Josip Broz Tito

Template:Infobox Biography Josip Broz Tito Template:Audio (May 7, 1892May 4, 1980) was the president of Yugoslavia between the end of World War II and his death in 1980.


Early years

Tito was born Josip Broz in Kumrovec, northwestern Croatia, in an area called Zagorje, which was then part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was the seventh child in the family of Franjo and Marija Broz. His father Franjo Broz was a Croat, while his mother Marija (ne Javeršek) was Slovenian. After spending part of his childhood years with his mother's father in Podsreda, he entered the primary school in Kumrovec, and failed the first grade. He left school in 1905.

In 1907, moving out of the rural environment, Broz started working as a locksmith's apprentice in Sisak. There he became aware of the labor movement and celebrated May 1 - Labor Day for the first time. In 1910 he joined the union of metallurgy workers and at the same time the Social-Democratic Party of Croatia and Slavonia. Between 1911 and 1913, Broz worked for shorter periods in Kamnik, Slovenia; Cenkovo, Bohemia; Munich and Mannheim, Germany, where he worked for Benz automobile factory; then went to Vienna, Austria, where he worked at Daimler as a test driver.

From autumn 1913, Broz was conscripted and served in the Austro-Hungarian Army; in May 1914 he won a silver medal at a fencing competition of the Austro-Hungarian Army in Budapest. At the outbreak of the First World War, he was sent to Ruma. He was arrested for anti-war propaganda and imprisoned in the Petrovaradin fortress. In 1915, he was sent to the Eastern Front in Galicia to fight against Russia. In Bukovina he was seriously injured by a howitzer shell. In April, the whole battalion fell into Russian captivity.

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Tito in 1928

After spending several months at the hospital, Broz was sent to a work camp in the Ural mountains in autumn of 1916. In April, 1917, he was arrested for organizing demonstrations of prisoners of war but later he escaped and joined the demonstrations in Saint Petersburg on July 16-17, 1917. He fled to Finland to avoid the police, but was arrested and locked in the Petropavlovsk fortress for three weeks. After being imprisoned in a camp in Kungur, he escaped from the train. In November, he enlisted in the Red Army in Omsk, Siberia. In the spring of 1918, he applied for membership in the Russian Communist Party.

In 1920, he became member of the soon to be banned Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Their influence on the political life of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was minor at the time. In 1934, he became a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party, then located in Vienna, Austria, and adopted the code name "Tito".

In 1936 the Comintern sent comrade Walter (i.e. Tito) back to Yugoslavia from Moscow to purge the Communist Party there. In 1937 he became secretary general of the Yugoslav Communist Party. During this period he faithfully followed Comintern policy, criticizing Serbian domination of other Yugoslav nationalities and agitating for the breakup of the Yugoslav state.

World War II

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Josip Broz Tito during the winter of 1942

After Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis forces in April 1941, the Communists were among the first to organize a resistance movement. Tito's public call for armed resistance against Germany dates from July 4, 1941. He became the Chief Commander of the Yugoslav National Liberation Army (Narodno oslobodilačka vojska/armija). The NLA partisans staged a wide-spread guerrilla campaign and started liberating chunks of territory in which they organized people's committees to act as civilian government.

Tito was a prominent leader of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia that convened in Bihać in 1942 and Jajce in 1943 and established the basis for post-war organisation of the country, making it a federation. On December 4, 1943 during the German occupation of Yugoslavia in World War II, the resistance leader Marshal Tito proclaimed a provisional democratic Yugoslav government.

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Wounded Tito with Dr. Ivan Ribar during the Offensive on Sutjeska June 13, 1943

During the Second World War, his activities were often supported directly by forces of the western Allies. At that time liason missions were dropped by the Allies to the Headquarters of Partisan Detachments in Yugoslavia, with Brigadier Fitzroy MacLean playing a significant role. The Balkan Air Force was formed in June 1944 to control operations that were mainly aimed at helping his forces. Due to his close ties to Stalin, Tito often quarreled with the British and American staff officers attached to his headquarters.

On April 5, 1945 Tito signed an agreement with the USSR allowing "temporary entry of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory". Aided by the Red Army, the partisans won the war in 1945. Nevertheless, the "Liberation War for Yugoslavia" is considered to be the only victory in World War II achieved by local guerilla forces, albeit with minor help from the outside.

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Tito and Sir Winston Churchill

All western forces were ordered off Yugoslav soil after the end of hostilities in Europe. The remaining fascist Ustaša and royalist Četnik troops and their supporters were subject to summary trials and execution en masse, particularly in the so-called Bleiburg massacre.


Tito became the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of post-war Yugoslavia. He remained in those offices until January 13, 1953 when he succeeded Ivan Ribar as the President of Yugoslavia. On April 7, 1963, the country changed its official name to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Josip Broz Tito was named President for life.

Tito's rule had the character of an enlightened dictatorship. The Communist Party "won" the first post-war elections under unfair conditions, and it maintained its grasp on power using espionage and assassinations (with the secret police "UDBA" and security agency "OZNA") as well as politically motivated trials and imprisonment. It did, however, consolidate the country that was gravely impacted by war and successfully suppressed the nationalist sentiments of the peoples of Yugoslavia in favor of the common Yugoslav goal.

Tito was also recognized internationally as the first Communist leader who defied Stalin's leadership over the Cominform in 1948, an event that caused a rift with the Soviet Union, often referred to as the Informbiro period. Tito's form of communism was labelled Titoism by Moscow which encouraged purges against suspected "Titoites'" throughout the Communist bloc.

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The Brioni Declaration - July 19, 1956

Under Tito's leadership, Yugoslavia also became a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1961, Tito co-founded the movement with Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and India's Jawaharlal Nehru, thus establishing strong ties with the third world countries.

For a period in the 1960s and '70s, some intellectuals in the west saw Tito's model of market socialism as representing a point to which the Soviet and western economic systems would over time converge. The Yugoslav standard of living was somewhat higher than Eastern Europe, particularly because of the fact that Yugoslavs were permitted to travel easily to Western Europe or other countries, bringing in money to support the economy.

Tito's greatest strength in the eyes of the west 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 at 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.

In January 1980 Tito was admitted to the clinical centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia with circulation problems in his legs, and his left leg was amputated soon afterwards. He died there on May 4, 1980, and his funeral drew many world celebrities, mainly politicians. It was the second largest funeral in history (the largest was funeral of the Pope John Paul II), by number of politicians and state delegations.


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 into a series of Yugoslav wars a decade after his death.

Tito is buried in his 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 a 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 many world-famous artists, including original prints Los Caprichos by Francisco Goya, and many others.

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1968 Celebration

During his life and especially in the first year after his death, several places were named after Tito.

He left a significant mark on many world developments and influenced international affairs and currents that affect the world even today. He was a fighter for socialist democracy and equality, a great diplomat.


Tito's first wife was Pelagija Broz who bore him a son, arko. His second wife was Hertha Haas, who in May of 1941 bore him a son Mišo, although his most known wife was the last one, Jovanka Broz. His notable grandchildren include Aleksandra Broz, a prominent theatre director in Croatia, and Svetlana Broz, a cardiologist and writer in Serbia.

Tito was most likely born on May 7th but celebrated his birthday on May 25th after he became president of Yugoslavia, to mark the occasion of an unsuccesful attempt at his life by the nazis in 1944. His birthday was institutionalized as the Day of the Youth in SFRY.

See also

External links

bs:Josip Broz Tito da:Josip Broz Tito de:Josip Broz Tito es:Josip Broz Tito fr:Tito hr:Josip Broz Tito it:Tito (Storia moderna) he:יוסיפ ברוז טיטו nl:Josip Broz Tito ja:ヨシップ・ブロズ・チトー no:Josip Broz Tito pl:Josip Broz Tito pt:Josip Broz Tito sl:Josip Broz Tito sr:Тито fi:Josip Broz Tito sv:Tito


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