The Split between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in 1948 occurred due to a conflict of interest between Josip Broz Tito and Joseph Stalin, the respective leaders of the Nations. Through this essay my aim is to highlight the causes of the dispute and then discuss the consequences of the split for both the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.
The period of 1948-1955 was known as the Informbiro and the distinguishing features of this period were conflict and schism between Yugolslavia and the Soviet Union. The main causes for the Split were the implementation of the Cominform, Yugoslav role in the civil war in Greece, and the personalities of the leaders. Tito’s popularity and political position were both strengthened by his role in the liberation of Yugoslavia in World War II and also his survival of Stalin’s 1930s purges. This in turn led to the Partizan leader believing that he would be granted more political freedom in comparison to other eastern bloc states who had relied on Soviet assistance in the war. This did not prove to be the case due to the establishment of the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) in September 1947, which held the main aim of securing and ensuring faithfulness of the Satellite States. Belgrade was chosen as the permanent seat of its Secretarist and Yugoslav delegates Kardelj and Djilas were urged to play a significant role. However it very quickly became clear that the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) would be subordinate to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This soon became one of the main causes of the split as Stalin was so engrossed with ensuring conformity, uniformity, radicalisation and imitation of the USSR, that the Soviet Union began to impose itself in other Communist countries. Naturally Tito became a target and he clashed with Stalin due to his nationalistic
policies and his independent leadership style and although he was the only bloc leader who wholly supported Stalins idea of Cominform, “When Stalin demanded full Yugoslav adherence to the new economic and mutual assistance pacts, Tito balked. Enraged, Stalin claimed, ‘I will shake my little finger – and there will be no more Tito”.1 An example of Tito’s non-compliance was refusal to change the Yugoslav policy to concentrate on agriculture instead of heavy industry, as he was afraid of relying on Soviet imports. Some even believed that Stalin ordered the change to weaker the Yugoslav economy so they became dependant on the Soviet support due to the fact that he wanted to overthrow Tito. Both leaders had strong personalities and despite Tito’s loyalty to the Soviet Union it was clear he was eager to implement his own policies.
The second cause of the split between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union was Yugoslavia’s participation in the Greek Civil war. Following a failed attempt in 1944, Greek communist leaders met with Yugoslav representatives. It was arranged that Yugoslavia would assist the Greek uprising and...