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Young & Kent: International Relations since 1945 2e

Josip Tito

Josip Tito (1894-1980) was born Josip Broz, of a Slovene mother and a Croatian father and served in the Austrian army during World War I. He was captured by the Russians and served with distinction in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War (1918-1920). Several years later he returned to Croatia to work as a Communist Party organiser and was imprisoned for political agitation (1928-1934). In 1937 the Comintern assigned to him the reorganisation of the Yugoslav Communist Party (YCP) and in 1941 he emerged as a leader of Yugoslav partisan resistance forces, taking the name Tito. In 1944 the Allies gave their support to Tito and in March 1945 he was recognised as prime minister. Initially Tito was a loyal follower of Joseph Stalin, but when the Soviet leader criticised some of the actions of YCP, Tito rejected Stalin’s criticism and the YCP was expelled from the Cominform in 1948. Afterwards, Tito chose to maintain Yugoslav independence, a decision supported by the United States. Tito revived ‘Marxist humanism’, which included the concept of workers’ self management. In the 1960s Tito joined with leaders of African and Asian countries, to promote the concept of nonalignment – independence from both the United States and the USSR. Tito supported the Soviet policy of détente with the West, but protested against the USSR’s invasions of Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968), and Afghanistan (1979). In 1963 Tito relinquished the position of prime minister but was named president for life in 1974.