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Josip Broz Tito

Yugoslav president

Died when: 87 years 363 days (1055 months)
Star Sign: Taurus


Josip Broz Tito

Josip Broz (Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic: Јосип Броз, pronounced [jǒsip brôːz]; 7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980), commonly known as Tito (/ˈtiːtoʊ/;

Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic: Тито, pronounced [tîto]), was a Yugoslav communist revolutionary and statesman, serving in various positions from 1943 until his death in 1980.

During World War II, he was the leader of the Yugoslav Partisans, often regarded as the most effective resistance movement in German-occupied Europe.

He also served as the president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 14 January 1953 until his death on 4 May 1980.

He was born to a Croat father and Slovene mother in the village of Kumrovec, Austria-Hungary (now in Croatia).Drafted into military service, he distinguished himself, becoming the youngest sergeant major in the Austro-Hungarian Army of that time.

After being seriously wounded and captured by the Russians during World War I, he was sent to a work camp in the Ural Mountains.

He participated in some events of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the subsequent Civil War.Upon his return to the Balkans in 1918, he entered the newly established Kingdom of Yugoslavia, where he joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ).

Having assumed de facto control over the party by 1937, he was formally elected its general secretary in 1939 and later its president, the title he held until his death.

During World War II, after the Nazi invasion of the area, he led the Yugoslav guerrilla movement, the Partisans (1941–1945).

By the end of the war, the Partisans—with the backing of the invading Soviet Union—took power over Yugoslavia.

After the war, Tito was the chief architect of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), serving as both prime minister (1944–1963), president (since 1974 president for life) (1953–1980), and marshal of Yugoslavia, the highest rank of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA).

Despite being one of the founders of Cominform, he became the first Cominform member to defy Soviet hegemony in 1948.He was the only leader in Joseph Stalin's time to leave Cominform and begin with his country's own socialist program, which contained elements of market socialism.

Economists active in the former Yugoslavia, including Czech-born Jaroslav Vaněk and Yugoslav-born Branko Horvat, promoted a model of market socialism that was dubbed the Illyrian model.

Firms were socially owned by their employees and structured on workers' self-management; they competed in open and free markets.Tito managed to keep ethnic tensions under control by delegating as much power as possible to each republic.

The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution defined SFR Yugoslavia as a "federal republic of equal nations and nationalities, freely united on the principle of brotherhood and unity in achieving specific and common interest." Each republic was also given the right to self-determination and secession if done through legal channels.

Lastly, Tito gave Kosovo and Vojvodina, the two constituent provinces of Serbia, substantially increased autonomy, including de facto veto power in the Serbian parliament.

Tito built a very powerful cult of personality around himself, which was maintained by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia even after his death.

Twelve years after his death, as communism collapsed in Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia dissolved and descended into a series of interethnic wars.

Some historians criticize Tito's presidency as authoritarian, while others see him as a benevolent dictator.He was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad.

Viewed as a unifying symbol, his internal policies maintained the peaceful coexistence of the nations of the Yugoslav federation.He gained further international attention as the chief leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, alongside Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia.

With a highly favourable reputation abroad in both Cold War blocs, he received a total of 98 foreign decorations, including the Legion of Honour and the Order of the Bath.

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