A Cold War Dictator Built 173,000 Concrete Bunkers – Now Light Has Been Cast On Their Dark History

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Image: Jeroenvrp

There was a key difference to this more defensive strategy, however. Whereas the partisans during World War Two had struck out from the mountains, engaging in guerrilla incursions to fight back against the occupiers, that wouldn’t work here. Hoxha understood that the lowlands of the country were key to keeping Albania’s sovereignty intact.

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Image: Elian Stefa, Gyler Mydyti

And so the bunkers were introduced. They were built in every conceivable part of Albania, moreover. Some were hewn into the rocks of the mountains. Others were built in graveyards and even in the grounds of hotels. More still were built on the streets of villages and towns. But it wasn’t soldiers who were expected to clamber into these positions and fight to the last bullet.

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