Enver Halil Hoxha ; 16 October 1908 – 11 April 1985) was an Albanian communist politician who served as the head of state of Albania from 1944 until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania. He was chairman of the Democratic Front of Albania and commander-in-chief of the armed forces from 1944 until his death. He served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Albania from 1944 to 1954 and at various times served as foreign minister and defence minister as well.
Born in Gjirokastër in 1908, Hoxha became a teacher in grammar school in 1936. Following Italy's invasion of Albania, he entered into the Party of Labour of Albania at its creation in 1941. Hoxha was elected First Secretary in March 1943 at the age of 34. The Yugoslav Partisans assisted the Albanians. Less than two years after the liberation of the country, the monarchy was abolished, King Zog was deposed and Hoxha rose to power as the head of state of Albania.
During his 40-year-rule, he focused on rebuilding the country, which was left in ruins after World War II, building Albania's first railway line, raising the adult literacy rate from 5% to 98%, and leading Albania towards becoming agriculturally self-sufficient. However, detractors criticize him for a series of political repressions which included the establishment and use of forced labor camps, extrajudicial killings and executions that targeted and eliminated anti-communists, a large amount of which was carried out by the Sigurimi secret police.
Hoxha's government was characterized by his proclaimed firm adherence to anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism from the mid-1970s onwards. After his break with Maoism in the 1976–1978 period, numerous Maoist parties around the world declared themselves Hoxhaist. The International Conference of Marxist–Leninist Parties and Organizations (Unity & Struggle) is the best known association of these parties today.