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Cornell University Press
The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 / Edition 1

The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 / Edition 1

by Charles K. Armstrong


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North Korea, despite a shattered economy and a populace suffering from widespread hunger, has outlived repeated forecasts of its imminent demise. Charles K. Armstrong contends that a major source of North Korea's strength and resiliency, as well as of its flaws and shortcomings, lies in the poorly understood origins of its system of government. He examines the genesis of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) both as an important yet rarely studied example of a communist state and as part of modern Korean history.

North Korea is one of the last redoubts of "unreformed" Marxism-Leninism in the world. Yet it is not a Soviet satellite in the East European manner, nor is its government the result of a local revolution, as in Cuba and Vietnam. Instead, the DPRK represents a unique "indigenization" of Soviet Stalinism, Armstrong finds. The system that formed under the umbrella of the Soviet occupation quickly developed into a nationalist regime as programs initiated from above merged with distinctive local conditions.

Armstrong's account is based on long-classified documents captured by U.S. forces during the Korean War. This enormous archive of over 1.6 million pages provides unprecedented insight into the making of the Pyongyang regime and fuels the author's argument that the North Korean state is likely to remain viable for some years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801489143
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 02/16/2004
Series: Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Charles K. Armstrong is the Korea Foundation Associate Professor of Korean Studies at Columbia University. He is the editor of Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy, and the State and coeditor of Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of AbbreviationsIntroduction
1.Revolution on the Margins
2. Liberation, Occupation, and the Emerging New Order
3. Remaking the People
4. Coalition Politics and the United Front
5. Planning the Economy
6. Constructing Culture
7. A Regime of Surveillance
8. The People's State
ConclusionAppendix A: A Note on Sources
Appendix B: Statements of General Chistiakov on the Soviet Occupation of North Korea, Fall 1945
Selected Bibliography

What People are Saying About This

Selig Harrison

"In The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950, Charles K. Armstrong shows conclusively for the first time that a revolutionary social, economic, and political upheaval occurred during this period, and that important ideological and policy conflicts defined the power struggles for control of the new state."

Dae-sook Suh

"Charles K. Armstrong has written a unique account of the North Korea's domestication of communism. The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950 is an outstanding book."

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