Josip Broz Tito
Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito served in the Austrian Army in World War I. He was captured by the Russians, but escaped to join the Bolsheviks, eventually fighting in the Russian Civil War. In 1920, he returned to Croatia. He worked as a metal worker and joined the then-illegal Communist Party. In 1929, Tito was arrested for his activities on behalf of the party and remained in jail until in 1934.
Following the German capture of Yugoslovia during World War II, he led the Yugoslav resistance. After the war he declared Yugoslavia a Republic, and forced the abdication of Yugoslavian King Peter II.
Though a staunch Communist, Tito developed an independent foreign policy, breaking completely with Stalin in 1948. Tito led his country along a policy of neutrality and maintained good relations with most countries.
Domestically, Tito allowed gradual liberalization of the economy. He remained the leader of Yugoslavia until his death in 1980.