Archive for the ‘Kim il Sung 1956’ Category

NKIDP Document in focus: North Korea in 1956

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Summary by James Person, North Korea International Documentation Project:

This Document (full journal article including documents here) consists of a memorandum of a conversation between DPRK Ambassador Li Sangjo to Moscow and Soviet Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs N.T. Fedorenko, as well as a letter addressed to N.S. Khrushchev. Li sought a meeting with either Khrushchev or A.I. Mikoyan to press upon the Soviet leadership the gravity of the situation inside the DPRK and KWP CC following the historic 1956 August Plenum.
In the letter, Li described in detail the actions of the party leadership after being criticized both before and during the August Plenum by opponents to Kim Il Sung’s development strategies. Although the existing historiography, as well as North Korean propaganda characterizes the events of August 1956 as an attempted coup, Li suggested that the challenge was a democratic one aimed at eliminating the serious consequences of the personality cult and ensuring intra-party democracy and collective leadership, completely in accordance with the statutes of the KWP accepted at the Third Party Congress in April 1956. However, sycophantic and hostile elements in the party leadership “took revenge” on those who “courageously” criticized them. Li, who had long been a proponent of outside intervention, encouraged fraternal assistance. Despite the failure of earlier attempts to press upon Kim Il Sung the need to reform through comradely criticism by fraternal leaders, Li asked that a senior Soviet official be sent to Pyongyang to call a new plenum with all present, including the purged members of what became known as the “consumer goods group.” Li also indicated that he had sent a similar request to Mao Zedong.

Read the documents from the Soviet archives, including historical context here.