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.

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    Because Tito's partisans met Soviet forces at the border with sings in Russian stating clearly "Right turn only, comrade; no through traffic". Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 13:14
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    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
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 13:51
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    @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
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 13:58
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    Possible duplicate of Why didn't Stalin use force to bring Tito into line?
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 15:27
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    Yugoslavia wasn't part of the Eastern Bloc as the title suggests, but part of the Non-Aligned Movement.
    – nwellnhof
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


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"

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    TLDR: The Korean War Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 17:34
  • @axsvl77 Yep, presuming that the invasion had actually been planned in the first place ... Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 19:36
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    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
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 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). Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 3:43
  • It should be noted that from 1956 (or maybe 1951) onward Király was a politician and a dissident, and his conclusions may be somehow biased against the Soviet side.
    – Pere
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 9:28

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

Short Answer:

It was a real possibility, especially after Marshal Tito blocked Stalin's supplies for the Greek Red Army in 1948, collapsing the Soviet sponsored revolution in Greece after WWII. But In 1953, Tito reached a mutual defense treaty with Turkey, which ultimately meant Yugoslavia was backed by NATO, while possessing a pretty significant armed forces of his own. Yugoslavia was after all one of only two countries in Europe, the Soviet Union being the other, which was able to push the Axis occupation out largely by themselves. (Soviet's and Bulgarian troops provided significant help to liberate their capital).

Detailed Answer:

Tito was a master of playing the West and East against each other. His country requested and received aid in 1951 from the United States, during the the Marshal plan. At times during the cold war Yugoslavia recieved aid from both the West and Soviets.

Why didn't the Soviet Union invade Yugoslavia.

First, 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.

Second, Yugoslavia, while not a member, was aligned with NATO. 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.

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

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    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. Commented Apr 17, 2019 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.
    – user27618
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 23:53
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    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. Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 23:57
  • Yugoslavia lived under the threat of a Soviet Invasion for much of the cold war, so I don't see how the question referencing that implies 49. Especially since the Tito Stalin split over Greece occurred in 48.
    – user27618
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 21:02
  • The quote doesn't imply 1949. It explicitly states 1949. There were undoubtedly threats at other times, but this question is asking specifically about the one that the Wikipedia article alleges was planned for 1949. Commented May 26, 2020 at 21:28

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