The former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was, without a doubt, as close to a socialist country as it gets (at least in our history so far). Maybe not from a strict Marxist textbook point of view, but from a point of view which matters the most – the working class. Titoism is such an utterly unique and vital contribution to socialist theory in that it challenged the soviet model and presented the world with a new way of achieving of a socialist state that differed from it’s practically capitalist, soviet counterparts. In fact, Tito was one of the only powerful communist world leaders to truly acknowledge the disgrace that had come from the Stalin regime which practically destroyed the socialist revolution in Russia. And while Titoism is quite critical of the soviet model of Marxism-Leninism, it is very important to note that Tito himself was a Marxist-Leninist (ML). Titoism does not reflect ML theory, but rather, it is a variant, a tweaked method, if I may. Therefore, the remainder of this essay will mainly discuss the differences between Titoism and traditional Marxist-Leninist theory (and Soviet model) as Tito took that original theory and improved upon it to fit the circumstances of Yugoslavia and of course, his own personal beliefs.
First and foremost, in order to more fully comprehend as to why Titoism differs from traditional Marxism-Leninism in the category of its very own ideology, it is important to understand the roots of how this originally came about, which was, the break off of Tito and Yugoslavia from the soviet bloc. So what caused this occur? Before the initial split, Tito was regarded as one of the most important and influential communist leaders, besides Stalin of course. But throughout WWII, unlike other eastern-European countries, Yugoslavia had managed to liberate itself from its occupiers without any support from the allies, or even the Soviet Union for the matter. Because of this, Yugoslavia began to see itself capable of a more independent state, rather than relying on the USSR as so many new socialist-friendly states had. Thus, tensions slowly began to rise between the two powers and while Yugoslavia simply considered themselves to be allies of Moscow, Stalin liked to consider it as satellite state to the USSR despite its very little support of the Yugoslav Partisans throughout WW2. As Tito began to seek out the major flaws in the Soviet Union, he began to wish more and more for Yugoslavia to be completely independent and not considered another satellite state, and in the end it worked out as such, as Yugoslavia stood up and refused to simply be a pawn in the Soviet game and was then kicked from the Cominform. So, without any support from the USSR and any other communist states (although Khrushchev improved relations after Stalin’s death as he criticized Stalin’s actions against Yugoslavia), Yugoslavia had to rely on it’s own form of socialism, thus creating the Titoist philosophy.