Danubius International Conferences, 3rd International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

The Conflict between Tito and Stalin (1948-1953) and its Consequences upon the Danube

Arthur Tulus
Last modified: 2013-06-13


The Soviet Union couldn’t rejoice for long for the success obtained at the Danube Conference from Beograd (30-th of July – 18-th of August 1948), due to the fact that its relations with Jugoslavia rapidly deteriorated as a result of the conflict that burst between the leaders of the two nations. Until the death of the Soviet dictator (March 1953), the conflict between Tito and Stalin seriously hindered the transport on the Danube, hence being one of the factors that assisted the collapse of the naval transport on the Danube, after WWI.

The conflict between Stalin and Tito bore consequences also upon the functioning of the Commission of the Danube, the new institution created by the Communist countries through the Agreement from Beograd (18-th of August 1948), with the aim of regulating the navigation on the river. At the same time, in order to redress its lost prestige, the Soviet Union fervently supported the project of the Danube – Black Sea Channel and it forced the Romanian authorities to engage in huge expenditures for digging it. Nevertheless, the conflict also engendered some positive results. After Stalin’s death, the new leader from the Kremlin, Nikita Sergheevici Hrușciov, approached the problem of the Danube in a different way. He dimished the authority of the Soviet Union in this respect, increasing the importance of the small Communist riparian rivers. From that moment on, through the new approach of the authorities from the Kremlin, the Commission of the Danube served as a testing laboratory for the strategies of external policy of the Soviet Union and also as an instrument used to bring a revival of the commercial and economical relations with the Western countries and of the technical cooperation with the agencies of the United Nations Organization.