1968: The Prague Spring and the Albanian ‘Castle’
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This chapter argues that the Albanian communist leadership’s denunciation of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 and its decision to formally withdraw Albania from the Warsaw Pact, was not so much an act of political courage by Enver Hoxha, but more a piece of political theatre. Lalaj provides two main reasons why the liberalising reforms in Prague did not penetrate this Balkan corner. One was the traditional isolationist policy of the Albanians, which the communists had perfected by the 1960s. Second was that in Tirana a series of party-sponsored ‘popular’ movements, some inspired by Mao’s Cultural Revolution, were at their peak. It seems that Hoxha was motivated by the vision of a society where everyone controls each other and the party controls everyone.