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The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (commonly referred to as Yugoslavia) is a socialist nation in southeastern Europe. It is a multiethnic federation made up of seven socialist republics and two autonomous provinces. It was initially part of the Eastern Bloc until 1948, at which point it allied with the People's Republic of France and Greece to form the Alliance of Independent Leftist Republics. It annexed the neighbouring nation of Albania following the death of Enver Hoxha in 1948.
The end of the war
Yugoslavia had been occupied by the Axis powers from 1941. Communist resistance was divided between the royalist Chetniks and the Communist Partisans; the Partisans, commanded by Josef Broz Tito, proved to be far more mobile and successful. They had liberated Serbia by 1944 and by 1945 had lifted Axis control from the entire country. Tito's phenomenal popularity for his wartime resistance caused him to be elected by referendum to form a new Communist state, deposing the royal family. The new nation was initially supported by the USSR but Tito strained Josef Stalin's support by 'pushing the line' several times, including shooting down US aircraft passing over Yugoslav airspace and actively supporting Greek Communists. A key point of stress was Tito pushing for union with Bulgaria.
However, Stalin was supportive of the Yugoslavian annexation of Albania. He had indicated approval of the nation absorbing the smaller state, but the main difficulty came with the anti-Yugoslavian Enver Hoxha. The issue was conveniently cleared up when Hoxha died of a massive stroke following a late night spent toasting the inauguration of the People's Republic of France on December 18th 1946. The pro-Yugoslav Koci Xoxe replaced him.
The Tito-Stalin splitIn September 1947 Cominform was founded, an organisation for international Communist dialogue (and monitoring by the Soviet Union). Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union publicly supported Tito as a model socialist, even going so far as to chastise the other Communist Parties in Cominform for failing to follow the Yugoslav example. In the same way, France was used as an example to the Italian Communist Party, Stalin now tacitly supporting expanding Communism in the West. However, both France, Italy and Greece were suffering criticism from Stalin and the CPSU about their independence and refusal to follow Moscow's line. Yugoslavia received particularly heavy fire for putting into motion plans to annex Albania by 1949. Stalin moderately approved of a southern Balkan federation between Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, as Tito was pushing for, but was angered at how the plans were being pushed through without consulting the Soviet Union. Tensions rose between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union and in early 1948 there was frequent correspondence between the Soviet and Yugoslav Communist Parties decrying and rebutting one another. This came to a head on June 28th, when the Soviet Union finally expelled Yugoslavia from Cominform. Red France also withdrew from the meeting on that date in protest, and the following day, Greece and Albania withdrew too.
This formed the embryo of what was to become the Alliance of Independent Leftist Republics: France, Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania - the latter of which was hurriedly annexed into Yugoslavia on November 8th as the seventh federal republic. The immediate aftermath of the event was a large covert war between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and its rebel kin, along with the threat of invasion. However, the efficient partisans managed to destroy most resistance, along with an attempt of a pro-Stalinist coup. Greece suffered somewhat more so but Yugoslav assistance helped to trim Soviet attempts; Red France had only a couple of incidents. Mass repression in both Yugoslavia allies and Soviet Europe followed, including the establishment of the Goli otok prison island.
In the face of outward pressure and the need to stabilise their economies, the three socialist nations turned toward one another for support - both out of mutual opposition to Stalin, and mutual desire to remain independent of Western involvement. The result was for three to gravitate together and, eventually, meet in Sarajevo to bring into existence the Alliance of Independent Leftist Republics.