Spyridon Sfetas

Aristotle University


From Ankara to Bled

Marshal Tito’s Visit to Greece (June 1954) and the Formation of the Balkan Alliance

Abstract: Tito’s visit to Greece contributed to the Balkan Pact’s transformation into a military alliance. Despite the establishment of Soviet-Yugoslav diplomatic relations in 1953, the Soviet Union made no political move towards normalizing bilateral relations. For security reasons Tito visited Athens (June 1954) to promote Yugoslavia’s military cooperation with Greece and Turkey without ruling out Yugoslavia’s accession to NATO. But the Soviet leadership, fearing Yugoslavia’s involvement in western defence mechanisms, sent the message to Belgrade that it was ready to recognise Stalin’s blunders towards Yugoslavia. Thus, Tito applied a policy of equidistance between East and West and refused to link up the Balkan Alliance with NATO.

Keywords: Yugoslavia, Greece, Balkan Pact, NATO, Turkey, Soviet Union, Tito’ vist to Athens, Bulgarian attitude