The Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia: The Story of Tito - Episode 1

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On May 4th 2010 it will be 30 years since the charismatic leader of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia died, leaving a splintered Republic in his wake. For thirty-five years Josip Broz Tito seemingly held together a republic of seven frontiers, six republics, five nationalities, four languages, three religions and two alphabets. But during his reign ethnic tensions were always bubbling under the surface and ten years after his death they exploded into violence not witnessed in Europe since the Second World War. In this two part series Martin Bell returns to the region he spent much of the 1990s reporting from, tracing the events that kept the Yugoslav Republic together & subsequently tore it apart. And he asks whether 15 years after the Dayton Peace Agreement, the Balkans is precariously balancing on the edge once more. Martin takes a journey through history, his own & Tito's, across the mountains of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia; To Kumrovec, the birthplace of Tito, Jajce the birthplace of the republic & Belgrade, where Tito is buried. During his travels he speaks with the Crown Prince of Serbia at Tito & Milosevic's former Presidential Palace, Stepjan Mesic & Raif Dizdarevic prominent Communist leaders who helped run Yugoslavia with Tito, and after he had died. Talking with those who knew, respected, feared & loved Tito, Martin looks at the legacy of the man who defied Stalin and turned himself into a World Statesman. Charting the decade from Tito's death - when Yugoslavia hung together by a thread - to the outbreak of war, he investigates whether Tito could have done more to keep his beloved republic together and asks why a man whose funeral was attended by high profile delegates from every corner of the globe was so quickly forgotten by the West. The producer is Gemma Newby. This is an All Out production for BBC Radio 4.