Communism in Yugoslavia

Josep Broz Tito

With an irregular campaign and a secret ballot, on 11th of November 1945, The Communist Party, lead by Josip Broz Tito, won the elections in Yugoslavia, bringing communism as the new political  regime.  This description sounds like the ideal representation of implementing the communist orthodoxy, however the alliance with mother URSS and Stalin started easily to fall apart until it broke in the summer of 1948. In the time which Yugoslavia considered themselves allies of Moscow, they considered Yugoslavia a satellite and often treated as such. A rough exchange of letters started with the Soviet Unit and ended up with the expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Cominform.

This separation lead to economically and politically isolation in the Eastern Bloc, also the Stalinist Yugoslavs started different rebellions and acts of sabotage against the government which were cracked down very easy by the security services. The Soviet Union did not stay away, military units were sent from Hungary which left Tito no choice and he had to ally with the US.


In the years that followed, a big number of reforms change the state in three major directions: rapid liberalisation and decentralisation of the country’s political system, the institution of a new, unique economic system, and a diplomatic policy of non-alignment.

A new variant of socialism, called informally Titoism was implemented.  Also significant economic reforms were started at the period, helped along by western aid, revived Yugoslavia and created an economic boom. Employment doubled between 1950 and 1964, with unemployment falling to 6% in 1961. Despite the new mass of industrial laborers, the annual increase in wages was 6.2% per year, while industrial productivity increased by 12.7% annually. Exports of industrial products, led by heavy machinery, transportation machines (e.g. shipbuilding industry), and military technology, rose dramatically by a yearly increase of 11%. All in all, the annual growth of the gross domestic product all through to the early 1980s averaged 6.1%. Literacy was increased dramatically and reached 91%, medical care was free on all levels, and life expectancy was 72 years.

After Tito’s death on the 4th of May 1980, the Yugoslav government began to make a course away from communism as it attempted to transform to a market economy under the leadership of Ante Markovic. Marković was popular as he was seen as the most capable politician to be able to transform the country to a liberalized democratic federation, later on he lost his popularity mainly due to rising unemployment. His work was left incomplete as Yugoslavia broke apart in the 1990s.

Tensions between the republics and nations of Yugoslavia intensified from the 1970s to the 1980s. The causes for the collapse of the country have been associated with nationalism, ethnic conflict, economic difficulty, frustration with government bureaucracy, the influence of important figures in the country, and international politics.

After powerful civil wars, in October 1991 Croatia and Slovenia declared independence, they were followed by Macedonia in September, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 1992. Past the secession of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia was officially dissolved by its two remaining members, Serbia and Montenegro.

Eduard Vasile


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