By Andrei Lankov
North Korea is still the main mysterious of all Communist nations. the extreme scarcity of obtainable resources has made it a tough topic of scholarship. via his entry to Soviet archival fabric made to be had just a decade in the past, modern North Korean press debts, and private interviews, Andrei Lankov provides for the 1st time an in depth examine one of many turning issues in North Korean historical past: the country's unsuccessful makes an attempt to de-Stalinize within the mid-1950s. He demonstrates that, opposite to universal belief, North Korea was once no longer a realm of undisturbed Stalinism; Kim Il Sung needed to care for a reformist competition that was once vulnerable yet current however.
Lankov lines the impression of Soviet reforms on North Korea, putting them within the context of contemporaneous political crises in Poland and Hungary. He files the dissent between quite a few social teams (intellectuals, scholars, social gathering cadres) and their makes an attempt to oust Kim within the unsuccessful "August plot" of 1956. His reconstruction of the Peng-Mikoyan stopover at of that year--the so much dramatic Sino-Soviet intervention into Pyongyang politics--shows the way it helped deliver an finish to purges of the competition. The purges, even though, resumed in below a yr as Kim skillfully started to distance himself from either Moscow and Beijing. the ultimate chapters of this interesting and revealing learn care for occasions of the overdue Fifties that finally resulted in Kim's model of "national Stalinism." Lankov finds facts that, for the 1st time, permits us to estimate the dimensions and personality of North Korea's nice Purge.
Meticulously researched and cogently argued, Crisis in North Korea is a must-read for college students and students of Korea and somebody attracted to political management and character cults, regime transition, and communist politics.
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Extra resources for Crisis in North Korea: The Failure of De-Stalinization, 1956 (Hawai'i Studies on Korea)
Forces. Another important event that marked the end of the Korean War and signaled the increasing independence of Kim Il Song from his onetime sponsors was the purge of Pak Il-u and Hô Ka-i. At that time those two men were probably the most prominent members of the Yan’an and Soviet factions, respectively. 8 The prominence of Pak Il-u among the Chinese Koreans was rather less signi¤cant than Hô’s in¶uence on the Soviet Koreans, but as a Korean representative in the Chinese-Korean Joint Command, Pak played a major role as a contact between the Chinese and North Korean generals during the war.
In October, Kim did not succeed in luring Pak into the trap. ”27 It is unlikely that Pak Ch’ang-ok suspected the trap that Kim Il Song was setting for him, so his response was in all probability simply an honest confession of his own incompetence. It is possible that Kim Il Song’s choice of alleged “mismanagement” of literary policy as a pretext for an assault was in¶uenced by the noisy Soviet propaganda campaign of 1946–1948, which, while aimed at revealing and suppressing dissent among intellectuals, was disguised as a literary discussion.
On December 2 a plenum of the KWP Central Committee was convened in Pyongyang. The Central Committee, a group of some seventy people and the second most important body in the party, met a few times a year to discuss the most important problems of the political strategy. The plenum was by no means a place for free discussion, but behind the closed doors of the Central Committee a measure of frankness was possible. In addition, the Central Committee was a place where the party’s top leaders could freely announce new policies and give their analysis of the current situation, something impossible to do in more open gatherings.
Crisis in North Korea: The Failure of De-Stalinization, 1956 (Hawai'i Studies on Korea) by Andrei Lankov