Marenglen Kasmi comes to the book fair with a new publication about Prince Wied

2023-11-17 10:52:54Histori SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

In the multitude of publications presented at this year's fair, a new publication entitled "Wilhelm zu Wied and Albania, March-September 1914", authored by historian Marenglen Kasmi, stands out.

Prince Wied continues to remain an enigmatic figure in Albanian and world historiography. In history texts during the period 1944-1990, he was mentioned very briefly, if not at all. His six-month rule of Albania in 1914, according to the decisions taken at the London Conference, was reflected as an injustice done to Albania by the Great Powers of that time. After the 1990s, Wied became better known to the Albanian reader, mainly from the memoirs written by his foreign assistants.

The newly published book of prof. Kasmit fulfills this dimension. The book begins with an exhaustive study, where new facts from archives and German literature are brought not only about Wied as a person, but also about the period of his stay in Albania. It deals with the reasons for the election of Wied as the ruler of Albania, his relations with Esat Pasha, the uprising of Central Albania, the causes of the failure of Wied's government in Albania, up to Wied's problems with justice after World War I etc.

In the second chapter, which is also the most important part of this publication, there are several dozens of articles from the German press of the time, which prof. Kasmi has extracted them from the German federal archive in Berlin-Lichterfelde. It is about two voluminous files, with hundreds of articles from the German press of the time, which only talk about Albania in the years 1913-1915. Even the archivists, during the processing of the documentation - according to the writing, the processing must have been done somewhere around the 1920s - had taken care to arrange the articles chronologically, day by day.

German journalists wrote from Durrës and Vlora about the situation in Albania in the years 1913-1914, when the Albanians were waiting for Prince Wilhelm zu Wied, who the Great Powers had appointed as the head of their new state. This event was quite intriguing for German readers. A German prince, although a little lost from the meal, was being sent as ruler to a completely unheard of country, like Albania. So, all the German newspapers took care to send their reporters to this unknown and undeveloped country. On the other hand, the announcements coming from Albania were also important for the German politics of the time. It should not be forgotten that we are in a period where the press still guided policy-making, although it is difficult to assess the extent of its influence in this process.

The historical value of this documentation is very great. It contains assessments of the general situation of Albania, after the Declaration of Independence, the political, economic, social and cultural problems that the country has, its relations with neighboring countries. Furthermore, they report in real time on important events, reflecting the point of view of historical characters, such as Ismail Qemali, Esat Pasha Toptani, Turhan Pasha, etc. Of course Prince Wied was in the center of attention.

Until now, as documentation of this nature for the history of Albania in the early 20th century, we have only known the Albanian Correspondence of Leo Freundlich, prepared for publication in 2012 in the German language by the late researcher, Robert Elsie.

Compared to the Albanian Correspondence which, as we said, is mainly based on the Austro-Hungarian press, but also on other sources that Leo Freundlich does not mention, the German press not only completes the documentation of this period, but comes in an even more accurate form. full. It covers with notifications a period of time of two years, November 1913 - November 1915, while the Albanian Correspondence has reflected a period of something more than a year, July 1913 - August 1914. Also, it should be noted that, since the German government did not have direct interests in Albania, the German press was able to act more independently and write more uninfluenced, which perhaps cannot be said about the Austro-Hungarian or even the Italian press, knowing the interests of these countries in Albania and beyond across the Balkans. If we compare our two sources, it is easy to see that, while the Albanian Correspondence mainly focuses only on the description of the events, the German press pays special attention to their analysis as well.

In the introduction to the book, the author states that "we can say without hesitation that these writings of the German press of the time constitute the most complete documentation for the history of Albania in the years 1913 - 1915. Of course, these writings are not about scientific studies, but for serious journalism, which takes care to make analyzes as stable and realistic as possible. To prove the reliability of this information, referring to the main events that happened in this period, such as the arrest of Esat Pasha by Prince Wied, the uprising of Central Albania, etc., we have also compared them with the archival sources of the Political Archive of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin [Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts]. The compatibility of the information is quite large".
The retelling of Prince Wied's reflections on Albania, in the fourth chapter of this publication, helps the reader to create a more complete historical picture of this period. The Albanian reader has been familiar with these reflections before, but mainly with translations from the English language. The special feature of this edition is that it brings them for the first time complete and translated from the original in German, printed from a manuscript.

In the last chapter, the memoirs of the second secretary in the German diplomatic service, Rudolf Nadolny, are published for the first time in the Albanian language. On April 29, 1914, the German Foreign Ministry decided to open a Consulate General in the form of a Diplomatic Agency under the government of Prince Wied. Since it was not yet known whether Wied and his government would eventually stay in Durrës, the full name of this short-lived representation was "Diplomatic Agency and Consulate General for Albania". The agency immediately began its activity and was temporarily headed by Nadolny. When Wied arrived in Albania, Nadolny was the only representative of the German diplomatic service who was with him. Nadolny's memoirs shed an interesting light on the events that took place. Further, the author writes that "the comparison we made of his memories with the official reports he sent from Durrës to Berlin throughout 1914, documentation found in the Political Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, classifies them without hesitation as a valuable and reliable historical source".

Finally, we can say without hesitation that with this publication, prof. Kasmi has made a great contribution to the historical illumination of this important period of the Albanian state, bringing the reader one step closer to the historical truth.