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The Award for Biggest Political Brass Balls of All Time Goes To...

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DivinBreuvage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 09:51 PM
Original message
The Award for Biggest Political Brass Balls of All Time Goes To...
Marshall Josip Broz Tito, the late dictator of Yugoslavia. He was the one Eastern European head of state who repeatedly dared to pursue his own agenda for his country in flagrant defiance of Stalin's orders.

As punishment Stalin expelled Yugoslavia from the Cominform, imposed economic sanctions, tried to have Tito deposed and sent numerous agents to assassinate him. Not only did Tito NOT cower beneath any of this, he sent Stalin a letter which was found in the latter's desk after his death:

"Stop sending assassins to murder me... If this doesn't stop, I will send a man to Moscow and there'll be no need to send any more."

From Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 09:58 PM
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1. Titoism is an offshoot of Marxism
I forget exactly what the differences are. But I do remember discussing Tito in Political Ideology while working on my Political Science BA.
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. So the question for this poster, ignorant of Yugo history
Did Stalin stop sending assassins? That is a cool story.
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Goldmund Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I was born there...
in 1975, 5 years before his death. His personality cult extended well into the 80s.

So yeah, he stopped. But before he did that, he amassed the Red Army on the southern border of Hungaria, with intentions to attack Yugoslavia, depose Tito, and force Yugoslavia into Warsaw pact. But Tito made some backroom deals with the US, and managed to use American leverage to stop Stalin from that idea. After that, he never bothered him again.

You think Fidel is a pimp? Tito is the pimpdaddy of all pimpdaddies. He (and Yugoslavia by extension) had his cake and ate it too -- if Vietnam was an indirect victim of the Cold War, Yugoslavia was a direct beneficiary. It never joined the Warsaw pact nor the NATO. Its citizens carried what I think were the only passports that enabled you to travel both to communist and western countries. My parents spent their honeymoon in Berlin -- and the Berlin Wall meant nothing, they could go back and forth (whereas of course the very citizens of Berlin coudln't).
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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. From where I looked, Yougoslavia was a paradise (compared with
Ceausescu's Romania). I guess it's all relative, but we looked at Tito as some kind of a hero - for opposing Stalin. Not unlike some people here who are fascinated with McCain.
Moral: the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.
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tjwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Ceausescu's Romania was horrible...
...I had to go out there on occasion, and there was no TV, except for three required hour's a night, where it was Ceausescu spouting off propaganda. He was also trying to breed "super-babies", and would reward women for getting pregnant under strict experimental guidelines, the doctors also did not believe in antibiotics, as the government had branded them "evil western medicine", the hotels I stayed at always had the rooms bugged. Damn I hated those trips.
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Goldmund Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. It was.
The myth that Yugoslavia was a Stalinist dungeon and a gulag is a consequence of decades of red-baiting. Yeah, it was a one-party system and there was a lot of propaganda -- but you could travel anywhere, you could buy foreign newspapers, art didn't get censored, and after a short period after WW2 (until 1955 maybe), nobody went to jail or got killed. Times were good, since Tito was being bribed by billions of dollars of aid by both the Americans and the Russians, and Tito was wildly popular, so simply, not many people complained.
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DivinBreuvage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. It is fascinating to hear from people who actually grew up there
or who were looking at it from the perspective of inhabitants of another Eastern European country. Thank you guys for sharing!

I was in France at the time Ceaucescu got his comeuppance and even without access to tv or radio the news was everywhere. I still have a flyer for a local "Aid to Romania" group that popped up in the days after his death. For some reason the Romanian revolution seemed to have a bigger impact than the fall of the Berlin Wall, but that may have just been my skewed access to information, or perhaps it's because the execution of Ceaucescu resonated with me more. It was a shocking, breathtaking event.

As someone who grew up in America during the latter decades of the Cold War I have often wondered how much of what I've been told of life in those godless red parts of the world is true and how much is an unadulterated lie.
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AZCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
8. He had quite an interesting start...
My dad loaned me a book a couple of years back written by this crazy Scot - Fitzroy MacLean - called "Eastern Approaches."

MacLean was parachuted into Yugoslavia by the British government in WW2 to assist Tito with resisting the Germans and the Slavs that were fighting with Hitler. He spent a decent amount of time with Tito and his advisors, and his portrayal of Tito is (IMO) worth reading.

It's about a third of the book (the last third). MacLean had to travel back and forth from Ally-controlled areas to Yugoslavia and back, trying to convince the Allies to aid Tito with supply drops and men. Churchill finally decides to assist (in a surreal episode involving a midnight showing of a Mickey Mouse movie) and explains his reasoning.

Very interesting stuff.
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SeveneightyWhoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
9. Thanks for this..
Interesting thread.
I didn't know anything about this guy, now I'm reading up on him.
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