(b. 25 May 1892, d. 4 May 1980).
Prime Minister of Yugoslavia 1945–53; President 1953–80 Born Josip Broz in the Croatian town of Kumrovec near the Slovenian border, into a family of mixed Croatian and Slovenian ancestry. He fought in World War I in the Austro‐Hungarian army, but was captured by the Russian army in 1915. As a prisoner of war he joined the Bolsheviks and, from 1917, he served in Trotsky's Red Army against the White Russians in the Russian Civil War. He returned home to a newly independent Kingdom of Croats, Slovenes, and Serbs, and became a pivotal figure in the Croatian Communist Party organization. He went underground and changed his name to ‘Tito’ when the Communist Party was outlawed in 1922. Imprisoned for six years for his illegal party activities, he was expelled in 1934 and went to Moscow, where he was recruited by Comintern. Tito was made general secretary of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1937, and returned that year to rebuild the party.
After the German invasion in 1941, Tito formed the Partisan Army of National Liberation, which came to lead a highly successful guerrilla war against the occupying forces. His forces soon also turned against the rival guerrilla organization, the Chetniks. He emerged victorious from the war and, although bound by the Allies to form a government of national unity, immediately established his predominance. He expelled his opponents, and gave the cold shoulder to Stalin. The break with the USSR in 1948 enhanced his domestic appeal. As the first and most powerful Communist to break with the Soviet Union, he became a self‐confident proponent of non‐alignment, with great prestige in the West. As a Slovenian‐Croat leader of a country dominated by Serbs, he understood the country's ethnic dynamics like few other leaders, which was the principal reason for the relative stability enjoyed by the Yugoslav state until his death. The fragility and superficiality of this stability, however, emerged soon after his death, when his country collapsed in a bitter civil war.