This film is part of Free

Tito: a new ally?

New buildings rise up alongside traditional peasant dwellings as Yugoslavia transforms itself into an anti-Soviet Communist state under the controlling eye of Josip Broz Tito.

Documentary 1951 18 mins


Nicely capturing the paradoxes and contrasts of Yugoslavia in 1950, this March of Time issue depicts a country carving out a unique place in post-war European politics. The imagery evokes a stirring sense of a new regime emerging in a region with a long history: shots of hydroelectric dams, men and women working in factories, and sunbathers on the Dalmatian coast contrast with images of the landscape and people - shepherds, veiled Muslim women - which evoke the region’s complex past.

Following Tito’s break with Stalin and expulsion from COMINFORM in 1948, Yugoslavia occupied a unique place in Western geopolitics. With the country and its army forming a buffer zone between Western Europe and the Communist bloc, Harry S. Truman’s administration was keen to cultivate a friendly relationship with Tito: hence the 38 million dollars in food aid given by the USA in 1950. The tone of the commentator is therefore sympathetic throughout, praising the education system, the state newspaper Borba, and even finding favourable words to say about worker-run factories. As we watch Tito at his desk in his Belgrade villa we are clearly meant to see the truth of the old saying ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.