Italy Sets Up Puppet Rule in Albanian City

Tuscaloosa News/April 9, 1939

II Duce Expected To Add Little Country To Empire Monday

Europe At A Glance

Tirana—Fascist conquerors impose Italian domination in Albania and move quickly to crush remaining opposition; King Zog flees to Greece to join queen and three-day-old in exile.

Rome—Provisional government established at Tirana to accept Italian rule; Mussolini reported planning to fly there Monday to proclaim Albania part of Italian empire.

Washington—Official quarters fear another European war crisis brewing; United States condemns Italian coup.

London—Alarmed Britain rushes to swing Rumania into defensive alliance; Chamberlain abandons Easter vacation to return for consultations with cabinet.

Berlin—Germany increases diplomatic pressure on Poland; declares British-Polish mutual assistance pact unfriendly act toward Reich; Hitler ponders in solitude his next move at Bavarian retreat.

Benito Mussolini’s modern Roman empire assumed domination over ancient, Moslem Albania Saturday in a Holy Week conquest that sent a fresh wave of war fright over the Western World.

The unexpected Fascist coup in the tiny kingdom which only a week ago had seemed to be a safe picturesque ward of II Duce appeared to many a sign that the Rome-Berlin axis was on the march toward bigger things.

New Crisis Feared

Official quarters in Washington feared another European war crisis this week. The United States condemned Italy’s action.

Alarmed by the swift Italian invasion, Great Britain rushed to get Romania into a stop-Hitler alliance.

France worried over the spreading tension in the Balkans and saw Bulgaria in a position to make demands against Greece with German and Italian backing.

Germany told Poland that she regarded as an unfriendly act the British-Polish defensive alliance, and was expected to apply pressure to get Danzig.

In speculation over Hitler-Mussolini plans there were differences as to whether they would strike soon or at all, where they would strike, and whether the blow would be a joint one.

There were hopes that a crisis might be averted. While Britain worked on her plan to bring Rumania and smaller Balkan states into a defensive bloc to give pause to the axis powers, Europe waited for a sign from Adolf Hitler as to what he would do next.

Der Fuehrer kept his council in the solitude he loves for planning his empire’s course. He was secluded in his hideaway teahouse on Kehlstein Mountain in the Bavarian Alps.

Cabinet Meets Today

Prime Minister Chamberlain, meanwhile, left Scotland for London, interrupting an Easter vacation for a special Sunday cabinet meeting.

Premier Mussolini was reported to be ready to fly to Tirana as a climax to the Albanian conquest. His son-in-law, Count Galeazzo Ciano, was in charge in the fallen capital of King Zog.

Zog himself had fled to Greece to join his Hungarian-American Queen Geraldine and his three-day old son in exile. The queen and baby were reported doing well after an exhausting ambulance flight over mountain roads from the Tirana royal palace to a Greek refuge.

At Warm Springs, Ga., President Roosevelt kept in touch with the State Department by telephone to hear the news from Europe’s capitals. He gave his approval to a statement by Secretary Hull that “the forcible and violent invasion of Albania is unquestionably an additional threat to the peace of the world.”

The Washington administration debated whether to call Italy’s attention to apparent violation of the Kellogg anti-war pact, which had been signed by both Italy and Albania.

The Italian army reached Tirana this morning and pushed further into the country to crush remaining opposition and complete the occupation, Fascists expected II Duce soon to proclaim Albania a part of the Italian empire and there were indications that he would invite King Vittorio Emmanuel to add “king of Albania” to his titles.

While diplomatic circles in Paris considered the Albanian coup gave Italy and Germany a direct frontier to support Bulgaria if she demanded Greek territory, they saw one hopeful sign for London and Paris.

Arab sources in Paris declared that Italy’s move against Moslem Albania would offset much of her recent anti-French and anti-British propaganda in Mohammedan parts of the British and French empires.

(Source: Google News,,4398720)