Tito and the Soviets

July 16, 1958

Report Outline
New Communist Attacks on Yugoslavia
Tito's Postwar Relations with Kremlin
Significance of Tito's Independent Role

New Communist Attacks on Yugoslavia

A threat by President Tito of Yugoslavia to make public secret documents alleged to prove Soviet responsibility for the execution of Imre Nagy of Hungary has brought relations of Belgrade with the Kremlin almost to the breaking point. Soviet Premier Khrushchev, addressing an East German Socialist Unity [Communist] Party congress on July 11, sharply assailed Tito and defended Stalin's rupture with Yugoslavia in 1948. At the same congress the day before, Walter Ulbricht, East German party leader, condemned Yugoslavia's “revisionism” as an “open attack on the Socialist [Communist] bloc” and warned the Yugoslavs that “the fate of the Nagy government shows where revisionism leads.” Red China's delegate called, July 12, for an “extreme fight” against Titoism.

The current Soviet offensive against the Yugoslav brand of Communism and its backers, under way since spring, assumed ominous overtones with the announcement in mid-June that Nagy and three other leaders of the Hungarian revolt of November 1956 had been put to death. Nagy was declared a traitor for supporting nationalism and revisionism—the same ideological sins for which the Yugoslavs have been assailed. At the same time, the Yugoslav embassy in Budapest, which had sheltered Nagy, was accused of conniving with him in counter-revolutionary activities. However, seizure of Nagy by the Russians when he left the embassy, after the uprising had been suppressed, breached the safe-conduct negotiated for him by the Yugoslavs with the Hungarian government of Janos Kadar. And the death sentence violated subsequent promises to Tito that Nagy would not be harmed.

Western observers have viewed the execution and the renewed attacks on Tito as part of a plan to tighten Russian control over other Communist countries. Secretary of State Dulles characterized the Soviet moves, June 17, as “another step in the reversion toward brutal terrorist methods which prevailed for a time under Stalin.” Dulles surmised that the execution of Nagy “might be a suggestion to President Tito that if he is not more compliant, he may sooner or later suffer a like fate.” Tito, for his part, has refused to be intimidated. He told veterans of his wartime partisan forces, July 4, that “We will never be broken” and that Yugoslavia “will build her life as she finds it suitable.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Russia and the Soviet Union
Jan. 13, 2017  U.S.-Russia Relations
Feb. 07, 2014  Resurgent Russia
Feb. 21, 2012  Russia in Turmoil
Jun. 06, 2008  Dealing With the "New" Russia
Jun. 17, 2005  Russia and the Former Soviet Republics
Jan. 18, 2002  U.S.-Russia Relations
May 22, 1998  U.S.-Russian Relations
May 03, 1996  Russia's Political Future
Mar. 12, 1993  Aid to Russia
Jul. 12, 1991  Soviet Republics Rebel
Nov. 03, 1989  Balkanization of Eastern Europe (Again)
Feb. 14, 1986  Gorbachev's Challenge
Jan. 07, 1983  Russia Under Andropov
Feb. 19, 1982  Soviet Economic Dilemmas
Feb. 06, 1981  Russia After Détente
Feb. 04, 1977  Sino-Soviet Relations
Feb. 20, 1976  Soviet Options: 25th Party Congress
Jun. 28, 1972  Dissent in Russia
Mar. 17, 1971  Russia's Restive Consumers
Dec. 03, 1969  Kremlin Succession
Oct. 18, 1968  Czechoslovakia and European Security
Apr. 22, 1964  Changing Status of Soviet Satellites
Jan. 29, 1964  Soviet Agriculture: Record of Stagnation
Aug. 08, 1962  Jews in Soviet Russia
Jul. 16, 1958  Tito and the Soviets
Jun. 26, 1957  Soviet Economic Challenge
Aug. 29, 1956  Restive Satellites
Mar. 11, 1955  Soviet Economic Strains
Nov. 04, 1953  Russia's European Satellites
Aug. 03, 1951  Soviet Peace Offensives
Jul. 01, 1948  Russia's War Potential
Jun. 21, 1943  Evolution of Soviet Policies
Mar. 01, 1943  Soviet Russia and the Border States
Aug. 15, 1930  The Soviet Five-Year Plan
Aug. 26, 1929  The League and the Sino-Russian Dispute
Feb. 04, 1924  The Problem of Russian Recognition
Cold War
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
War and Conflict