THE UNIVERSITY OF HULL
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICS
The Politics of Eastern Europe
WHAT WAS TITOS SEPARATE WAY?
Terence P McNeill
16 May 1995
The aim of this essay is to show how Josip Broz Tito created and maintained the socialist system in Yugoslavia, which was some kind of way between the Soviet socialism and Western capitalism. The main attention will be focused on the reasons of the Titos break with Stalin, on the origins of the separate way, and the developments of this way.
The Situation in 1945-1948
Early in November 1944, Tito, who was supreme commander of the National Liberation Army and Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) and Subasic, who was a representative of the Royal Yugoslav Government concluded a draft political agreement that elections should be held to a Constituent Assembly which would decide on the future form of the government in Yugoslavia.A new Yugoslav Provisional Government was created on 7 March 1945. Tito became the last Royal Yugoslav Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. The new government was immediately recognised by the British, American and Soviet governments.
In August 1945 the Peoples Front was formed. It was an umbrella organisation in which those non-communist parties that still existed would collaborate with the CPY. It organised a single list of candidates for the elections held on 11 November 1945 for a Constituent Assembly. About 90% of the electorate voted for the official candidates.
The first act of the Constituent Assembly was to abolish the monarchy and declare Yugoslavia a Federal Peoples Republic.
Even before that the centre of political power already was the Politburo of the CPY. From April 1945 currency reform, confiscation of the property of former collaborators, the nationalisation of most existing industry, and the strict control of rents were put into force.
The new Constitution of 31 January 1946 was based largely on the 1936 constitution of the SU. It had nationalised all industrial, commercial and financial enterprises, limited individual landholdings to 60 acres and organised the surplus agricultural land into collective farms. About 1.6 million hectares of land were expropriated.
So, in the first years of Titos government Yugoslavia was a highly centralised one-party state. The centre of political power was the Politburo of the CPY. The first Five Year Plan for 1947-1952 was published and put into effect early in 1947. With the reorganisation of federal, republican and local government to cope with the first Five Year Plan, the Yugoslav political-economic system came even closer to its Soviet model and became a single, giant, countrywide and monopolistic trust.
The Origins of the Separate Way
A few important factors and differences could be named as the origins of the Titos break with Stalin and of the evolution of Titos separate way.
The biggest difference between Yugoslavia and the other East European countries was that in Yugoslavia - and only in Yugoslavia - had the Communists established themselves in power without important assistance from the SU.Secondly, Stalin did not want to help Yugoslavia to build up a balanced economy. It suited for him better to conclude long-term agreements under which Yugoslavia bound itself to sell raw materials at low prices, and ceased to process them. Thirdly, Stalin failed to give Yugoslavia full support in its demands for the cession of Trieste from Italy.Finally, Stalins aim was to create a monolithic socialist bloc under firmer Soviet control.Stalin wished to secure in Yugoslavia a regime as obedient as any other in East Europe.
The basic issue was very simple: whether Tito or Stalin would be dictator of Yugoslavia. What stood in Stalins way was Titos and hence the Yugoslav regimes autonomous strength.
The first sign the Yugoslavs had that their relations with the SU were moving towards a serious crisis came in February 1948, when Stalin abruptly summoned high-level Yugoslav and Bulgarian delegations to Moscow. Tito sent Kardelj and Bakaric to join Djilas, who was already there for talks about Albania and Soviet military aid to Yugoslavia. But the only treaty signed was a Soviet text binding the Yugoslav government to consult with the Soviet government on all foreign policy issues.Soon after that Stalin postponed negotiations for a renewal of the Soviet-Yugoslav trade agreement which was the keystone of Yugoslav economical policy. It became clear to the Yugoslav leaders that there was no prospect of healing their rift with the SU except by accepting total subordination. At this point Tito took the conflict before the Central Committee of the CPY, on 1 March 1948. There the Politburo received a vote of confidence for their rejection of Soviet demands.
The Soviet responded after a few weeks. On 18 March they informed that Soviet military advisers and instructors in Yugoslavia were surrounded by hostility and would therefore all be withdrawn immediately. On the next day, a similar announcement was made in respect of Soviet civilian advisers.
In April Yugoslavia refused to attend the Cominform meeting. The Cominform met without the Yugoslav delegation on 28 June 1948. The CPY was condemned and it was declared that by refusing to attend the meeting the Yugoslav Communists had placed themselves outside the family of fraternal Communist Parties, outside the united Communist front, and outside the ranks of the Cominform.
Stalin took further economical and political steps to place Yugoslavia outside the Soviet Bloc. By summer 1949 deliveries to Yugoslavia had been slowed down or stopped, and by the end of the year, all trade between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Bloc has ceased. From August 1949 all countries of the Soviet Bloc denounced their treaties of friendship and mutual aid with Yugoslavia. The CPY as well as Tito had been finally excommunicated and outlawed.
The Separate Way
After the break with the Soviet Bloc there was a need to find an ideological basis for the unique Yugoslav position as a Communist nation outside the Soviet community.The Yugoslavs contended that the SU had deviated from true Marxism-Leninism as a result of an independent Communist bureaucracy created by Stalin which transformed the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship over the proletariat.
The essence of the new doctrine was that the state must wither away. The key to this development was decentralisation of the government, of the economy, and, later, of the CPY.
The essence of the decentralisation in the economy was the introduction of self-management system. First real step towards self-management was the Basic Law on the Management of State Economic Enterprises and Higher Economic Associations by the Work Collectives which came into force in June 1950. In fact, this law remained purely declaratory, until the initial operational provisions were passed in 1952-1953. Then followed an endless zigzag of constitutional, legislative, and other changes and reversals. In April 1951 the Federal Planning Commission was abolished. At the end of 1951 a new Law on the Planned Management of the National economy took force. The Soviet system of planning was abandoned. In its place the Yugoslavs introduced annual (and later medium-term) Social Plans, which at the enterprise level were no longer directive and compulsory, but indicative.
In 1951-1952 there were several efforts to free prices, and several devaluations of dinar.
The economical reforms were followed by the crucial turn in agricultural policy in early 1953, when the movement toward collectivisation was reversed and the peasants were permitted to leave the collective farms. Ever since that turn the Yugoslav agriculture has been predominantly based on individual farming.
The law of May 1949 on Peoples Committees had given greater political and economical powers to the district, as opposed to republican or federal, levels of government. An administrative reorganisation of local government units was designed to strengthen them through enlargement. The existing 7,104 local peoples committees were replaced by 3,834 communes grouped in 327 counties, plus 24 cities without county affiliations.
Administrative decentralisation was carried further. Many of the Federal Ministries responsible for the direct management of the economy were abolished. In general, the number of ministries was reduced to 19 from 34.
The role of the CPY was also reformed. The 6th Congress of the CPY met in November 1952. The redefinition of the CPY was symbolised by a change of name. The CPY became the LCY, the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The Resolution and the Statute adopted by the Congress redefined the role of the Party. The basic duty and role of Communists was poli