Josip Broz was born on 7 May 1892 in Kumrovec, a village in the northern Croatian region of Hrvatsko Zagorje, which at that time was part of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In July 1900, at the age of eight, Broz entered primary school at Kumrovec, but only completed four years of school, failing the 2nd grade then graduating in 1905.
During his apprenticeship he was encouraged to mark May Day in 1909, and read and sold Slobodna Reč (Free Word), a socialist newspaper.
After completing his apprenticeship in September 1910, Broz used his contacts to gain employment in Zagreb and at the age of 18 joined the Metal Workers' Union and participated in his first labour protest. He also joined the Social Democratic Party of Croatia and Slavonia.
He returned home in December 1910.
in early 1911 began a series of moves, first seeking work in Ljubljana then Trieste, Kumrovec and Zagreb, where he worked repairing bicycles and joined his first strike action on May Day 1911.
By October 1912 he had arrived in Vienna where he stayed with his older brother Martin and his family and worked at the Griedl Works before getting a job at Wiener Neustadt where he worked for Austro-Daimler, and was often asked to drive and test the cars.
In May 1913, Broz was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian Army, for his compulsory two years of service. He successfully requested that he serve with the 25th Croatian Home Guard Regiment garrisoned in Zagreb.
Soon after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the 25th Croatian Home Guard Regiment marched towards the Serbian border, but Broz was arrested for sedition and imprisoned in the Petrovaradin fortress in present-day Novi Sad.
After winning the regimental fencing competition, Broz went on to come second in the army fencing championships in Budapest in May 1914.
On 25 March 1915, he was wounded in the back by a Circassian cavalryman's lance, and captured during a Russian attack near Bukovina.
After recuperating, in mid-1916 he was transferred to the Ardatov POW (Prisoner of War) camp in the Samara Governorate, where he used his skills to maintain the nearby village grain mill. At the end of the year, he was again transferred, this time to the Kungur POW camp near Perm where the POWs were used as labor to maintain the newly completed Trans-Siberian Railway.
During the February Revolution, a crowd broke into the prison and returned Broz to the POW camp. A Bolshevik he had met while working on the railway told Broz that his son was working in an engineering works in Petrograd.
Less than a month after Broz arrived in Petrograd, the July Days demonstrations broke out, and Broz joined in, coming under fire from government troops.
Upon his return home, Broz was unable to gain employment as a metalworker in Kumrovec, so he and his wife moved briefly to Zagreb, where he worked as a waiter and took part in a waiter's strike. He also joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY).
In the autumn of 1920 he and his pregnant wife returned to his homeland, first by train to Narva, by ship to Stettin, then by train to Vienna, where they arrived on 20 September.
In early October Broz returned home to Kumrovec in what was then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes to find that his mother had died and his father had moved to Jastrebarsko near Zagreb.
Due to his overt communist links, Broz was fired from his employment.
After the assassination of Milorad Drašković, the Yugoslav Minister of the Interior, by a young communist named Alija Alijagić on 2 August 1921, the CPY was declared illegal under the Yugoslav State Security Act of 1921.
After the arrest of the CPY leadership in January 1922, Stevo Sabić took over control of its operations. Sabić contacted Broz who agreed to work illegally for the party, distributing leaflets and agitating among factory workers. In the contest of ideas between those that wanted to pursue moderate policies and those that advocated violent revolution, Broz sided with the latter.
In 1924, Broz was elected to the CPY district committee, but after he gave a speech at a comrade's Catholic funeral he was arrested when the priest complained.
In 1925, the now unemployed Broz moved to Kraljevica on the Adriatic coast, where he started working at a shipyard to further the aims of the CPY.
In October 1926 he obtained work in a railway works in Smederevska Palanka near Belgrade.
In March 1927, he wrote an article complaining about the exploitation of workers in the factory, and after speaking up for a worker he was promptly sacked. Identified by the CPY as worthy of promotion, he was appointed secretary of the Zagreb branch of the Metal Workers' Union, and soon after of the whole Croatian branch of the union.
In July 1927 Broz was arrested, along with six other workers, and imprisoned at nearby Ogulin.
In February 1928, Broz was one of 32 delegates to the conference of the Croatian branch of the CPY.
He was convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment.
After completing the full term of his sentence, he was released, only to be arrested outside the prison gates and taken to Ogulin to serve the four-month sentence he had avoided in 1927. He was finally released from prison on 16 March 1934, but even then he was subject to orders that required him to live in Kumrovec and report to the police daily.
During this time Tito wrote articles on the duties of imprisoned communists and on trade unions. He was in Ljubljana when King Alexander was assassinated by the Croatian nationalist Ustaše organisation in Marseille on 9 October 1934.
On Christmas Day 1934, a secret meeting of the Central Committee of the CPY was held in Ljubljana, and Tito was elected as a member of the Politburo for the first time. The Politburo decided to send him to Moscow to report on the situation in Yugoslavia, and in early February 1935 he arrived there as full-time official of the Comintern.
Tito lectured on trade unions to foreign communists, and attended a course on military tactics run by the Red Army, and occasionally attended the Bolshoi Theatre. He attended as one of 510 delegates to the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern in July and August 1935, where he briefly saw Joseph Stalin for the first time.
Tito married Bauer on 13 October of that year.
Tito travelled several times between Paris and Zagreb organising the movement of volunteers and creating a separate Communist Party of Croatia. The new party was inaugurated at a conference at Samobor on the outskirts of Zagreb on 1–2 August 1937.
In December 1937, Tito arranged for a demonstration to greet the French foreign minister when he visited Belgrade, expressing solidarity with the French against Nazi Germany.
On 6 April 1941, German forces, with Hungarian and Italian assistance, launched an invasion of Yugoslavia.
On 10 April 1941, Slavko Kvaternik proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia, and Tito responded by forming a Military Committee within the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party.
On 17 April 1941, after King Peter II and other members of the government fled the country, the remaining representatives of the government and military met with the German officials in Belgrade.
On 1 May 1941, Tito issued a pamphlet calling on the people to unite in a battle against the occupation.
On 27 June 1941, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia appointed Tito Commander in Chief of all project national liberation military forces.
On 1 July 1941, the Comintern sent precise instructions calling for immediate action.
Despite conflicts with the rival monarchic Chetnik movement, Tito's Partisans succeeded in liberating territory, notably the "Republic of Užice". During this period, Tito held talks with Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović on 19 September and 27 October 1941.
On 21 December 1941, the Partisans created the First Proletarian Brigade (commanded by Koča Popović).
On 1 March 1942, Tito created the Second Proletarian Brigade.
In liberated territories, the Partisans organised People's Committees to act as civilian government. The Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ) convened in Bihać on 26–27 November 1942.
After the Partisans managed to endure and avoid these intense Axis attacks between January and June 1943, and the extent of Chetnik collaboration became evident, Allied leaders switched their support from Draža Mihailović to Tito. King Peter II, American President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill joined Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin in officially recognising Tito and the Partisans at the Tehran Conference.
On 25 May 1944, he managed to evade the Germans after the Raid on Drvar (Operation Rösselsprung), an airborne assault outside his Drvar headquarters in Bosnia.
The Balkan Air Force was formed in June 1944 to control operations that were mainly aimed at aiding his forces.
On 17 June 1944, on the Dalmatian island of Vis, the Treaty of Vis was signed in an attempt to merge Tito's government (the AVNOJ) with the government in exile of King Peter II.
On 12 September 1944, King Peter II called on all Yugoslavs to come together under Tito's leadership and stated that those who did not were "traitors", by which time Tito was recognized by all Allied authorities (including the government-in-exile) as the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, in addition to commander-in-chief of the Yugoslav forces.
On 28 September 1944, the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) reported that Tito signed an agreement with the Soviet Union allowing "temporary entry" of Soviet troops into Yugoslav territory, which allowed the Red Army to assist in operations in the northeastern areas of Yugoslavia.
On 7 March 1945, the provisional government of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (Demokratska Federativna Jugoslavija, DFY) was assembled in Belgrade by Josip Broz Tito, while the provisional name allowed for either a republic or monarchy.
In the final days of World War II in Yugoslavia, units of the Partisans were responsible for atrocities after the repatriations of Bleiburg, and accusations of culpability were later raised at the Yugoslav leadership under Tito.
On 14 May, he dispatched a telegram to the supreme headquarters Slovene Partisan Army prohibiting the execution of prisoners of war and commanding the transfer of the possible suspects to a military court.
Prime Minister Josip Broz Tito met with the president of the Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia, Aloysius Stepinac on 4 June 1945, two days after his release from imprisonment. The two could not reach an agreement on the state of the Catholic Church. Under Stepinac's leadership, the bishops' conference released a letter condemning alleged Partisan war crimes in September 1945.
In November 1945, Tito's pro-republican People's Front, led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, won the elections with an overwhelming majority, the vote having been boycotted by monarchists.
On 29 November 1945, King Peter II was formally deposed by the Yugoslav Constituent Assembly. The Assembly drafted a new republican constitution soon afterward.
Yugoslav intelligence was charged with imprisoning and bringing to trial large numbers of Nazi collaborators; controversially, this included Catholic clergymen due to the widespread involvement of Croatian Catholic clergy with the Ustaša regime. Draža Mihailović was found guilty of collaboration, high treason, and war crimes and was subsequently executed by firing squad on July 1946.
On 17 May Tito suggested that the matter be settled at the meeting of the Cominform to be held that June. However, Tito did not attend the second meeting of the Cominform, fearing that Yugoslavia was to be openly attacked.
On 28 June, the other member countries of the Cominform expelled Yugoslavia, citing "nationalist elements" that had "managed in the course of the past five or six months to reach a dominant position in the leadership" of the CPY.
On 26 June 1950, the National Assembly supported a crucial bill written by Milovan Đilas and Tito regarding "self-management", a type of cooperative independent socialist experiment that introduced profit sharing and workplace democracy in previously state-run enterprises, which then became the direct social ownership of the employees.
On 13 January 1953, they established that the law on self-management was the basis of the entire social order in Yugoslavia.
Tito also succeeded Ivan Ribar as the President of Yugoslavia on 14 January 1953.
Tito visited India from 22 December 1954 through 8 January 1955.
Tito visited the USSR in 1956, which signaled to the world that animosity between Yugoslavia and USSR was easing.
In the autumn of 1960 Tito met President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
On 1 September 1961, Josip Broz Tito became the first Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement.
On 7 April 1963, the country changed its official name to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
In the same year, Tito became active in promoting a peaceful resolution of the Arab–Israeli conflict. His plan called for Arabs to recognize the state of Israel in exchange for territories Israel gained.
On 1 January 1967, Yugoslavia was the first communist country to open its borders to all foreign visitors and abolish visa requirements.
In 1968, Tito offered to fly to Prague on three hours notice, if Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubček needed help in facing down the Soviets.
In April 1969, Tito removed generals Ivan Gošnjak and Rade Hamović in the aftermath of the invasion of Czechoslovakia due to the unpreparedness of the Yugoslav army to respond to a similar invasion of Yugoslavia.
In 1971, Tito was re-elected as President of Yugoslavia by the Federal Assembly for the sixth time.
On 16 May 1974, the new Constitution was passed, and the 82-year old Tito was named president for life, a status that he would enjoy for the rest of his life.
Tito died at the Medical Centre of Ljubljana on 4 May 1980, three days short of his 88th birthday.