Franjo Tuđman (14 May, 1922 – 10 December, 1999) was a Croatian politician. Following the country’s independence from Yugoslavia he became the first President of Croatia. In his youth he fought during World War II as a member of the Yugoslav partisans, becoming later the youngest general in the Yugoslav army. After his military career, he worked as a historian until coming into conflict with the regime. He lived relatively anonymously in the following years until the end of communism, whereupon he began his political career by founding the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in 1989. He became President in 1990, as the HDZ won the first post-communist multi-party elections, and a year later he proclaimed Croatian independence. He was re-elected twice and remained in power until his death in 1999.