Josip Broz Tito (Cyrillic script: Јосип Броз Тито May 7, 1892 – May 4, 1980) was the leader of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1943 until his death in 1980. During World War II, Tito organized the anti-fascist resistance movement known as the Yugoslav Partisans. Later he was a founding member of Cominform, but resisted Soviet influence (see Titoism), and became one of the founders and promoters of the Non-Aligned Movement. He supported the creation of a Yugoslav nationality and identity as a Pan-Slavic replacement of the existing nationalities in Yugoslavia, and thus considered himself a Yugoslav. He was an ethnic Croat of mixed Croatian-Slovene ancestry, with his father a Croat and his mother Slovene.
In the autumn of 1913, he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. He was sent to a school for non-commissioned officers and become a sergeant. In May 1914, Broz won a silver medal at an army fencing competition in Budapest.
At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he was sent to Ruma. He was arrested for anti-war propaganda and imprisoned in the Petrovaradin fortress. In January 1915, he was sent to the Eastern Front in Galicia to fight against Russia. He distinguished himself as a capable soldier and was recommended for military decoration. On Easter March 25, 1915, while in Bukovina, he was seriously wounded and captured by the Russians.
Upon his return, Broz immediately joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. The CPY's influence on the political life of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was growing rapidly. In the 1920 elections the Communists won 59 seats in the parliament and became the third strongest party. Winning numerous local elections, they even gained a stronghold in the second-largest city of Zagreb, electing Svetozar Delić for mayor. The King's regime, however, would not tolerate the CPY and declared it illegal. During 1920 and 1921 all Communist-won mandates were nullified. Broz continued his work underground despite pressure on Communists from the government. As 1921 began he moved to Veliko Trojstvo near Bjelovar and found work as a machinist. In 1925, Broz moved to Kraljevica where he started working at a shipyard. He was elected as a union leader and a year later he led a shipyard strike. He was fired and moved to Belgrade, where he worked in a train coach factory in Smederevska Palanka. He was elected as Workers Commissary but was fired as soon as his CPY membership was revealed. Broz then moved to Zagreb, where he was appointed secretary of Metal Workers Union of Croatia. He became part of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1934, then based in Vienna, Austria, and adopted the code name "Tito".
In 1935, Tito traveled to the Soviet Union, working for a year in the Balkan section of Comintern. He was a member of the Soviet Communist Party and the Soviet secret police (NKVD). In 1936, the Comintern sent "Comrade Walter" (i.e. Tito) back to Yugoslavia to purge the Communist Party there. In 1937, Stalin had the Secretary-General of the CPY, Milan Gorkić, murdered in Moscow. The same year, Tito returned from the Soviet Union to Yugoslavia after being appointed there as Secretary-General of the still-outlawed CPY.
The terms of the armistice were extremely severe, and the Axis proceeded to dismember Yugoslavia. Germany occupied northern Slovenia, while retaining direct military administration over a rump Serbia and considerable influence over its newly created puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia, which extended over much of today's Croatia and contained all of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mussolini's Italy gained the remainder of Slovenia, Kosovo, and large chunks of the coastal Dalmatia region (along with nearly all its Adriatic islands). It also gained control over the newly created Montenegrin puppet state, and was granted the kingship in the Independent State of Croatia, though wielding little real power within it. Hungary dispatched the Hungarian Third Army to occupy Vojvodina in northern Serbia, and later forcibly annexed sections of Baranja, Bačka, Međimurje, and Prekmurje. Bulgaria, meanwhile, annexed nearly all of the modern-day Republic of Macedonia.
Tito's first responses to the German invasion of Yugoslavia were the founding of a Military Committee within the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party 10 April 1941 and issuing a the pamphlet on May 1 1941 calling on the people to unite in a battle against occupation. On July 4 1941, after Germany launched the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), Tito called a Central committee meeting which named him military commander and issued a call to arms. On the same day, Yugoslav Partisans formed the 1st Sisak Partisan Detachment, the first armed resistance unit in Europe (mostly consisting of Croats from the nearby city). Founded in the Brezovica forest near Sisak, Croatia, its creation marked the beginning of armed anti-Axis resistance in occupied Yugoslavia.
In the first period, Tito and the Partisans (promoting a pan-Yugoslav policy of tolerance) faced competition from the Serb-dominated Chetnik movement. Led by Draža Mihailović, the latter increasingly collaborated with the Axis occupation and lost its international recognition as a resistance force. After a brief initial period of cooperation, the two factions quickly started fighting against each other. Gradually, the Chetniks ended up primarily fighting the Partisans instead of the occupation forces, and started cooperating with the Axis in their struggle to destroy Tito's forces, receiving increasing amounts of logistical assistance (in particular, from Italy). The Partisans soon began a widespread and successful guerrilla campaign and started liberating areas of Yugoslav territory. Partisan activities provoked the Germans into "retaliation" against civilians. These retaliations resulted in mass murders (for each killed German soldier, 100 civilians were to be killed and for each wounded, 50). Despite this, liberated territories such as the "Republic of Užice" were formed and fiercely defended.
In these liberated territories, the Partisans organized People's Committees to act as civilian government. The Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ), which convened in Bihać on November 26 1942 and in Jajce on November 29 1943, was a representative body established by the resistance in which Tito played a leading role. In the two sessions, the resistance representatives established the basis for post-war organization of the country, deciding on a federation of the Yugoslav nations. In Jajce, Tito was named President of the National Committee of Liberation. On December 4 1943, while most of the country was still occupied by the Axis, Tito proclaimed a provisional democratic Yugoslav government.
However, with the growing possibility of an Allied invasion in the Balkans, the Axis began to divert more resources to the destruction of the Partisans. More specifically, the Germans planned and executed several massive anti-Partisan offensives with the aim of destroying the Partisan headquarters and mobile field hospital. The largest of these offensives were the Battle of Neretva (which included the Chetniks fighting alongside the Germans) and the Battle of Sutjeska (the Fourth and Fifth anti-Partisan offensives), involving nearly 200,000 troops. The Battle of Sutjeska in particular came very close to encircling and eliminating the resistance, however, the highly mobile Partisan formations managed to retreat beyond the reach of the Axis each time. The Germans therefore came close to capturing or killing Tito on at least three occasions: during the 1943 Battle of Neretva (Fall Weiss); during the subsequent Battle of Sutjeska (Fall Schwarz), in which he was wounded on June 9, and on May 25 1944, when he barely managed to evade the Germans after the Raid on Drvar (Operation Rösselsprung), an airborne assault outside his Drvar headquarters in Bosnia.
After Tito's Partisans stood up to these intense Axis attacks between January and June 1943, and the extent of Chetnik collaboration became evident, Allied leaders switched their support from them to the Partisans. King Peter II of Yugoslavia, American President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill joined Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin in officially recognizing Tito and the Partisans at the Tehran Conference. This resulted in Allied aid being parachuted behind Axis lines to assist the Partisans. On June 17 1944 on the Dalmatian island of Vis, the Treaty of Vis (Viški sporazum) was signed in an attempt to merge Tito's government (the AVNOJ) with the government in exile of King Peter II. This treaty was also known as the Tito-Šubašić Agreement. As the leader of the Yugoslav forces, Tito was now personally a target for the Axis forces in occupied Yugoslavia. The Partisans were supported directly by Allied airdrops to their headquarters, with Brigadier Fitzroy Maclean playing a significant role in the liaison missions. The RAF Balkan Air Force was formed in June 1944 to control operations that were mainly aimed at aiding his forces.
On 28 September 1944, the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) reported that Tito signed an agreement with the USSR allowing "temporary entry of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory" which allowed the Red Army to assist in operations in the northeastern areas of Yugoslavia. With their strategic right flank secured by the Allied advance, the Partisans prepared and executed a massive general offensive which succeeded in breaking through German lines and forcing a retreat beyond Yugoslav borders. After the Partisan victory and the end of hostilities in Europe, all external forces were ordered off Yugoslav territory.
On March 7 1945, the provisional government of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (Demokratska Federativna Jugoslavija, DFY) was assembled in Belgrade by Josip Broz Tito, while the provisional name allowed for either a republic or monarchy. This government was headed by Tito as provisional Yugoslav Prime Minister and included representatives from the royalist government-in-exile, among others Ivan Šubašić. In accordance with the agreement between resistance leaders and the government-in-exile, post-war elections were held to determine the form of government. In November 1945, Tito's pro-republican People's Front, led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, won the elections with an overwhelming majority. During the period, Tito evidently enjoyed massive popular support due to being generally viewed by the populace as the liberator of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav administration in the immediate post-war period managed to unite a country that had been severely affected by ultra-nationalist upheavals and war devastation, while successfully suppressing the nationalist sentiments of the various nations in favor of tolerance, and the common Yugoslav goal. After the overwhelming electoral victory, Tito was confirmed as the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DFY. The country was soon renamed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) (later finally renamed into Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, SFRY). On November 29 1945, King Peter II was formally deposed by the Yugoslav Constituent Assembly. The Assembly drafted a new republican constitution soon afterwards.
Yugoslavia organized an army from the Partisan movement, the Yugoslav People's Army (Jugoslavenska narodna armija, or JNA) which was, for a period, considered the fourth strongest in Europe. The State Security Administration (Uprava državne bezbednosti/sigurnosti/varnosti, UDBA) was also formed as the new secret police, along with a security agency, the Department of People's Security (Organ Zaštite Naroda (Armije), OZNA). Yugoslav intelligence was charged with imprisoning and bringing to trial large numbers of Nazi collaborators; controversially, this included Catholic clergymen due to the widespread involvement of Croatian Catholic clergy with the Ustaša regime. Draža Mihailović was found guilty of collaboration, high treason and war crimes and was subsequently executed by firing squad in July 1946.
In October 1946, in its first special session for 75 years, the Vatican excommunicated Tito and the Yugoslav government for sentencing Catholic archbishop Stepinac to 16 years in prison on charges of helping terrorists and of forcing conversion of Serbs to Catholicism. Stepinac received preferential treatment in recognition of his status and the sentence was soon shortened and reduced to house-imprisonment, with the option of emigration open to the archbishop. At the conclusion of the "Informbiro period", reforms rendered Yugoslavia considerably more religiously liberal than the Eastern Bloc states.
In the first post war years Tito was widely considered a communist leader very loyal to Moscow, indeed, he was often viewed as second only to Stalin in the Eastern Bloc. Yugoslav forces shot down American aircraft flying over Yugoslav territory, and relations with the West were strained. In fact, Stalin and Tito had an uneasy alliance from the start, with Stalin considering Tito too independent.
In 1948, motivated by the desire to create a strong independent economy, Tito became the first (and the only successful) socialist leader to defy Stalin's leadership in the COMINFORM; he was one of the few people to stand up to Stalin's demands for absolute loyalty. Stalin took it personally – for once, to no avail. "Stop sending people to kill me", Tito wrote. "If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send one to Moscow, and I won't have to send a second. The Yugoslav Communist Party was expelled from the association on June 28, 1948. This rift with the Soviet Union brought Tito much international recognition, but also triggered a period of instability often referred to as the Informbiro period. Tito's form of communism was labeled Titoism by Moscow, which encouraged purges against suspected "Titoites'" throughout the Communist bloc. The crisis nearly escalated into an armed conflict.
On June 26, 1950, the National Assembly supported a crucial bill written by Milovan Đilas and Tito about "self-management" (samoupravljanje): a type of independent socialism that experimented with profit sharing with workers in state-run enterprises. On January 13, 1953, they established that the law on self-management was the basis of the entire social order in Yugoslavia. Tito also succeeded Ivan Ribar as the President of Yugoslavia on January 14, 1953.
After Stalin's death Tito rejected the USSR's invitation for a visit to discuss normalization of relations between two nations. Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin visited Tito in Belgrade in 1955 and apologized for wrongdoings by Stalin's administration. Tito visited the USSR in 1956, which signaled to the world that animosity between Yugoslavia and USSR was easing. However, the relationship between the USSR and Yugoslavia would reach another low in the late 1960s.
Under Tito's leadership, Yugoslavia became a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1961, Tito co-founded the movement with Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, India's Jawaharlal Nehru, Indonesia's Sukarno and Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, in an action called The Initiative of Five (Tito, Nehru, Nasser, Sukarno, Nkrumah), thus establishing strong ties with third world countries. This move did much to improve Yugoslavia's diplomatic position.
On April 7, 1963, the country changed its official name to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Reforms encouraged private enterprise and greatly relaxed restrictions on freedom of speech and religious expression. In 1966 an agreement with the Vatican was signed according new freedom to the Yugoslav Roman Catholic Church, particularly to teach the catechism and open seminaries. Tito's new socialism met opposition from traditional communists culminating in conspiracy headed by Aleksandar Rankovic. In the same year Tito declared that Communists must henceforth chart Yugoslavia's course by the force of their arguments (implying a granting of freedom of discussion and an abandonment of dictatorship). The state security agency (UDBA) saw its power scaled back and its staff reduced to 5000.
On January 1, 1967, Yugoslavia was the first communist country to open its borders to all foreign visitors and abolish visa requirements. In the same year Tito became active in promoting a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. His plan called for Arabs to recognize State of Israel in exchange for territories Israel gained. Arabs rejected his land for peace concept.
In 1971, Tito was re-elected as President of Yugoslavia for the sixth time. In his speech in front of the Federal Assembly he introduced 20 sweeping constitutional amendments that would provide an updated framework on which the country would be based. The amendments provided for a collective presidency, a 22 member body consisting of elected representatives from six republics and two autonomous provinces. The body would have a single chairman of the presidency and chairmanship would rotate among six republics. When the Federal Assembly fails to agree on legislation, the collective presidency would have the power to rule by decree. Amendments also provided for stronger cabinet with considerable power to initiate and pursue legislature independently from the Communist Party. Džemal Bijedić was chosen as the Premier. The new amendments aimed to decentralize the country by granting greater autonomy to republics and provinces. The federal government would retain authority only over foreign affairs, defense, internal security, monetary affairs, free trade within Yugoslavia, and development loans to poorer regions. Control of education, healthcare, and housing would be exercised entirely by the governments of the republics and the autonomous provinces.
Tito's greatest strength, in the eyes of the western communists, had been in suppressing nationalist insurrections and maintaining unity throughout the country. It was Tito's call for unity, and related methods, that held together the people of Yugoslavia. This ability was put to a test several times during his reign, notably during the so-called Croatian Spring (also referred to as masovni pokret, maspok, meaning "mass movement") when the government had to suppress both public demonstrations and dissenting opinions within the Communist Party. Despite this suppression, much of maspok's demands were later realised with the new constitution.
Yugoslavia had a liberal travel policy permitting foreigners to freely travel through the country and its citizens to travel worldwide. This was limited by most Communist countries. A number of Yugoslav citizens worked throughout Western Europe.
Because of its neutrality, Yugoslavia would often be one of the only Communist countries to have diplomatic relations with right-wing, anti-Communist governments. For example, Yugoslavia was the only communist country allowed to have an embassy in Alfredo Stroessner's Paraguay. However, one notable exception to Yugoslavia's neutral stance toward anti-communist countries was Chile under Augusto Pinochet; Yugoslavia was one of many left-wing countries which severed diplomatic relations with Chile after Allende was overthrown.
After the constitutional changes of 1974, Tito increasingly took the role of senior statesman. His direct involvement in domestic policy and governing was diminishing.
In January 1980, Tito was admitted to Klinični center Ljubljana (the clinical centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia) with circulation problems in his legs. His left leg was amputated soon afterwards. He died there on May 4, 1980 at 3:04/15:04. His funeral drew many world statesmen. Based on the number of attending politicians and state delegations, it was the largest statesman funeral in history. They included four kings, thirty-one presidents, six princes, twenty-two prime ministers and forty-seven ministers of foreign affairs. They came from both sides of the Cold War, from 128 different countries .
At the time of his death, speculation began about whether his successors could continue to hold Yugoslavia together. Ethnic divisions and conflict grew and eventually erupted in a series of Yugoslav wars a decade after his death. Tito was buried in a mausoleum in Belgrade, called Kuća Cveća (The House of Flowers) and numerous people visit the place as a shrine to "better times," although it no longer holds a guard of honour.
The gifts he received during his presidency are kept in the Museum of the History of Yugoslavia (whose old names were "Museum 25. May," and "Museum of the Revolution") in Belgrade. The value of the collection is priceless: it includes works of many world-famous artists, including original prints of Los Caprichos by Francisco Goya, and many others. The Government of Serbia has planned to merge the museum into the Museum of the History of Serbia.
During his life and especially in the first year after his death, several places were named after Tito. Several of these places have since returned to their original names, such as Podgorica, formerly Titograd (though Podgorica's international airport is still identified by the code TGD), which reverted to its original name in 1992. Streets in Belgrade, the capital, have all reverted back to their original pre-World War II and pre-communist names as well. In 2004, Antun Augustinčić's statue of Broz in his birthplace of Kumrovec was decapitated in an explosion. It was subsequently repaired. In 2008, protests took place in Zagreb's Marshal Tito Square, with an aim to force the city government to rename it, while a counter-protest demanded that the square retain its old name. In the Croatian coastal city of Opatija the main street (also its longest street) still bears the name of Marshal Tito. Marshal Tito Street in Sarajevo is shortened but is still the main street.
Tito's first wife was Pelagija Broz (née Belousova), a Russian who bore him three children: daughter Zlatica and sons Hinko and Žarko (born 1924). They were married in Omsk before moving to Yugoslavia. She was transported to Moscow by the communists when Tito was imprisoned in 1928.
His next notable relationship was with Hertha Haas, whom he married. In May 1941, she bore him a son, Aleksandar. They parted company in 1943 in Jajce during the second meeting of AVNOJ. All throughout his relationship with Haas, Tito maintained a promiscuous life and had a parallel relationship with Davorjanka Paunović, codename Zdenka, a courier and his personal secretary, who, by all accounts, was the love of his life. She died of tuberculosis in 1946 and Tito insisted that she should be buried in the backyard of the Beli Dvor, his Belgrade residence.
His best known wife was Jovanka Broz (née Budisavljević). Tito was just shy of his 59th birthday, while she was 27, when they finally married in April 1952, with state security chief Aleksandar Ranković as the best man. Their eventual marriage came about somewhat unexpectedly since Tito actually rejected her some years earlier when his confidante Ivan Krajacic brought her in originally. At that time, she was in her early 20s and Tito, objecting to her energetic personality, opted for the more mature opera singer Zinka Kunc instead. Not the one to be discouraged easily, Jovanka continued working at Beli Dvor, where she managed the staff of servants and eventually got another chance after Tito's strange relationship with Zinka failed. Since Jovanka was the only female companion he married while in power, she also went down in history as Yugoslavia's first lady. Their relationship was not a happy one, however. It had gone through many, often public, ups and downs with episodes of infidelities and even allegations of preparation for a coup d'etat by the latter pair. Certain unofficial reports suggest Tito and Jovanka even formally divorced in the late 1970s, shortly before his death. However, during Tito's funeral she was officially present as Tito's wife, and later claimed rights for inheritance. The couple did not have any children.
Though Tito was most likely born on May 7, he celebrated his birthday on May 25, after he became president of Yugoslavia, to mark the occasion of an unsuccessful Nazi attempt at his life in 1944. The Germans found forged documents of Tito's, where May 25 was stated as his birthday. They attacked Tito on the day they believed was his birthday.
May 25 was institutionalized as the Day of Youth in former Yugoslavia. The Relay of Youth started about two months earlier, each time from a different town of Yugoslavia. The baton passed through hundreds of hands of relay runners and typically visited all major cities of the country. On May 25 of each year, the baton finally passed into the hands of Marshal Tito at the end of festivities at Yugoslav People's Army Stadium (hosting FK Partizan) in Belgrade.
Tito is also an old, though uncommon, Croatian name, corresponding to Titus. Tito's biographer, Vladimir Dedijer, claimed that it came from the Croatian romantic writer, Tituš Brezovački, but the name is very well known in Zagorje. Josip Broz in one interview confirmed that this name was very common in his region, and it was main reason for adopting it.
The newest theory is from the Croatian journalist Denis Kuljiš. He got information from a descendant of the Comintern spy Baturin, operating in Istanbul in the thirties, about a code system that was used by the latter. Josip Broz was one of his agents, and his secret nicks were always names of pistols (including "Walter", which was confirmed by Tito himself). One of the last nicknames was "TT" (TT-30, a Soviet pistol), and Broz after coming back to Yugoslavia even signed some communist party documents with that name. Kuljiš thinks that within a few years "TT" (pronounced in Serbo-Croatian as "te te") became “Tito”.
On Bosnia and Herzegovina:
|Award or decoration||Country||Date received||Remarks||Ref|
|Order of the National Hero of Yugoslavia||SFRY||6 November 1944, 15 May 1972, 16 May 1977||Only person to receive it three times.|
|Order of the Yugoslavian Great Star||SFRY||1 February 1954||Highest national order of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.|
|Order of Freedom||SFRY||12 June 1945||Highest military order of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.|
|Order of the Hero of Socialist labour||SFRY||8 December 1948|
|Order of the National liberation||SFRY||15 August 1943|
|Order of the War flag||SFRY||29 December 1951|
|Order of the Yugoslavian flag with sash||SFRY||26 November 1947|
|Order of the partisan star with golden wreath||SFRY||15 August 1943|
|Order of the Republic with golden wreath||SFRY||2 July 1960|
|Order of merits for the people with golden star||SFRY||9 June 1945|
|Order of the brotherhood and unity with golden wreath||SFRY||15 August 1943|
|Order of the National army with laurer wreath||SFRY||29 December 1951|
|Order of military merits with the great star||SFRY||29 December 1951|
|Order for courageousness||SFRY||15 August 1943|
|Commemorative medal of the Yugoslavian partisans - 1941||SFRY||14 September 1944|
|"30 Years of Victory over Fascism" Medal||SFRY||9 May 1975|
|"10 Years of Yugoslav Army" Medal||SFRY||22 December 1951|
|"20 Years of Yugoslav Army" Medal||SFRY||22 December 1961|
|"30 Years of Yugoslav Army" Medal||SFRY||22 December 1971|
|Award or decoration||Country||Date received||Remarks||Ref|
|Order of Léopold||Belgium||6 October 1970||Highest military order of Belgium.|
|Order of the Elephant||Denmark||29 October 1974||Highest order of Denmark.|
|Médaille militaire||France||5 May 1956||Also received by Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.|
|Medal Zwycięstwa i Wolności 1945||Poland||16 March 1946||670,000 of the medals were awarded from 1958 to 1992.|
|Krzyż Partyzancki||Poland||16 March 1946||55,000 of the medals were awarded.|
|Order of Victory||USSR||9 September 1945|| Highest military decoration of the Soviet Union|
one of 5 foreigners to receive it. Last person to receive the Order (without having it revoked).
|Order of Suvorov||USSR||September 1944|
|Order of Lenin||USSR||5 June 1972||Highest National Order of the Soviet Union.|
|Order of the October Revolution||USSR||16 August 1977||Second highest National Order of the Soviet Union.|