When Tito was resisting Stalin/Soviet rule, according to the Wikipedia article on Tito:

An invasion of Yugoslavia was planned to be carried out in 1949 via the combined forces of neighbouring Soviet satellite states of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania, followed by the subsequent removal of Tito's government.

But this invasion does not seem to have taken place. Why not? The article doesn't seem to explain.

  • 1
    Because Tito's partisans met Soviet forces at the border with sings in Russian stating clearly "Right turn only, comrade; no through traffic". – Pieter Geerkens Apr 16 at 13:14
  • 1
    I had an office-mate, an old Serbian, who in his youth spent his military service not in cozier barracks but in a dirty trench, overlooking the Hungarian border, waiting for this invasion. Tito would not make things easy for uncle joe. – Luiz Apr 16 at 13:51
  • 1
    @Luiz - indeed, and Tito (and many others) had already shown the Germans quite a bad time just a few years previously. Any dreams that marching in and replacing Tito would be easy or fast were more likely to turn into nightmares. – Jon Custer Apr 16 at 13:58
  • 5
    Possible duplicate of Why didn't Stalin use force to bring Tito into line? – Ne Mo Apr 16 at 15:27
  • 1
    Yugoslavia wasn't part of the Eastern Bloc as the title suggests, but part of the Non-Aligned Movement. – nwellnhof Apr 16 at 22:18

The main Wikipedia article on the Tito–Stalin split is not quite as definitive about the alleged invasion plans, saying simply that:

Between 1948 and 1952, the Soviet Union encouraged its allies to rebuild their military forces—especially Hungary, which was to be the leading force in a possible war against Yugoslavia.

The 2005 paper War on Tito's Yugoslavia? The Hungarian Army in Early Cold War Soviet Strategy appears to cast doubt on the suggestion that the Soviet-bloc actually planned to invade Yugoslavia in 1949. It notes that:

"Béla Király, Commander-in-chief of the Infantry of the Hungarian army in 1949-1950, claims that Stalin had made a decision to resolve the conflict by military force"

and that

"The attack had allegedly been planned from 1949 onwards, and the huge military build-up, exercises and the final war game on the basis of the “actual plan of attack” were concluded by the spring of 1951."

The reason that the plans were shelved was that, according to Király,

"... after the forceful answer of the United States to the North Korean attack on South Korea, the Soviet leadership thought better of their plan and quietly abandoned it after 1951."

Indeed, on 14 November 1951, President Harry S. Truman did ask Congress to approve military and economic aid to Yugoslavia.

However, that paper actually concludes, based primarily on declassified documents from both sides of the Iron Curtain, that

"the Hungarian military was not preparing for an invasion on Yugoslavia as Király claimed."

Although it does so with the important caveat that:

"... the archives responsible for defence policy in Moscow have partly or completely denied researchers access to their holdings for the period under discussion"

  • 3
    TLDR: The Korean War – axsvl77 Apr 16 at 17:34
  • @axsvl77 Yep, presuming that the invasion had actually been planned in the first place ... – sempaiscuba Apr 16 at 19:36
  • 3
    It worth to add that e.g Hungary is a smaller country that just lost a world war with a significantly smaller military than Yugoslavia had, so even if the Soviets can push the country to war, they needed substantial support for any kind of success. – Greg Apr 17 at 3:33
  • @Greg That is a fair point (although how much that would have been a factor in Stalin's planning is another question). – sempaiscuba Apr 17 at 3:43

Why did the rest of the Eastern Bloc not invade Yugoslavia?

Short Answer:

Yugoslavia was backed by NATO and had a pretty significant armed forces of his own.

Detailed Answer:

Tito was a master of playing the West against the East and visa versa. His country was the only communist country to take part in the Marshal plan and receive aid from the Soviet Union at the same time.

Why didn't the Soviet Union invade Yugoslavia.

First, Yougoslavia was a defacto NATO member. Yugoslavia formed the Balkin Pact with Greece and Turkey. Which pledged each to come to the other's defense in the case of Soviet invasion. Given Greece and Turkey were NATO countries this effectively placed Yugoslavia under NATO's security umbrella without the provocative move of actually formally admitting Communist Yugoslavia to the alliance.

Secondly, Yugoslavia wasn't a pushover. They had fought a long and bloody civil war which overlapped with WWII. They had given Hitler and Mussolini all they could handle and then some during WWII and Stalin wouldn't lightly involve himself in a war which he might not win.

The combination of both were enough of a deterrent to keep Stalin from invading. Although the Soviet Yugoslavian relationship definitely saw its strains.

  • 1
    The question is asking about events from 1949. Truman didn't ask Congress to approve military and economic aid to Yugoslavia until November 1951 (the US aid to Yugoslavia was never actually part of the Marshall Plan), and the Balkan Pact wasn't signed until 1953. – sempaiscuba Apr 17 at 23:42
  • The question doesn't mention 1949 and the Informbiro period characterized by the split or schism between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia where war was threatened was from 1948-1955. – JMS Apr 17 at 23:53
  • 1
    The quote in the question explicitly mentions 1949: "An invasion of Yugoslavia was planned to be carried out in 1949 via the combined forces of neighbouring Soviet satellite states of ...". The wider question has already been asked and answered on another question Why didn't Stalin use force to bring Tito into line?, while this question is asking about a specific (uncited) claim on Wikipedia. – sempaiscuba Apr 17 at 23:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.