Yugoslav-Soviet relations, 1953-1957 : normalization, comradeship, confrontation
The thesis chronologically presents the slow improvement of relations between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, starting with Stalin's death on 5 March 1953, through their full normalization in 1955 and 1956, to the renewed ideological confrontation at the end of 1956. The normalization of Yugoslav-Soviet relations brought to an end a conflict between Yugoslavia and the Eastern Bloc, in existence since 1948, which threatened the status quo in Europe. The thesis represents the first effort at comprehensively presenting the reconciliation between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, between 1953 and 1957. It will also explain the motives that guided the leaderships of the two countries, in particular the two main protagonists, Josip Broz Tito and Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, throughout this process. It will also provide insight into the reasons behind the collapse of this process in the beginning of 1957. The thesis will establish that the significance of the Yugoslav-Soviet reconciliation went far beyond the bilateral relations between the two countries. It had significant ramifications on relations in the Eastern Bloc and in the global Communist movement, and on the dynamics of the Cold War world at its crucial juncture. The reconciliation had brought forward the process of de-Stalinization in the USSR and in Peoples' Democracies; it had also encouraged the process of liberalization throughout Eastern Europe and had helped Khrushchev win the post-Stalin leadership contest. Finally, the reconciliation had enabled Yugoslavia to acquire equidistance from both Blocs and to successfully embark upon creating, together with India and Egypt the new entity in the bi-polar Cold War world - the Non-aligned movement. The unique contribution of this thesis is that it is based on the research of the Yugoslav and Russian archives; it brings into the Cold War scholarship a great number of previously unresearched documents.