A Brief History of Yugoslavia's Brief History
The Eye of the Storm
The history of the Southern Balkans is one of ethnic tension and political chaos, but there was a brief shining window of time during the Great War era when the region managed to rise above itself and unite under a cultural identity. Yugoslavia was the kingdom formed by those southern Slavic countries- Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia- which found themselves at once free and vulnerable after they were formed in the wake of WWI, having previously been a part of the Ottoman empire and then Austria-Hungary empire for what amounted to hundreds of years.
This order was short lived when Nazi Germany invaded in 1941, though the Yugoslav Partisans, a communist party led by Josip Broz Tito, fought hard to free the country and were eventually able to win Yugoslavia's independence in 1945 towards the tail end of WWII. The Partisans quickly created a communist government system, and like all other communist states at the time, allied themselves with the Soviet Union. However, Tito did not get on good terms with Stalin and so three years later pulled Yugoslavia out of the Iron Curtain.
Josip Broz Tito
All you really have to know. Last real leader of Yugoslavia.
First King of Yugoslavia. Remembered for being the last assassinated Monarch in Europe.
Last King of Yugoslavia. The Monarchy was abolished after him.
By 1961 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a major leader in the None Aligned movement, developing "a more decentralized and less repressive form of government as compared with other East European communist states during the Cold War"(US Office of the Historian). In this, they became an important component of the American plan to reduce the influence od the Soviet Union and so gained a lot of US funding. This funding was important as the communist system was slowly bleeding the young nation dry and without US support, it could not realistically sustain itself.