In its first years, Tito’s Yugoslavia was a virtual copy of the USSR under Joseph Stalin, with its centrally planned economy under state control, rapid industrialization, and brutal suppression of any opposition to the Communist dictatorship. The government began an attempt to collectivize agriculture in 1947 and intensified it in 1949. In the foreign policy arena, Yugoslavia appeared to be the USSR’s most loyal ally. In 1947 the Yugoslav Communist Party joined other Communist parties in establishing the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform), the successor organization to the Third International (Comintern), which had dissolved in 1943. Headquarters of the new organization was in Belgrade. Early in 1948, however, Stalin’s growing suspicion of Tito’s loyalty and independent ambitions led him to maneuver against Tito using the Cominform. The Cominform held a meeting in Bucharest, Romania, in June 1948, which the Yugoslavs boycotted. At the meeting, the Cominform denounced Tito and the Yugoslav Communist Party, accusing them of major deviations from orthodox Communist policy. A Yugoslav party congress reaffirmed its loyalty to the USSR but reelected Tito, whom the Soviet leaders had hoped to overthrow. An economic blockade and ominous troop movements by the other Communist nations followed. But Tito’s regime survived, by rallying the support of patriotic non-Communist as well as most Communist Yugoslavs, and by accepting economic and military assistance from the West.
Soon afterward, the Yugoslav government began a gradual process of relaxing state controls, abandoning strict Communist ideology, and decentralizing the government. By 1952 it had abandoned its attempts to collectivize agriculture. In 1950 and 1951 state ownership of all enterprises was abolished in favor of social ownership and workers’ self-management, which theoretically turned over control of enterprises to the workers who labored in them. The Communist Party, renamed the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) in 1952, withdrew its close economic and political management.
Stalin died in 1953. His eventual successor, Nikita Khrushchev, apologized for Stalin’s "errors" in a dramatic speech in Belgrade in May 1955. This speech initiated the first of several periods of improvement in Soviet-Yugoslav relations. Tito thereafter struck a Cold War balance between the USSR and its allies and the United States and its allies. This balance led to his role in helping to found and lead a worldwide group of nonaligned nations in the 1960s. As a result,Tito won a major role on the world stage, greater than his country’s size and importance warranted.