The bunkers were built during the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, who ruled over the country from 1944 until his death in 1985. The creation of the bunkers began in the 1960s, as Hoxha’s regime moved more and more into the realms of isolationism. And these were to be the staging points for his so-called people’s war.
Hoxha believed, in fact, that Albania was under constant threat of invasion. He was a hardline Stalinist and in the 1960s began to cut contact with other communist countries that he believed were too moderate. He was wholeheartedly opposed to Josip Tito’s regime in Yugoslavia, for example. As well as that, Albania remained officially at war with its neighbor Greece for the entirety of Hoxha’s near five decades in charge.
Hoxha’s “bunkerization” of Albania was an attempt to defend it from all of these perceived external threats. Rather than creating a professional military, Hoxha decided to rely on the people of his country to defend their own land. It was a strategy that he had employed during Albania’s occupation by Italian and German forces during World War Two.