The Rise and Fall of the Yugoslav-Soviet Alliance, 1945-1948
This essay discusses the Yugoslav-Soviet relations from the end of the Second World War until early 1948, when Stalin expelled Tito from the international communist movement. The primary focus is on the interaction of Moscow and Belgrade’s policies towards Albania, which until the middle of 1947 revealed the strength of the Yugoslav-Soviet relationship. Likewise, Stalin chose Albania to be the main frontline of the conflict when he turned against Tito. The demise of the Yugoslav-Soviet alliance, however, was not caused by the competition between Tito and Stalin for influence in Albania. Although Belgrade placed Moscow in the centre of its foreign policy by seeking the latter’s approval and support for its expansionism, Kremlin’s policies were dictated by considerations far greater than the bilateral ties between the two countries. When Soviet policy makers became convinced that the American commitment to Western Europe was permanent in the wake of the Marshall Plan, Kremlin decided to Stalinize the nascent communist bloc. In view of its popularity at home and assertiveness abroad, the Titoist regime was bound to be the primary victim of the Stalinization drive.