Marshal Josip Broz Tito (7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. 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). 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 "national communism" or "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 '70s. 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.
|Tito's birthplace in the town of Kumrovec, Croatia|
In the autumn of 1913, he was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. He was sent to a school for non-commissioned officers and became a sergeant, serving in the 25th Croatian Regiment based in Zagreb. 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, where 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, becoming the youngest Sergeant Major in the Austro-Hungarian Army. For his bravery in the face of the enemy, he was recommended for the Silver Bravery Medal but was taken prisoner of war before it could be formally presented. On Easter 25 March 1915, while in Bukovina, he was seriously wounded and captured by the Russians.
Family and personal life
Tito carried on numerous affairs and was married several times. In 1918 he was brought to Omsk, Russia as a prisoner of war. There he met Pelagija Belousova who was then thirteen; he married her a year later, and she moved with him to Yugoslavia. Polka bore him five children but only their son Žarko Leon (born 4 February, 1924) survived. When Tito was jailed in 1928, she returned to Russia. After the divorce in 1936 she later remarried.
In 1936, when Tito stayed at the Hotel Lux in Moscow, he met the Austrian comrade Lucia Bauer. They married in October 1936, but the records of this marriage were later erased.
His next relationship was with Herta Haas, whom he married in 1940. Broz left for Belgrade after the April War, leaving Haas pregnant. In May 1941, she gave birth to their son, Aleksandar "Mišo" Broz. All throughout his relationship with Haas, Tito had maintained a promiscuous life and had a parallel relationship with Davorjanka Paunovic, who, under the codename "Zdenka", served as a courier in the resistance and subsequently became his personal secretary. Haas and Tito suddenly parted company in 1943 in Jajce during the second meeting of AVNOJ after she reportedly walked in on him and Davorjanka. The last time Haas saw Broz was in 1946. Davorjanka died of tuberculosis in 1946 and Tito insisted that she be buried in the backyard of the Beli Dvor, his Belgrade residence.
His best known wife was Jovanka Broz. Tito was just shy of his 59th birthday, while she was 27, when they finally married in April 1952, with state security chief Aleksandar Rankovic 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 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'état 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 his wife, and later claimed rights for inheritance. The couple did not have any children.
Tito's notable grandchildren include Aleksandra Broz, a prominent theatre director in Croatia, Svetlana Broz, a cardiologist and writer in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Josip "Joška" Broz, Edvard Broz and Natali Klasevski, an artisan of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
As the leader of Yugoslavia Tito maintained a lavish lifestyle and kept several mansions. In Belgrade he resided in the official palace, Beli dvor, and maintained a separate private residence; he spent much time at his private island of Brijuni, an official residence from 1949 on, and at his palace at the Bled lake. His grounds at Karadjordjevo were the site of "diplomatic hunts". By 1974 Tito had 32 official residences.
As regards knowledge of languages, Tito replied that he spoke Yugoslav, German, Russian, and some English. A biographer also stated that he spoke "Serbo-Croatian ... Russian, Czech, Slovenian ... German (with a Viennese accent) ... understands and reads French and Italian ... [and] also speaks Kirghiz."
Every federal unit had a town or city with historic significance from the World War II period renamed to have Tito's name included. The largest of these was Titograd, now Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro. With the exception of Titograd, the cities were renamed simply by the addition of the adjective "Tito's" ("Titov"). The cities were:
Origin of the name "Tito"
Various explanations exist for the origin of the name Tito. One proposes that Tito comes from the Serbo-Croatian variation of the name of Roman Emperor Titus. Tito's biographer, Vladimir Dedijer, however claimed that it came from the Croatian romantic writer, Tituš Brezovacki. Another popular explanation of the sobriquet claims that it is a conjunction of two Serbo-Croatian words, "ti" (meaning "you") and "to" (meaning "that"). As the story goes, during the frantic times of his command, he would issue commands with those two words, by pointing to the person, and then task. This explanation for the name's origin is provided in Fitzroy Maclean's 1949 book, Eastern Approaches. Maclean later revisited and dispelled this explanation in his 1957 biography of Tito, The Heretic. There he states, "I have always liked this story. But I am assured by Tito himself, who I suppose should know, that it is apocryphal."
Despite accusations of culpability in the Bleiburg massacre, Josip Broz Tito repeatedly issued calls for surrender to the retreating column, offering amnesty and attempting to avoid a disorderly surrender. On 14 May he dispatched a telegram to the supreme headquarters Slovene Partisan Army prohibiting "in the sternest language" the execution of prisoners of war and commanding the transfer of the possible suspects to a military court.
On October 4, 2011, the Slovenian Constitutional Court found a 2009 naming of a street after Tito to be unconstitutional. The court ruled that the name Tito symbolizes human rights violations, and that naming a street after him "glorifies a totalitarian regime and violates human dignity".
From : www.wikipedia.org