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Enver Hoxha (1908—1985) Albanian statesman


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Mehmet Shehu

(b. 1913)

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(b. 1913; d. Tirana, c.19 Dec. 1981)

Albanian; Minister of the Interior 1948–74, Minister of War 1974–80 Shehu was the son of prosperous Muslim parents. He was educated at the American school in Tirana then at an Italian military college, from which he was expelled for Communist activities. He fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. In 1942 he became military commander of the Albanian National Liberation Army. After training at the Military Academy in Moscow, Shehu became Chief of Staff of the Albanian army in 1946. His fortunes slumped during the ascendancy of the pro-Yugoslav faction of the Albanian Party but picked up after the Tito-Stalin split in June 1948, when he replaced Koçi Xoxe as Minister of the Interior. He was Prime Minister from 1954. In 1974 to 1980 he was Minister of War, conducting a purge of the officer corps. In 1981 Hoxa made it clear that Ramiz Alia, not Shehu, was to be his successor. In December 1981 Shehu committed suicide in mysterious circumstances. It was rumoured that he had been murdered at a meeting of the Albanian Politburo. The Albanian leader, Enver Hoxha denounced Shehu as an agent of the British, Yugoslav, US, and Soviet intelligence services. Over the next year his family and supporters were purged.

Subjects: Social sciencesPolitics

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