukaj
agreement, and fearing the British might open a second front in the
Balkans and lend their support to the Ballists, they issued orders
Balli Kombëtar be eliminated wherever it was found. These
factors contributed to members of the
Balli Kombëtar forming a strong
hatred for the Communists.
After forming the collaborator government, the Ballists pressed hard
against the Communists. They destroyed a fairly large Communist
partisan group southwest of Tirana. With the Grand Alliance
established, the Germans began losing the war. This also affected the
situation in Albania as the Germans could not supply the Ballists.
With the current situation favouring the Communists, the partisans
began a full-scale attack on the Balli Kombëtar. British liaison
officers in Albania noted that the Communists were using the arms they
received to fight fellow
Albanians far more than to harass the
Germans. The west noted that the Communists could not have won
without the supplies and armaments from the British, America and
Yugoslavia, and that the LNC were not afraid of murdering their own
KOSOVO AND MACEDONIA
Ballist forces enter
A large number of Serbs and Macedonians were also massacred across
western Macedonia as Ballist forces and the SS Skanderbeg division
fought the Yugoslav Partisans. The main centres of the Balli Kombëtar
in these regions were
Kosovska Mitrovica ,
Tetovo . It was
noted that the
Balli Kombëtar in these regions were more aggressive
than the Ballists of Albania. With the Germans driven out by the
Yugoslav Partisans, and the Albanian communists claiming victory in
Albania, Yugoslav leader
Josip Broz Tito ordered the collection of
Kosovo and the arrest of prominent Albanians. Ballist
The order was not well-received and, combined with the passions felt
about Kosovo, inflamed an insurrection. On 2 December 1944, Ballists
Drenica region attacked the Trepča mining complex and other
targets. Similarly in
Gostivar and Tetovo, the remaining
Ballists tried to remain in control of the region after the Yugoslav
Partisans announced victory. After the war, most Balli Kombëtar
leaders were either imprisoned, executed, or tortured due their
alliance with Axis forces. Although the insurrection was crushed, it
was not until 1947 that
Kosovo was fully reintegrated into Yugoslavia
MONTENEGRO AND SANDžAK REGION
Montenegro and the Sandžak were annexed into Albania in
1941. The cities included
Bijelo Polje , Tutin , Plav , Gusinje,
Ulcinj . Some of the Yugoslav Muslims that lived in these
regions sided with the Albanians. Akif Blyta, former mayor of Novi
Pazar and member of
Nexhip Draga 's party,
Džemail Koničanin and
Ballist forces under
Shaban Polluzha successfully repelled Chetnik
forces back from
Novi Pazar and crushed their stronghold in Banja .
Midhat Frashëri believed that Albanian provinces under the Ottoman
Empire were unfairly partitioned during
World War I amongst Yugoslavia
and Greece. After
World War II
World War II ,
Midhat Frashëri began advocating
Greater Albania . When
Midhat Frashëri formed the Balli
Kombëtar, it was based on his nationalist ideas and the old
Abdyl Frashëri ,
Ymer Prizreni and
Isa Boletini . The
Franz Nopcsa ,
Johann Georg von Hahn and
Milan Šufflay ,
helped strengthen the nationalists' cause. The Balli Kombëtar
Albanians were "Aryans of Illyrian heritage". This
helped gaining support by the Nazis.
The original objectives of
Balli Kombëtar were set out in 1942 in
the following ten-point program, also known as the “Decalogue”
The Decalogue states:
* We are fighting for the red and black flag, for the defence of the
rights of the Albanian people
* We are fighting for a democratic, ethnic and free Albania with a
* We are fighting for an Albania in which freedom of speech and
thought will prevail
* We are fighting for an Albania with a proper economic and social
balance so that there will be no more exploiters and exploited, that
is to say, so that no one will live at the expense of his fellow man,
so that there will be no farmers without enough land to live on, so
that there will be no blue and white collar workers without housing
and security, i.e. we are fighting for a stable Albania with a
thoroughly reformed economic system in accordance with the wishes and
needs of the Albanian people
* We are fighting for an Albania in which the suppressed talents of
all strata of the population will come to light, be supported and
flourish with the help of Albanian schooling
* We are fighting for an Albania in which all positive contributions
will be properly appreciated, independent of age, region or faith
* We are fighting to create an Albania run by people who have not
been compromised, by
Albanians who have done their utmost at every
time and under all conditions for the salvation and welfare of their
country, by competent and honest working men
* We are fighting for an Albania that, in a strict and exemplary
manner, will punish all anti-patriots, traitors, lackeys,
troublemakers, speculators and spies; for an Albania in which there
will be no place for hypocrites, sycophants, feudal oppressors and
anyone who hinders the development and progress of our renascent
* We are fighting to harmonize and unite the creative energies of
the nation, to create an intellectual and spiritual union of all
* We are fighting to mobilize all the vital forces of the nation
against the occupiers in order to realize the ideals of Balli
World War II
World War II ended, the
Balli Kombëtar were defeated by
Yugoslav and Albanian communists. The Ballists were so thoroughly
discredited by their collaboration with the Nazis that there was no
chance of them having a role in postwar Albania, though it took until
1945 to finish them off. Ironically, the Ballists' decision to work
with the Nazis brought about the one thing they had sought to prevent
– a Communist-dominated government.
Balli Kombëtar fighters fled
Balkans to Austria, the United States, Australia,
South America . The Ballists who did not escape were executed. An
organization was set up in exile.
In 1950, the
Balli Kombëtar (in-exile) was divided into two wings,
one extremist ("Agrarian") headed by
Abas Ermenji , and one moderate
("United") headed by
Ali Këlcyra .
Tetovo was once the largest
Balli Kombëtar base in Macedonia and
still has strong ties with the name. The Tetovo-based football club KF
Shkendija has a large support firm called the Ballistët. They are
known in the Macedonian media for their use of hardline nationalistic
rhetorics in football matches. The most notable Ballist leader in
Xhem Hasa from
Gostivar . A statue of him has been
erected in Simnica , just south of Gostivar, by local Albanians.
21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian)
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