Josip Broz Tito was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman, serving in various roles from 1943 until his death in 1980. During World War II he was the leader of the Partisans, often regarded as the most effective resistance movement in occupied Europe. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was seen by most as a benevolent dictator due to his economic and diplomatic policies. He was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad. Viewed as a unifying symbol, Tito’s internal policies maintained the peaceful coexistence of the nations of the Yugoslav federation. From 1943 until his death, he held the rank of Marshal of Yugoslavia, serving as the supreme commander of the Yugoslav military, the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). Tito was the chief architect of the second Yugoslavia, a socialist federation that lasted from 1943 to 1991-92. Despite being one of the founders of Cominform, soon he became the first Cominform member to defy Soviet hegemony and the only one to manage to leave Cominform and begin with its own socialist program. Tito was born on May 7, 1892 and died on May 4, 1980.
One detail from Tito’s life that particularly fascinates me is his top-secret underground nuclear bunker in present-day Bosnia. I am a sucker for subterranean lairs, bomb shelters and the like. And this guy was way into them. According to The Telegraph: “In the early 1950s, Josip Broz Tito, the late leader of the former Yugoslavia, ordered the building of a secret bunker that would safeguard the country’s ruling class in case of a nuclear attack. Located 900 feet (270 m) underground, near the Bosnian town of Konjic, the 26-year project was only completed in 1979, the year before Tito died, and it was built at a cost equivalent to just under £3 billion ($4.6 billion). According to AP, if restocked with supplies it would still serve its purpose – allowing 350 people to live and work for six months without ever coming outside.”