Updated:03/27/2020 01: 53h
For Yosif Stalin, the Yugoslav President Josip BrozBetter known as “Titus,” he was in principle just another local leader whom he could easily dominate. A branch that, as he himself pointed out, would bend at the moment in which the Kremlin move a finger. However, during the Cold War He discovered that he could be a tough and annoying adversary willing to maintain a personalist policy behind the back of the USSR. In the end, the Supreme Comrade became so obsessed with him that he ordered the NKVD that would end his life.
Historians have put the number of assassination attempts Stalin organized against Marshal Tito at 22. All of them failed. The insistence on ending his life reached such absurd heights that the military man himself sent a secret letter to the Soviet leader in which he warned him that, if he continued his campaign, he would also hire a hitman who would order him to a visit. An executor «Quick” what “would not fail». The red leader, according to investigator Simon Sebag, was so terrified of this message that he hid it in his personal safe and could only be found after his death.
Not even the tense break between Iosif Stalin Y Leon Trotsky, nor the hatred that was generated between the Supreme Comrade and Nikolái Bujarin (who ended up being prosecuted and executed by the same man whom, in other years, he had called a friend). For Ellis M. Zacharias, Deputy Director of United States Naval Intelligence who died in the 1960s, the most serious gap ever opened within Communism was that of Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia with the Soviet Union after World War II. This is stated by the also American admiral in his work “Secret History of the Cold War”, reissued in 2017.
Tensions between the two began already in the last death throes of World War II. And it is that, while the Red Army liberated without aid an infinity of capitals of Eastern and Central Europe, the same did not happen with Yugoslavia. There, in Belgrade, the real resistance against the invader had been carried out by the communist party itself Titus. The military, in fact, knew himself a key piece in regional politics and knew the roots that his figure had in part of the population. That made, after the end of the conflict, he felt a couple of Iosif Stalin, and not a mere puppet of the Moscow regime.
This is confirmed by the professor at UNED Maria Casanova in your dossier Tito’s Yugoslavia. The failure of a Multinational State ». In his words, “at the end of the war, Tito controlled the military and political apparatus and promoted the creation of a Popular front that, in the elections of November 11, he obtained 90.48% of the votes ». In this way, on November 29, 1945, he proclaimed the Federal Democratic People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, controlled by the Communist Party.
The Marshal, who had already disobeyed Stalin during World War II (when he refused to carry out the order to fight alongside Draza Mihajlovic(which the USSR and the Allies considered the legitimate head of the armed struggle in the region) thus began a series of movements that sought, from the outset, the greatness of Yugoslavia. All this, at the cost of looking away from the USSR. Although, yes, without de facto attacking the Russians. “Tito did not question Soviet hegemony, but, despite accepting financial aid and the arrival of advisers from the USSR, he undertook a very personal policy,” reveals the author.
The tensions between the two ended materializing from 1947, year in which Stalin created the Kominform, At the official level, an organizing committee of the main communist parties in Europe, but, in practice, a control system for them. Titus, from the first moment, declared himself independent and once again obviated the authority of Stalin. As he had already stated in 1944 when the allies were dividing Europe, he considered his country as an independent entity far from both the capitalist and the Soviet blocs.
As of 1947 the differences multiplied. “The divergences between Tito and Stalin were increasing: the Trieste problem that Tito claimed, a problem that would not be solved until 1954, the project to establish a Balkan federation with Bulgaria, sending Yugoslav troops to Albania to strengthen their borders with Greece and his support for the Greek communists, opposed Stalin who viewed Tito’s excessive independence with suspicion, “added the expert in her dossier.
The spark between them jumped, as expected, soon after. In March 1948, Stalin I call Titus and his government to Moscow and urged him to abandon that personalist policy. From then on, he insisted, he would report to the supreme committee and follow orders from the Kremlin. The marshal, in response, broke off relations with Iosif. “As much as each of us loves the USSR, the land of socialism, we must in no way love our country less, which is also a way of developing socialism,” he said.
The USSR, for its part, did not stand idly by. Instantly, he withdrew all financial aid to Yugoslava and ordered his political and military advisers to return to the Kremlin. In this way, Stalin materialized what he had already affirmed to the rest of the Soviet territories in 1929: “Either you fulfill the demands of the Party, in which case it will welcome you with open arms, or you will not fulfill it, in which case you cannot censor anyone but yourselves.
In Europe and the United States, that affront was considered a Yugoslav victory. David had just stoned Goliath. From then on the madness of a Stalin was unleashed who, as the historian well explains Norman M. Naimark in his work “Stalin and the Fate of Europe: The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty”Until then, he had always boasted that, with the flick of a finger, the marshal would be destroyed.
Naimark, as well as many other historians, are in favor of which Stalin condemned Tito to death and ordered the NKVD, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, its elimination. Simultaneously, he began an intense propaganda campaign against the marshal with the aim of changing the opinion that the USSR had about him. The aim was that he would cease to be “the glorious Slavic who had confronted the fascist beasts” to become a “scoundrel” who, “with his clique”, had betrayed the ideas of the Kremlin.
Stalin’s obsession with ending Tito’s life was extreme. Last 2012, the historian Joze Pirjeve public “Titus», An essay in which he quantified the assassination attempts of the Supreme Comrade at 22. All of them failed. In “Written in History”, Simon Sebag is also a supporter of the fact that he “commissioned the Yugoslav president to be assassinated, but his assassins failed again and again.” In the end, and in the words of this last investigator, the repeated plans of the Supreme Comrade led him to send him the following letter:
Stop sending people to kill me! We have already captured five assassins: one with a bomb, the other with a rifle … If you do not stop sending me assassins, I will send one to Moscow very quickly who, of course, will not need to send another ».
Sebag claims that the letter “terrified the most terrifying leader of modern times” to such an extent that he hid it in his personal safe. In fact, the missive was only found after the death of the Supreme Comrade.
For his part, Joze Pirjeve completes this curious anecdote with an equally striking episode. In his words, when Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev met with the marshal in 1955, he apologized for the repeated assassination attempts. You did well to protect yourself. You had good guards and spies who informed you of what we were planning. The Yugoslav replied wryly: ‘Stalin knew he was well protected. After many warnings that I would also send him assassins, he was obviously a little scared.