This chapter focuses on Enver Hoxha’s more than four decades of dictatorship in Albania. Hoxha lived a complex life. He was a cultured man who studied in France, wore dapper suits, knew history, and enjoyed literature. On the other hand, he was a paranoid and brutal dictator with a ravenous appetite for power who eliminated opponents real and perceived. He created enemies, distrusted friends, and ruled Albania with a mix of cruelty and charm. This chapter chronicles Hoxha’s rise to power in 1944 and examines his repressive measures as leader of Albania, along with his foreign policy and his attempt to eliminate his successor, Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu. Hoxha died in April 1985 after suffering a second heart attack, marking the end of his oppressive regime.
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