Spiro Moisiu as Army Chief of Staff
Kavajë, Ottoman Empire
Spiro Moisiu was born in 1900 in Kavajë, to Theodori Moisiu, an educated merchant fluent in several languages and Ana Stavri. Spiro's father came from the well-known Moisiu family of Kavajë which had roots in the city as far back as the 16th century. He was a close relative of the famous actor Aleksandër Moisiu. Spiro's grandfather Gregor and Aleksandër's grandfather Kostandin were brothers and the sons of Themistokli Moisiu. Theodori was killed in 1913 by the rebels who opposed the Albanian government of Ismail Qemali. This left a young Spiro to be raised by his mother.
After finishing the elementary school in Kavajë and Durrës he was sent to complete his education in a college in Vienna, Austria. He returned from Austria in 1919 and after following a military course directed by German and Austrian instructors in Tirana graduated as lieutenant. In 1920, as a member of the Albanian governmental forces, Spiro was appointed in the protection forces of the Congress of Lushnje. Later that year he was appointed as a chief of staff of Albanian government brigade fighting against Serb forces in the Martanesh area. During the uprising of June 1924, he supported the revolutionary forces led by Fan Noli. In December 1924, when Ahmet Zogu forces returned to Albania supported by Yugoslav forces, he fought against him in the Battle of Tujan. After Ahmet Zogu returned to power, Spiro Moisiu did not flee like the majority of his fellow soldiers but remained in Albania profiting from the amnesty that Zogu gave to most of those who had participated in the uprising.
Military service under the Zog Monarchy
Admitting his excellent capacities Zogu reintegrated Spiro Moisiu in the Albanian governmental forces. His military career was developed further when he finished in 1929-30 with excellent results the military school of "Officers perfectionism" in Tirana under the direction of Italian instructors. After finishing first on his course among 43 other officers he was appointed as captain. During the Zog monarchy he served in different cities, while during the anti-governmental Insurrection of Fier in 1935, he maintained his loyalty to king Zog fighting against the mutineers. During 1937-38 he finished again with excellent results the studies in military school for high officers in Tirana and was graduated as major.
Military service in World War II
In April 1939 during the Italian fascist aggression he was the commander of border forces in the Shkodër region. He organised the forces at his disposal to make a stand in Shëngjin. Seeing the superiority of Italian forces and not wanting his forces to surrender to Italians, Spiro along with his men exiled to Yugoslavia and remained there until the beginning of 1940.
Accepting an invitation for his reinstatement into the Albanian governmental forces, Moisiu returned to Albania and in the end of 1940 while serving as the commander of Tomorri battalion he was sent to the Italian-Greek front. Spiro did not want to fight against the Greeks and along with other Albanian major Prenk Previsi withdrew his men from the front lines and induced many Albanians to desertion. This caused him to be deported to a military post in Laç where he was kept under strict surveillance until the Italian High Military Court condemned him with the death penalty for desertion from the front lines. This condemnation was later changed in only his dismissal from military service because the Italians feared a mutiny of the Albanian soldiers who were still under Italian command.
Major General of the National Liberation Army
After his retirement from military service he was sent to the Berat region. He was there contacted by communists who on July 1943 proposed him to be the General Commander of Albanian National Liberation Army. He had the merit of turning the dispersed and not so organized Albanian resistance forces into a regular army. Under his military leadership the Albanian National Liberation Army was able to withstand two major offensives of Germans in winter 1943-44 and in June 1944 while in the same time kept them under constant attacks, to win the war with the opponents of Balli Kombëtar, Legaliteti and other nationalist forces who opposed the Albanian National Liberation Army and in the end to liberate the country on November 29, 1944 being the only country in Europe to have done so without the participation of Allied forces.
After World War II
He opposed the model proposed by Yugoslavs for the reorganization of the Albanian Army, preferring Soviet instructors sustaining that the Yugoslav instructors were themselves incapable of such a duty. Following his idea he sent many Albanian officers in the URSS military academies in order to create a new generation of Albanian officers.
During a trial in 1946 one of the defendants sustained that they had the support of Spiro Moisiu in a possible coup d'état. This led to his discharge from his active duty and military service while he was only 46 years old. Spiro Moisiu was married to Aspasi Druga from the reputable Druga family of Kavajë. The couple had three children Alfred, Jolanda and Arqile.
- "Gjeneral Spiro Moisiu by Vangjel Kasapi Published in 2000, Shtëpia Botuese e Ushtrisë (Tiranë)".