Josip Broz Tito

Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman (1892−1980)
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Josip Broz (7 May 18924 May 1980), known as Tito, 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.

Think well about this, dear brothers and sisters, and you will see that we should have been in a state of terrible chaos, in a fratricidal war, in a country which would no longer be Yugoslavia, but be only a group of petty little states fighting among themselves and destroying each other. But our people do not want that to happen.




  • No country of people's democracy has so many nationalities as this country has. Only in Czechoslovakia do there exist two kindred nationalities, while in some of the other countries there are only minorities. Consequently in these countries of people's democracy there has been no need to settle such serious problems as we have had to settle here. With them the road to socialism is less complicated than is the case here. With them the basic factor is the class issue, with us it is both the nationalities and the class issue. The reason why we were able to settle the nationalities question so thoroughly is to be found in the fact that it had begun to be settled in a revolutionary way in the course of the Liberation War, in which all the nationalities in the country participated, in which every national group made its contribution to the general effort of liberation from the occupier according to its capabilities. Neither the Macedonians nor any other national group which until then had been oppressed obtained their national liberation by decree. They fought for their national liberation with rifle in hand. The role of the Communist Party lay in the first place in the fact that it led that struggle, which was a guarantee that after the war the national question would be settled decisively in the way the communists had conceived long before the war and during the war. The role of the Communist Party in this respect today, in the phase of building socialism, lies in making the positive national factors a stimulus to, not a brake on, the development of socialism in our country. The role of the Communist Party today lies in the necessity for keeping a sharp lookout to see that national chauvinism does not appear and develop among any of the nationalities. The Communist Party must always endeavour, and does endeavour, to ensure that all the negative phenomena of nationalism disappear and that people are educated in the spirit of internationalism.

    What are the phenomena of nationalism? Here are some of them: 1) National egoism, from which many other negative traits of nationalism are derived, as for example — a desire for foreign conquest, a desire to oppress other nations, a desire to impose economic exploitation upon other nations, and so on; 2) national-chauvinism which is also a source of many other negative traits of nationalism, as for example national hatred, the disparagement of other nations, the disparagement of their history, culture, and scientific activities and scientific achievements, and so on, the glorification of developments in their own history that were negative and which from our Marxist point of view are considered negative.

    And what are these negative things? Wars of conquest are negative, the subjugation and oppression of other nations is negative, economic exploitation is negative, colonial enslavement is negative, and so on. All these things are accounted negative by Marxism and condemned. All these phenomena of the past can, it is true, be explained, but from our point of view they can never be justified.

    In a socialist society such phenomena must and will disappear. In the old Yugoslavia national oppression by the great-Serb capitalist clique meant strengthening the economic exploitation of the oppressed peoples. This is the inevitable fate of all who suffer from national oppression. In the new, socialist Yugoslavia the existing equality of rights for all nationalities has made it impossible for one national group to impose economic exploitation upon another. That is because hegemony of one national group over another no longer exists in this country. Any such hegemony must inevitably bring with it, to some degree or other, in one form or another, economic exploitation; and that would be contrary to the principles upon which socialism rests. Only economic, political, cultural, and universal equality of rights can make it possible for us to grow in strength in these tremendous endeavours of our community.


  • Our sacrifices are terrible. I can safely say that there is no other part of the world which has been devastated on a vaster scale than Yugoslavia. Every tenth Yugoslav has perished in this struggle in which we were forced to wrest armaments from our enemies, to freeze without clothing, and to die without medication.
    Nevertheless our optimism and faith have proved justified. The greatest gain of this conflict between democracy and fascism lies in the fact that it has drawn together everything that was good in humanity. The unity of the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain is the best guarantee to the peoples of the world that Nazi horrors will never again be repeated.


  • In the most trying hours, through dismal nights and endless interrogations and maltreatment, during days of killing solitude in cells and close confinement, we were always sustained by the hope that all these agonies were not in vain, that there was a strong and mighty country, however far away, in which all the dreams for which we were fighting had been fulfilled. For us it was the homeland of the workers, in which labour was honoured, in which love, comradeship, and sincerity prevailed. With what joy I had felt the strength of that country as, emerging from prison in 1934, I listened in the dead of each night to Radio Moscow and heard the clock of the Kremlin tower striking the hours, and the stirring strains of the 'International'.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 128.
  • I knew that many things were wrong... I witnessed a great many injustices... But it was my revolutionary duty at the time not to criticize and not to help alien propaganda against [the Soviet Union], for at that time it was the only country where a revolution had been carried out and where Socialism had been built. I considered that propaganda should not be made against that country; that my duty was to make propaganda in my own country for Socialism.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 142.
  • None of our republics would be anything if we weren't all together, but we have to create our history — our Yugoslavian socialist history, that is unique, in the future — that is our path; not touching the national rights of the some republics to preserve their own traditions, not at the expense of, but in the interest of the whole community, to mutually complete each other. That is what we want, and not the destruction of our unity.
    • Frequently quoted fragment of Tito's speech in Split 1962 Source: YouTube
  • It will do for the moment.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 177.
    • Tito's answer to the Chetnik general Mihailović's question as to whether or not "Tito" was his only name.
  • Those Chetniks up there who are now firing on us will have joined us within a year.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 185.
  • We will liquidate the kulak, but not because he is a kulak but because he is a fifth columnist … The present struggle is national liberation in form, but class war in essence.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 188.
  • Today, 9 May, exactly forty-nine months and three days after the Fascist attack on Yugoslavia, the most powerful aggressive force in Europe, Germany, has capitulated.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 252.
  • Think well about this, dear brothers and sisters, and you will see that we should have been in a state of terrible chaos, in a fratricidal war, in a country which would no longer be Yugoslavia, but be only a group of petty little states fighting among themselves and destroying each other. But our people do not want that to happen.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 263.
  • The bishops play the hero and say they are ready to fight, even if it costs them their lives. The fight against whom? Against the people's government, of course, against our new democratic Yugoslavia … But how is it that the bishops did not issue this kind of pastoral letter, to be read in all the churches, in the days of Pavelić and the Germans, against those terrible massacres of Serbs in Croatia in which hundreds of thousands of women, children and menfolk lost their lives?
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 278.
  • Churchill, he is a great man. He is, of course, our enemy and has always been the enemy of Communism, but he is an enemy one must respect, an enemy one likes to have.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 323.
  • We have said, and we will always say again, that we are opposed to the intervention of foreign military forces. But which was the lesser evil? Chaos, civil war, counter-revolution, and a new world war, or an intervention by Soviet troops? … I say clearly that the first alternative was the worst thing that could have occurred, and the second, the intervention of Soviet troops, was a necessary evil.
    • Tito on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, as quoted in Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 342.
  • Comrade Khrushchev often repeats that Socialism cannot be built with American wheat. I think it can be done by anyone who knows how to do it, while a person who doesn't know how to do it cannot build Socialism even with his own wheat. Khrushchev says we live on charity received from the imperialist countries … What moral right have those who attack us to rebuke us about American aid or credits when Khruschev himself has just tried to conclude an economic agreement with America?
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 348-349.
  • To Joseph Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We've already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle... If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won't have to send another.
    • Robert Service, Stalin: A Biography (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005), p. 592.
    • Message found among the personal effects of Joseph Stalin.
  • Kosovo is now the biggest problem confronting Yugoslavia
    • Tito, as quoted in Julie Mertus' Kosovo: how myths and truths started a war (University of California Press, 1999), p. 22
  • If you saw what I see for the future in Yugoslavia, it would scare you.
    • As said to former Foreign Minister Mirko Tepavac in 1971. (Yugoslavia: A State that Withered Away, Dejan Jović, Purdue University Press, 2009, p.45)

Quotes about Tito

Alphabetized by author
  • It is difficult to know whether an independent Macedonian state would have come into existence had Tito not recognised and supported the development of Macedonian ethnicity as part of his ethnically organised Yugoslavia. He did this as a counter to Bulgaria, which for centuries had a historical claim on the area as far west as Lake Ohrid and the present border of Albania.
    • Eugene N. Borza, "Macedonia Redux", in "The Eye Expanded: life and the arts in Greco-Roman Antiquity", ed. Frances B Tichener & Richard F. Moorton, University of California Press, 1999
  • When Communist dictator Josip Broz Tito took over in 1945, he attempted to quash Serbian nationalism. He preached that there was no room for ethnic differences in the class struggle. But Serbs, suspicious of Tito's Croatian and Slovenian background, said he was giving them short shrift. To allay fears of anti-Serb chauvinism, Tito prohibited Albanian-language publications and gave Kosovo's most desirable jobs to Serbs. When Albanians staged protests in the late '60s, Tito attempted to pacify them by strengthening local government (largely dominated by Albanians) over local affairs and by restoring jobs. This satisfied no one: It was not enough to dent Albanian unemployment and just enough to rile Serbs. Following Tito's death in 1980, malcontents on both sides rioted.
    • Franklin Foer, Kosovo, Slate, March 15, 1998
  • Not all communists, however, fell into that sphere. Yugoslavia had been one of the Soviet Union's most reliable allies since the end of World War II, but its leader, Josip Broz Tito, had come to power on his own. He and his partisans, not the Red Army, had driven the Nazis out; unlike any of his other East European counterparts, Tito did not depend upon Stalin's support to remain in power. Efforts to subject him to Cominform orthodoxy caused Tito to bristle, and by the end of June, 1948, he had openly broken with Moscow. Stalin professed not to be worried. "I will shake my little finger, and there will be no more Tito." Much more than a finger shook within the Soviet Union and the international communist movement over this first act of defiance by a communist against the Kremlin, but Tito survived—and was soon receiving economic assistance from the United States. The Yugoslav dictator might be a “son-of-a-bitch,” the new American secretary of state, Dean Acheson, acknowledged astringently in 1949, but he was now “our son-of-a-bitch.”  
  • The views of Tito and his associates showed from the very beginning that they were far from being “hard-line Marxists”, as the bourgeoisie calls the consistent Marxists, but “reasonable Marxists”, who would collaborate closely with all the old and new bourgeois and reactionary politicians of Yugoslavia.
  • I must really say that he is a veteran Communist, this Herr Josip Broz, a consistent man. Unfortunately he is our enemy. He really has earned his title of Marshal. When we catch him we shall do him in at once; you can be sure of that; he is our enemy. But I wish we had a dozen Titos in Germany... The man had nothing at all. He was between the Russians, the British and Americans for a ride and to shit on them in the most comical way. He is a Moscow man … He has never capitulated.
    • Heinrich Himmler, as quoted in Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 247.
  • The emergence of the strong state went hand in hand with its increasing monopoly over the use of force and violence within its borders. If you refuse to pay taxes, set your neighbour’s house on fire or ignore the summons to do military service, a strong state will lay hands on you and often your property as well and you will be punished and even, sometimes, executed. The peoples of Yugoslavia lived together peacefully if not always happily under Tito’s firm rule because, as a Croat put it, ‘every hundred yards we had a policeman to make sure we loved each other very much’. When Tito died and his Communist Party fell to pieces, the different ethnicities in Yugoslavia, urged on by unscrupulous demagogues, turned on each other. We may see the state as oppression incarnate, but we should think for a moment what it is like to live where there is no state power. The Samoans and the New Guinea highlanders once knew that and the unfortunate people of the failed states of Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan know it today.
  • Can a convict like Josip Broz, who is listed with the Zagreb police under No.10434, alias leader of the Communists under the name of Tito, be compared with the Yugoslav army as a national fighter? … The plunderer of churches and convict Josip Broz, a locksmith's assistant?
    • Draža Mihailović, as quoted in Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 194.
  • It was from Tito that I drew inspiration while searching for the best road to take and when making crucial decisions during our liberation struggle. I often thought, what would Tito do at that moment?
    • Robert Mugabe, as quoted in Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 400.
  • Yugoslavia is, along with Iran, the only nation which, under difficult circumstances... stood up to Joseph Stalin. It was not easy to unify the ethnic groups, to modernize a nation like Yugoslavia, and one must recognise that marshal Tito has fulfilled an extraordinary task. God willing, his successors will show themselves to be just as capable.
  • Tito had not enjoyed living in Moscow, with the constant prospect that he might be the next Yugoslav Communist to be arrested; but one aspect of life in the Soviet Union appealed to him. He had found that in the higher ranks of the party it was possible to combine loyal service to the Communist cause with good living. The leading party officials indulged in heavy eating and drinking and loud parties, though Djilas may well be right in thinking that they drank as much as they did in order to forget their fears of the NKVD. He was said that in Stalin's circle of friends they all enjoyed wine and song, but not women. Tito wanted women as well as wine and song.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 152.
  • Tito did not like Ceauşescu personally, because when they went hunting wild boars together, Ceauşescu cheated and broke the rules. He once took a shot at a boar, and having missed it, fired at it a second time after the boar had moved out of Ceauşescu's and into Tito's field of fire. Tito then killed the boar with his first shot, but Ceauşescu falsely claimed that he too had hit the boar with his shot. 'In that case, your shot must have gone up the hole under the boar's tail,' said Tito sarcastically. When they went hunting together again a few year later, Ceauşescu again claimed to have killed a boar when it was in fact Tito who had shot it.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 353.
  • Since the recent events in Bosnia, Tito has sometimes been criticized for creating a Muslim nation. He had three reasons for doing so. It fitted in with his policy of checks and balances to strengthen the Muslims against the stronger power of the Serbs; it went well with his foreign policy of alliance with the Non-aligned Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa; and he hoped he could weaken Muslim fundamentalism if it became accepted that it was possible for a Muslim not to be a fundamentalist or indeed any kind of Muslim in religion, but a Communist atheist by doctrine and a Muslim by nationality. He knew that he would get no support from Muslim fundamentalism, even before the Ayatollah Khomeini denounced him as an atheist persecutor of Islam.
    • Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 400.
  • But the West has now tipped the balance very heavily against Serbia, as if she is to blame for everything. But it's not the Serbs or Croats or Bosnians who are guilty. In Yugoslavia the problems began for the same reason as in the U.S.S.R. The communists--they had Tito, we had Lenin and Stalin--charted out arbitrary, ethnically nonsensical and historically unjustifiable internal administrative boundaries, and for years moved inhabitants from one region to another. And when--also in the period of a few days--Yugoslavia began to fall apart, the leading powers of the West, with inexplicable haste and irresponsibility, rushed to recognize these states within their artificial borders. Therefore, for the exhausting, bloody war which is today convulsing the unfortunate peoples of the former Yugoslavia, the leaders of the Western powers must share the blame with Tito.
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