Dajč, Haris

Balkan Pact 1953 and Yugoslavia

Balkan pact signed by Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey shortly before Stalin’s death on 5th March 1953 was among the biggest achievements of NATO in the first years of the Cold war. A year after Greece and Turkey had joined NATO, Yugoslavia entered the pact with two new NATO member states. NATO had the same strategic challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean like in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. The entrance of Greece and Turkey was an equal success as the presence of Denmark and Norway since 1949.

Greece was one of the most important members of NATO: the Greek civil war was over in 1949 and country was dominated by the communist ideology with a very strong pro Soviet mind-set. After the breach between Stalin and Tito, the Yugoslav foreign policy was inconsistent: from sponsoring Greek partisans to abandoning and betraying Marcos and Greek communists.

Yugoslav foreign policy in the first years of the 50s was firstly marked by the confrontation with USSR, but latter with closer relations to USSR that would lead to failure of the Balkan pact. Involvement of Yugoslavia in Balkan pact and possible connection with NATO was an illusion and the result of cold relations between two communist leaderships of Yugoslavia and the USSR.

For NATO, the southeast of Europe was equally important as the northeast because of the physical distance from the USSR. That is the reason why Yugoslav situation, to some extent, is comparable with Finland (especially after Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948). The research will be based on unpublished sources from the National Archives in London, which will give an input on relation of western intelligence services towards Yugoslavia and towards Balkan pact and its founding states. Yugoslavia was showing false signs of approaching West alliance and pursuing anti Soviet policies. That politic was also a result of poverty and economic situation in which material help from the West was essential. The events of 1953 in GDR and of 1956 in Poland and Hungary confirmed the Yugoslav pro-Soviet orientation.

Wednesday 24 October 16:45-18:45 Panels II, Panel 4 Between East and West during the Cold War (Auditorium II)