Makers of the Twentieth Century: Tito

In 1945 Tito wrote. ‘We mean to make Yugoslavia both democratic and independent’. How was this possible, asks Basil Davidson, for a war-torn Communist country in a world of super-powers?

The ironies of this could well deserve a smile. History will enjoy discussing them, but they are evident even with the earth still fresh upon his garden-grave at Dedinje. When, for our part, the British first took notice of Tito’s name, at some point around the middle of 1942, it was no more than a cipher launched in broadcasts by a station called Free Yugoslavia that was known to British Intelligence as being situated in Russia, and probably in Moscow. And when, in 1943, our liaison teams began dropping to Tito’s men in Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and other regions of that embattled land, the assumption was that Tito, whoever he might really be, was firmly within the arena of Soviet obedience and accompanied by Soviet staffs. Otherwise his isolation and obscurity appeared as complete as his Muscovite alignment.

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