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Detail of Biography - Josip Broz(Tito)
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Josip Broz(Tito)
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Birth Date :
25/05/1892
Birth Place :
Zagorje
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Biography - Josip Broz(Tito)
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Nature is mysterious. Look at an egg, not larger than the head of a pin, it turns into a larva in matter of few days and into a cocoon, that encompasses the caterpillar. Keep tracing it and you will be surprised at what you see. An unexplainable force breaks the cocoon, giving birth to something even more beautiful – a butterfly. With the same force operating at an unperceivable level, some men too get transformed from just a common man to scale the heights of possibility.
Josip Broz has been such a man, who underwent a literal ‘metamorphosis’, rising from a peasant, to a skilled engineer, into a brave soldier. The soldier turned into a rebel activist, finally emerging as the President of Yugoslavia, ruling it for more than three decades, until his death.
Yugoslavia as we know it today had no existence just a century ago. It was the key role played by Marshal Tito (Josip Broz) and his co-activists that gave birth to a free Yugoslavia. Scattered states of Eastern Europe, were caught in a political chaos. But as nature’s rule, chaos is the first sign of new order, so also the Croat and Slov states were led to a new order, with the efforts of Marshal Tito
Birth
Zagorje, a beautiful village of Croatia which was surrounded by hills, was mostly populated with peasants. Suppressed by the landlord, a common peasant’s life was full of hardships and struggles in Zagorje and in similar villages surrounding it. Franjo Broz was one of the 200 people who inhabited the village. His life with his wife and 15 children was certainly hard. Feeding 15 children from the land he owned was a difficult task. Eight of them could not survive the vagaries of nature in infancy. Of those who survived, one was Josip Broz, born on May 25, 1892, the seventh child.
Family Background
Franjo Broz was a simple peasant who owned a little land in Zagorje in region of the Slovene mountains. It was believed that the Broz family, settled in Zagorje, had ancestral roots in Dalmatia. As with most other people belonging to his race, Broz, was a tall, well-built man with a tanned complexion. His wife, the mother of young Tito and his siblings, was a Slovene.
Her name was Marija and she was a devoted Christian, who believed in morals and ethics. Thus inspiring all her children to stand up for truth and the right path; this particularly helped young Josip to develop into a man of self-discipline, which helped him survive the struggles and challenges of later years. But there was one thing about his mother that Josip questioned in his early years : His mother’s devout nature and zest for ritual-based religion and liking for sermons.
Childhood
Josip, as a child was raised in an atmosphere that promoted folk songs and country music, giving his personality a facet of sensitivity. On the other extreme, was his interest in highly physical activities like swimming, climbing, playing in the woods and often going for hunting birds and small beasts in the forest. Young Josip loved to lose himself in the beautiful hills that were in clear view in front of his house and into the beauty of the valley. Nature had one of the strongest influences in his childhood days.
Josip was simple by nature and an independent thinker. While his mother was much influenced by Catholic views, Josip would confront everyone who talked and behaved contrary to what logic and clear thinking stated. He would bravely oppose people who relied on priests. At times it would be clearly evident to him that in the name of religion, priests, rabbis and others exploited his mother and other peasants, and on such occasions, he expressed his annoyance in a frank and fearless manner.
"I don’t know if some Almighty exists or not, but if at all he exists, we need not fear him," said Josip to his brother on a particular occasion. Once his mother gave him some money and told him to give it to some specific priest.
Knowing his dislike for priests, his mother warned him to hand over the money to the priest and not to waste it. She also threatened him that if he used that money for some wrong purpose he would be punishd by God. As he ran into the streets with the money in hand, one of his younger brothers followed him. Josip told his brother that he didn’t believe in the threats and that he was going to buy some sweets.
Josip bought sweets with that money and ate them with all pleasure. Nothing happened. Josip believed that there was no point in being afraid of some imperceptible being that may be just hypothetical. On another occasion, a priest caught him doing some mischief in the local church. He walked back and ran from the church, never to return.
Fearlessness was a trait he nurtured all his life and this trait helped him live life the way he wanted to. Bold and active, Josip took part and often shined in most outdoor activities. Sports and games were his favorite activities, and he enjoyed the fights that came as a routine consequence of their games with Slovene boys living on the other side of the hills. Although his mother was a Slovene, he used to fight with the Slovene boys from the neighboring villages, because as playmates they were rivals. In spite of all the rivalry, he loved to visit his maternal grandfather in those same neighboring villages and they would have long and energetic conversations together
The Guerrilla Attacks
Josip had the qualities of a leader in him even as a child. He was the ringleader of his own band of friends whom he often used to lead into adventurous expeditions. The 'expedition' would usually consist of raiding a fruit orchard. They used to be successful on most occasions and would often come back with a few apples. Perhaps this period helped him know the nuts and bolts of organizing guerrilla attacks – something that he indulged in later years as a social democrat.
School Life
Josip was never a shining star in school. Academic education did not lure him, but he did love reading. He believed in education that imparted hands-on skills rather than a senseless routine that would transform people into bookworms. Out of sheer desperation for acquiring engineering skills, he was determined to complete his study. But his parents, particularly his father, didn’t like the idea. Franjo was a typical peasant and always advised Josip to mind farms rather than school. Josip bargained a few hours of fieldwork to earn his school hours, sacrificing his playtime.
Josip compensated his playtime by an activity that he loved a lot. As peasants living on the countryside, they had horses and looking after them was a routine, which he did enthusiastically. Often he would go on a ride, riding a bareback horse to the hillside.
Josip loved most domestic animals. Polak, a sheep dog was his pet. Love for animals and nature molded him into an empathetic human being.
Getting On His Feet
Josip was once contemplating on the course of his life, sitting under a tree on a hill. As he looked to the endless evening sky he desperately thought of doing something to support his needs. The life of a peasant was not what he wanted. He came to the conclusion that if he ever wanted to live life his own way, there would be only one way – to go outside the village and get financially independent.
A cousin who was standing nearby watched Josip closely as his body straightened, his jaws tightened, and his fingers curled inwards to form a fist, as he got up. His body language clearly reflected the determination that his mind had decided on. He was ready to leave the village and 'stand on his feet' as one might say.
His cousin helped him get a job in a nearby town, Sisak, as an apprentice waiter. Washing dishes and dealing with patrons at the restaurant, he dreamt of owning such a place some day in future, to relish all the good food he liked.
There were many other youngsters in Sisak who had left the security of the shore to sail in search of treasure. Unlike Josip, most of them were apprentices in engineering units. Josip was already inclined towards the work of an engineer so it was not hard for his friends to persuade him that dishwashing was not what he was meant for, instead he should try some engineering job.
He too thought that he would do better as a mechanic than as a dishwasher.
Engines, locomotives, railway yards, heavy engineering workshops and big machinery attracted Josip in Sisak. For the first time he saw a railway engine; the scenario looked quite alluring to him. One day he appeared in a workshop of Master Karas, a prominent locksmith, respected in the Sisak’s engineering circle for his precision work. Karas himself was in need of a mechanic and he quite readily agreed to employ this energetic and active youngster. Josip joined Master Karas’s machine shop as an apprentice locksmith. The smart and determined youngster was learning to deal with locks and keys, and he would eventually go on to make a key to open the doors to a better future for him and his country.
Years as an Apprentice
Josip Broz had paved a new way that led to the engineering workshops. He decided to become a skilled engineer. But engineering was not as easy in those days. An engineer had to have knowledge of all branches. In spite of it, Josip decided to take up the engineering worker’s course, specially meant for apprentices. A peasant’s child got moulded into a hardworking engineering worker. He worked more than 12 hours a day at Karas’s machine shop and then went to a night school imparting the theoretical knowledge.
He was now on his own. Apart from the apprenticeship, he got occasional tips from customers. And all that money invariably got used up in books. Books about scientific inventions, history, literature or often some thrillers.
Josip Broz was on his way to finish the three-year apprentice course, and continued to work at Master Karas’s machine shop. He was a popular guy among the workers. He used to read books while on work at the locksmith’s shop, and other apprentices warned him against reading. One day a blunder occurred. Josip was reading a Sherlock Holmes novel on his workbench in the machine shop when Karas entered. While Karas watched Josip immersed in a book, a drill broke because of Josip’s neglect. Karas’ temper exploded on young Josip. It was quite humiliating for him and he left the place. Only three months had remained to finish the course, and here he was, out of the machine shop, with an end to his career. But Karas, a mature man, traced Josip and advised him to save his career. Fortunately for Josip, he was under someone who cared for him. He was back on the job with Master Karas.
Years as an Apprentice
Josip Broz had paved a new way that led to the engineering workshops. He decided to become a skilled engineer. But engineering was not as easy in those days. An engineer had to have knowledge of all branches. In spite of it, Josip decided to take up the engineering worker’s course, specially meant for apprentices. A peasant’s child got moulded into a hardworking engineering worker. He worked more than 12 hours a day at Karas’s machine shop and then went to a night school imparting the theoretical knowledge.
He was now on his own. Apart from the apprenticeship, he got occasional tips from customers. And all that money invariably got used up in books. Books about scientific inventions, history, literature or often some thrillers.
Josip Broz was on his way to finish the three-year apprentice course, and continued to work at Master Karas’s machine shop. He was a popular guy among the workers. He used to read books while on work at the locksmith’s shop, and other apprentices warned him against reading. One day a blunder occurred. Josip was reading a Sherlock Holmes novel on his workbench in the machine shop when Karas entered. While Karas watched Josip immersed in a book, a drill broke because of Josip’s neglect. Karas’ temper exploded on young Josip. It was quite humiliating for him and he left the place. Only three months had remained to finish the course, and here he was, out of the machine shop, with an end to his career. But Karas, a mature man, traced Josip and advised him to save his career. Fortunately for Josip, he was under someone who cared for him. He was back on the job with Master Karas.
First Encounter
If one would have looked at Josip working in the machine shop, he would have in no way could have made even a guess to where destiny would eventually lead him. But what seemed to be trivial events when looked in isolation, collectively cleared his way to the nation’s top position. In the first series of events, he met a foreman who had recently arrived from Zagreb. That was his first encounter with one of the Socialist elements. The foreman told him about May 1, which was chosen as a day of workers all over the world, and that they too shall celebrate the day by bringing flowers and green branches to decorate their workshop. Schmidt, the new foreman explained that it was a symbol of the movement of Social Democracy, which was carried by the workers who protested against the exploitation by capitalists, priests, and landlords. The whole idea appealed to Josip as he had seen the local priests exploit the peasants in his village.
For the first time Josip got interested in social democracy. But he was too young to get the Trade Union card, and enter the Social Democratic party. There was no option but to wait until he became eligible to join the party.
Worklessness
Competence and skills do not always assure work. That was the case with Josip Broz when he finished apprenticeship.
He expected to get work and wanted to pave his career as an engineering worker: he could not.
When he returned to his native Zagorje for Christmas, people were waiting to see a well-settled young man in Josip. But everyone was surprised to find him in an old second-hand coat.
On a beautiful sunny day in the waxing winter after Christmas, Josip was relaxing in his backyard soaking in the gentle rays of the sun. His parents were discussing something, unaware of Josip’s presence. Josip heard his mother telling his father that for a youngster like Josip, with a technical background, it’s disgusting to stay at home in a small village and ruin his time.
His mother’s words struck him like an arrowhead dipped in venom and smashed his sense of self-worth. The sun was yet approaching the zenith, but Josip had made up his mind to leave the place before the sun disappeared in the depths of the valley. His father supported his decision and offered him a lift to a nearby town.
Josip began to walk after his father dropped him at Reichenberg. Adding to the sound of his boots, was the sound of his only possession – 10 crowns in his pocket. But the crowns fled from his pocket soon, used up in lodging and boarding purpose when he reached Ljubljana in search of work. He searched every factory, every engineering unit that was in Ljubljana but couldn’t find work. The circumstances were difficult enough to discourage any man, but here was a man in search of self-reliance, marching towards more difficult fronts to conquer them.
This teenager, walking all alone on a snow-covered road leading to Trieste, passing through forests and clearing his way through mountains, was taken by surprise when a cow tried to attack him on the path to Trieste from Ljubljana. There was no work in Trieste either. Finally he decided to move to Zagreb. His hopes were melting in the heat of struggle. But as they say "It is darkest before dawn", he managed all throughout the dark phase into a new dawn in Zagreb. He not only got a job but something that interested him.
Working on precision instruments, which worked to one ten thousandth of an inch was a dream come true for Josip. He was happy to find work in the machine shop of Master Knaus. The pay was good, and the work was what he longed for. The youngster, who had a second-hand suit on Christmas, was back on Easter wearing a new suit.
The Sprouting Leader
Happily relieved by his Master Knaus for further growth, Josip took up a few other jobs, harnessing his technical skills in various works like railway yards, shipbuilding yards and many more. Transiting for better future, he dropped in Czechoslovakia and worked at Rhur. But he was eager to work on a bigger stage: Vienna. He saved money for the journey he would have to make for Vienna.
Vienna in those days was not just a big industrial centre, but also a political crucible. Destiny was preparing its ground for taking Josip to another stage of metamorphosis, by transforming Josip into Tito, the Social Democrat. By the time he reached Vienna, he had enough exposure in all engineering works, and had become a skilled, seasoned worker. He immediately got a job as mechanic and test-driver. Among the group of average mechanics, most of whom were peasants turned mechanics, it didn’t take long for Josip to establish his unique identity. Superlative technical skills, thorough knowledge of engineering concepts and, like a cherry on the cake, was his proficiency in speaking German, something that separated him from most of his other workers. His fellow workers accepted him as their leader, largely because of his versatility in engineering works and to a good extent by his revolutionary views on social democracy. At the age of 20, in 1912, Josip became a trade unionist, as he was then eligible to get the card of trade union. He also became an active member of the Social Democratic party.
The Call From The Army
Josip’s career as an engineering worker was intercepted by a call from the Army. In the Europe of the early part of the 20th century, military service was mandatory for all physically able males. Josip too was called in for military service with the Austria-Hungarian army. He was a man who firmly believed that if you can’t get into something, get out of it completely; however, if you happen to get into something, get in to it completely. Now, he was in the military and he decided to put in all he had. He stood second in the all-Army competition and became the youngest Sergeant Major in the Army.
The Call From The Army
Josip’s career as an engineering worker was intercepted by a call from the Army. In the Europe of the early part of the 20th century, military service was mandatory for all physically able males. Josip too was called in for military service with the Austria-Hungarian army. He was a man who firmly believed that if you can’t get into something, get out of it completely; however, if you happen to get into something, get in to it completely. Now, he was in the military and he decided to put in all he had. He stood second in the all-Army competition and became the youngest Sergeant Major in the Army.
Prisoner Of War
Despite the fact that Josip had penetrated deep into enemy’s territory, he didn’t like war in the first place. The truth was that he actually hated every facet of war. He couldn’t appreciate killing of any man by his fellow men. So he persuaded many of the soldiers to surrender to the Russians. But before he could put his idea into practice, the Russians attacked his troop. He got severely injured and consequently was transferred to a military hospital as a prisoner of war. He was then transferred to a small town, Alatir in a POW camp. He decided to utilize his time in the best way he could; learning Russian and reading Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kuprin, Gogol, Gorki and other Russian literature. A girl, who studied in the school in front of Broz’s camp, helped him in getting books.
Destiny favored him, as he was one of the rare lucky prisoners allowed to go out for work in the fields for a rich peasant. The peasant and his family members were generous and allowed him to read books that they had. While he was still a war prisoner, he started indulging in small gatherings and family celebrations of the Russian workers. That was a time when the air was warming up against the Tsar of Russia, and Josip was making a lot of friends among the groups that were against the Tsars. A chaos was spreading in the under currents of Russian politics and Josip could foresee a stable political creation in the making. Lenin was emerging as a strong force in that revolution, and Josip who was still an onlooker, had made up his mind to involve himself into the revolution
Tito – The Revolutionary
Tsardom came to an end with the bursting of a revolution in Russia, where Josip Broz was imprisoned. Most of the war prisoners including some dangerous criminals were released in the spirit of exhilaration that Russia was experiencing. Josip was one of such fortunates. Seeing the great revolution, he decided to stay in Russia. He could see that the place was a crucible of revolution and Tito was willing to play an active role in it.
Demonstrations were on throughout Russia and military force was put to use to suppress the revolution. The leading social revolutionaries were put to rest by the military forces. Josip too was willing to escape but was caught in suspicion of being a revolutionary. His card as a wounded war prisoner served as a trump card, and he could convince them of not being an activist. He was released, but to be caught once again. When he returned to Petrograde, the police arrested him and pushed him to Siberia. He managed to escape during one of the journeys towards another prison camp.
"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose," said Josip later in his life, and he was experiencing it to its fullest. Often moving on his feet sometimes privileged in a peasant’s cart and at other times journeying without tickets in trains, he reached Omsk. When he alighted at the Omsk station, a group of workers got friendly with him and encouraged him to join the International Red Guard, which he did. Omsk was no safe place as the Czech units were pressing from all sides, looking out for any Communist, usually to kill them. Josip was forced to go underground.
Czech officers were hunting for Josip and he was safe in the house of a 17-year-old girl that he had befriended. This man had turned his days of being underground into his stay at paradise. Josip fell in love with the beautiful teenager, Pelagea Bielousnova and married her.
Josip’s life wasn’t a bed of roses. After his marriage, he had to play hide and seek with the police. One of his favored places was a tribal village of Kirghiz. He often went there, stayed with the Kirghiz leader who was his good friend, and even dressed like the Kirghiz menfolk. Once, due to intense pressure from Czech forces, he left Omsk for the Kirghiz tribe and stayed there for long, away from his wife. Somehow he managed to reunite with his wife and was exposed to a crucial issue.
Josip had seen the crucial stage of the Russian revolution and he could have got a responsible post in the Soviet Union. But he had other plans. He wanted to carry the torch of revolution into his motherland. A convoy of war prisoners was moving back to Central and Western Europe from Russia and considering his role as a social worker, Josip was given the task of looking after the returning former war prisoners.
Josip returned home with his wife with clear intentions of playing an active role in creating a revolution, precisely giving wind to the small flames of revolution that burned. The comeback was wonderful but he still had to manage his bread and butter. He tried a few jobs and ultimately settled at Bjelorar for five years. He had resumed his trade union membership and actively led a strike in Zagreb. In the elections that followed, the Communist party gave him an important task of recruiting and training new active members. His sector did best and exhibited superb results in the election.
Josip was doing a great job for the Communist party, but was still on the periphery, far away from the center of the party. His main task was to form a Communist cell and trade union branch, organizing workers and leading them into strike if required. While Josip was giving birth to new Communist cells at various places, his wife gave birth to their first child.
The Ins And Outs
Earning bread for his family and at the same time, continuing his political activities was like riding on two horses, both going in opposite directions. To add to his troubles, he had to play a continuous game of hide and seek with the police. It was a tough time for him in the 1920s. Later in 1927, he was arrested by the police but released soon as a result of his hunger strike. One of the fellow workers was a traitor who passed some information to the police and Josip was once again in prison. This time it was worse than hell. Rats and bugs rolled over his body as he lied down. He had taken the non-violent route of hunger strike to protest against his imprisonment. Ultimately, he was released once again, just to be arrested again. This time he escaped from the prison. Full of rage against the present government, he actively took part in bloody demonstrations, riots and other revolutionary activities. During one such demonstration, policemen cornered him after a long chase. A strong case was made up against him. He was put in jail. After his lawyer’s request, he was allowed to speak for himself in court.
A court full of people waited to hear what the revolutionary Josip Broz had to say. Soon after the judge arrived, Josip spoke. He was overruled on many occasions, and annoyed by the interference. He shouted in the courtroom, "I do not recognize the authority of this court. You are applying a law that has no validity because it was never submitted to Parliament."
Josip Broz had a snap on the front page of all local newspapers the next day of his trial. His photo was highlighted accompanied by the news – six years in jail. Later he talked to his friend that he did this intentionally to glorify the Communist party. The prison years brought an end to his marriage. His wife was also active for the party. This fact made her suspicious in the eyes of the police. To save her and their child, the Communist party members managed to send her back to Russia.
Imprisonment was a blessing in disguise for Josip. To destroy the roots of the Communist party, the police had murdered many major leaders and pushed the rest into jail. Josip was a big name then for the police. Had he been out, he would have been shot dead. The courageous act of shouting in the courtroom, expressing his annoyance for the prevalent political chaos had not only saved his life, but also raised him in the eyes of party members as a national leader. Josip, the leader was shaping up.
JOSIP BROZ (MARSHAL TITO) [1892 – 1980]
Just when chaos has reached its peak, when the rule of darkness has extinguished even the faintest remnants of light, just when all hopes have been shattered; inexplicably...things start falling in their own places, giving birth to a new order and a situation that was stable than ever before. One such order was established after a political chaos in Yugoslavia at the fag end of World War II. As a post war effect, Yugoslavia was left with patches and scars on both economic and political fronts. While the nation was losing all hope, Marshal Tito emerged as a leader, who led Yugoslavia to peace and prosperity. Seldom has it occurred earlier that a poor peasant has reached the pinnacle of political power. Marshal Tito was one such human being who lifted himself from a common farmer to the President of Yugoslavia for 35 years in succession. Here is the inspiring story of the courageous man who lived for the major part of life with many barrels pointed at him from all directions, and still managed to transform Yugoslavia into a Socialist nation
May 25, 1892
Josip Broz was born in Zagorje.
1910
Went to Zagreb, Croatia; became a trade union member.
1913
Called up by the Austria–Hungarian army in World War I.
March 1915
Wounded in the war and captured by the Russians as a prisoner of war.
1917
Entered the Red Guard and took active part in Socialist demonstrations.
1920
Marriage with Pelage ja Beloussowa; returned to Yugoslavia from Russia; became a member of the Communist party of Yugoslavia.
1928
Became Provincial Committee Secretary of the party.
1929 – 1934
Imprisoned in Lepoglava and Maribor.
1938
Appointed as the Secretary General of the Communist party of Yugoslavia.
1941
Organized resistance against surrender of Yugoslav forces to German and Italian troops.
1943
Chosen as the President and got the title of Marshal Tito.
1945
Tito became the Prime Minister.
1948
Tito separated from Joseph Stalin.
1955
Nikita Khruschchev’s visit reestablished USSR’s relations with Yugoslavia.
1963
Declared as the President for lifetime.
1980
Died after intense medical treatment.
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