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Published on Jun 23, 2014
Marshal Tito [1892-1980] was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman, serving in various roles from 1943 until his death. During World War II he was the leader of the Partisans, often regarded as the most effective resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Europe. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was seen by most as a benevolent dictator due to his successful economic and diplomatic policies (simultaneously 'playing-off' East against West) and was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, undoubtedly fuelled by defiance of his contemporary Joseph Stalin. Viewed as a unifying symbol in the Balkans, his internal policies successfully maintained the peaceful coexistence of the nations of the Yugoslav federation. He also gained international respect as the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, working with Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Sukarno of Indonesia. Without his capacity for realpolitik, combined with the end of the Cold War, Yugoslavia fell into a series of tragic and vicious sectarian conflicts during the 1990s.