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Josip Broz Tito

Josip Broz Tito

Josip Broz Tito (May 7, 1892 - May 4, 1980), often known by his military title Marshal Tito, was a president of Yugoslavia from the end of World War II until his death.

Tito was born in Kumrovec, northwestern Croatia, then part of Austria-Hungary, as the seventh child in the family of Franjo and Marija Broz. His father Franjo was Croat, while his mother Marija was Slovenian. After spending some of his childhood years with his mother's father in Podsreda, he entered the primary school in Kumrovec and left it in 1905.

In 1907, moving out of the rural environment, he started working as a locksmith's apprentice in Sisak. There he became aware of the labour movement and celebrated May 1 for the first time. In 1910 he joined the Union of metallurgy workers and at the same time the Social-democratic party of Croatia and Slavonia. Between 1911 and 1913, Tito worked for shorter periods in various places of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

From Autumn 1913, Tito served in the military; in May 1914 he won a silver medal for the second place at a fencing competition of the Austro-Hungarian Army in Budapest. At the outbreak of the First World War, he was sent to Ruma. He was arrested for anti-war propaganda and imprisoned in the Petrovaradin fortress. In 1915, he was sent to Galicia to fight against Russia. In Bukovina, Tito was seriously injured by a grenade from a Russian howitzer. In April, the whole battalion fell into Russian captivity.

After spending several months in the hospital, Tito was sent to a work camp in the Urals in autumn 1916. In April 1917 he was arrested for organizing demonstrations of prisoners of war; later he escaped from the camp and joined the demonstrations in Saint Petersburg on July 16-17, 1917. He fled to Finland to avoid the police, but was arrested and locked in the Petropavlovsk fortress for three weeks. He was then sent to a prison camp in Kungur, but escaped from the train and in November enlisted in the Red Army in Omsk. In the Spring 1918, he applied for membership in the Russian Communist Party.

His first wife was Hertha Haas, who in May 1941 bore his first son Mišo Broz.

On December 4, 1943 during the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia in World War II, then resistance leader Marshal Tito proclaimd a provisional democratic Yugoslav government in-exile.


Tito with Fidel Castro

Tito died in Clinic centre in Ljubljana on May 4, 1980. His funeral drew many world celebrities, mainly politicians. At that time, speculation arose about whether his successors could continue to hold Yugoslavia together: Tito's greatest strength in the eyes of the west had been in suppressing nationalist insurrections and maintaining unity throughout the country. Without Tito's call for unity, the people of Yugoslavia could not hold together. Ethnic divisions and conflict grew, and eventually erupted into gruesome civil wars (Croatian war, Bosnian war, Kosovo War).

Tito is buried in his mausoleum in Belgrade, called Kuća cveća (The House of Flowers) and many people every year visit the place, although it no longer holds a guard of honour.

His partisan's name Tito as acronym was later often derided to became from the dictatorial sentence: "you do this (and that)" (Ti (you) and to (this)).