chapter  2
40 Pages

The enemy on all sides: 1950–70

ByAdrian Buzo

Among the more improbable outcomes of the Korean War was that Kim Il Sung emerged from a disaster of his own making with his political position enhanced. Along with Pak Hon-yong, he had been the strongest advocate of the invasion, he had brushed aside the concerns of his more cautious colleagues, and during the war his ability as a military leader had been widely criticised, both within North Korea and among his allies. Ho and Mu were purged as prominent individuals, but in December 1952 Kim Il Sung proceeded with his first concerted attack on an entire faction when at the Fifth Plenum of the KWP Central Committee (CC) he targeted the South Korean faction led by Pak Hon-yong. The destruction of the Communist oligarchy was a decisive moment in the history of the DPRK, for by eliminating all leading figures in the Party outside his own group, Kim also radically narrowed the intellectual base of the Party.