Marshal Josip Broz Tito (Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: [jɔ̂sip brɔ̂ːz tîtɔ]; born Josip Broz; Cyrillic: Јосип Броз Тито; 7 May 1892[nb 1] – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman, ruling in various roles since 1945 until his death in 1980.
Good and bad
While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation. He gained international attention as the chief leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, working with Jawaharlal Nehru of India and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt.
Josip was born as the seventh child of Franjo and Marija Broz in the village of Kumrovec within Austria-Hungary (modern-day Croatia). Drafted into the army, he distinguished himself, becoming the youngest Sergeant Major in the Austro-Hungarian Army. After being seriously wounded and captured by the Russians, Josip was sent to a work camp in the Ural Mountains. He participated in the October Revolution, and later joined a Red Guard unit in Omsk. Upon his return home, Broz found himself in the newly-established Kingdom of Yugoslavia, where he joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. He was Secretary-General (later President) of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (1939–80), and went on to lead the World War II Yugoslav guerrilla movement, the Partisans (1941–45).
Post war leadership
After the war, he was the Prime Minister (1943–63) and later President (1953–80) of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). From 1943 to his death in 1980, he held the rank of Marshal of Yugoslavia, serving as the supreme commander of the Yugoslav military, the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). With a highly favourable reputation abroad in both Cold War blocs, Josip Broz Tito received some 98 foreign decorations, including the Legion of Honour and the Order of the Bath. Tito was the chief architect of the "second Yugoslavia", a socialist federation that lasted from World War II until 1991. Despite being one of the founders of Cominform, he was also the first (and the only successful) Cominform member to defy Soviet hegemony. A backer of independent roads to socialism (sometimes referred to as, although incorrectly, "national communism" or more correctly "Titoism"), he was one of the main founders and promoters of the Non-Aligned Movement, and its first Secretary-General. He supported the policy of nonalignment between the two hostile blocs in the Cold War. Such successful diplomatic and economic policies allowed Tito to preside over the Yugoslav economic boom and expansion of the 1960s and 1970s. His internal policies included the suppression of nationalist sentiment and the promotion of the "brotherhood and unity" of the six Yugoslav nations.
After Tito's death in 1980, tensions between the Yugoslav republics emerged and in 1991 the country disintegrated and went into a series of civil wars and unrest that lasted the rest of the decade and continue to impact most of the former Yugoslav republics to this day. He remains a controversial figure in the Balkans.
Adapted from Wikipedia
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