The North Korean Communist Leadership, 1945-1965: A Study of Factionalism and Political Consolidation

The North Korean Communist Leadership, 1945-1965: A Study of Factionalism and Political Consolidation

The North Korean Communist Leadership, 1945-1965: A Study of Factionalism and Political Consolidation

The North Korean Communist Leadership, 1945-1965: A Study of Factionalism and Political Consolidation

Excerpt

Ever since its emergence in 1945, North Korean leadership has been characterized by its basic continuity and the regime has been relatively stable. Yet under this continuity of leadership, the regime has undergone a considerable degree of evolution.

Following the liberation of Korea in 1945 after thirty-six years of Japanese colonial rule, three major Korean communist groups emerged in North Korea. They were the native communist group, the Yenan faction, and the Soviet-returned group. The native communist group consisted of communists who had operated inside Korea; the Yenan faction were communists who had come back from Yenan, the communist base in China, after years of exile; and the Soviet- returned group were those who had been in the USSR and came with the Soviet Army that occupied North Korea following the Japanese defeat. Although all three groups had previous anti-Japanese revolutionary records, none had been able to crush the Japanese rule which might have entitled one of them to be the ruling body of liberated Korea. Their emergence itself was primarily the result of the military operation of World War II and beyond their control. None of the three groups had previous administrative experience in national affairs. However, the external conditions for building a communist state were provided by the Russian occupation in North Korea. The immediate problem was forging a workable team out of these three communist groups for the construction of a communist state.

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