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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1954

THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL-CULTURAL SITUATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC POPULAR REPUBLIC OF KOREA, 1954

This document was made possible with support from the ROK Ministry of Unification, Leon Levy Foundation

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    A report on the DPRK's economic and socio-cultural situation, including political parties and mass organizations in North Korea.
    "The Political, Economic and Social-Cultural Situation of the Democratic Popular Republic Of Korea, 1954," 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114999
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THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL-CULTURAL SITUATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC POPULAR REPUBLIC OF KOREA

1954

The Political Situation of Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the result of the entire Korean people's liberation fight from the Japanese imperialist oppression and of Korea's liberation by the Soviet Army. Due to the fight of the popular forces led by the Korean Communist Party, a democratic people’s regime was installed in the country, based on the alliance between the working class and the peasantry.

Given the situation created in Korea – the occupation of South Korea by the American imperialists – the central task of the revolution is the fight for the country's unification.

This task can be accomplished only through the continuous reinforcement of the DPRK's democratic basis.

At the 5th plenum of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, which took place in December 1952, Comrade Kim Il Sung characterized the revolution in Korea as follows: “given its importance and historical content, this revolution is, on the one hand, an anti-imperialist revolution (meaning forces fighting against foreign imperialist invaders for national liberation) for the liberation and the independence of our country; on the other hand, it is a democratic revolution of our people, willing to defend the people’s republic, to establish the territorial integrity of the Korean state, to counter the Syngman Rhee’s clique that compromised itself. Furthermore he emphasizes: “Presently our revolution accomplishes the national liberation goal: defeating the external and internal enemies, and reconstructing the state territory, which means the unification of the country.” The accomplishment of all our other goals depends on this unification process.

The measures taken by the people’s democratic government have as goals the recovery of the national economy destroyed during war, and the reinforcement of the country’s democratic basis.

After liberation, the first important measure of the North Korean government was the reform of agriculture, which put an end to both the colonial subjugation in agriculture, and to the remnants of feudal land owners as a social class. The agrarian reform abolishes the leasehold, and tithe, that were dominant in agriculture.

Another important reform, vital for the development of Korea's economy, was the nationalization of the main means of production, transportation, banks, the mail system, the telegraph, the mines, the irrigation systems.

Through the above reforms, the development of the forces of production was unleashed, and they began to grow rapidly.

1946 was a year of great democratic reforms whose result was the creation of the economic basis for the liquidation of the colonial nature of [North Korean] national economy.

What characterizes Korea is that democratic reforms were accomplished very quickly; this was enabled by the fact that the proletariat had a relatively weak enemy (the bourgeoisie and the land owners), in comparison with those in people’s democracies in Europe. The greatest part of the heavy industry (86%), as well as 72% of the agrarian surface, belongs to Japanese imperialists.

Currently, the economy of the DPRK is characteristic to the period of transition from capitalism to socialism.

The important economic sectors are: 1. The Socialist sector created after nationalization and which represents 98% of the industry. The heavy industry is 100% socialist. The entire socialist sector consists of transportation, the big commercial enterprises, foreign trade, the stations for renting agrarian cars and horses, state farms, and all forms of cooperatives in agriculture and the handicraft cooperatives and fisheries. 2. The small[-scale] production of goods is [done at the level] of individual rural farms (70% of the rural farms) and small handicraft enterprises. The small[-scale] production of goods ensures the basic production in agriculture. 3. The capitalist sector represents the kulaks' rural farms, small commercial units and little industrial enterprises.

The socialist sector represents the basis of DPRK's economic life, and its proportion within the national economy grows up permanently to the detriment of the other two sectors.

The respective social classes correspond to these sectors. The main leading classes are: the working class and the peasantry. The bourgeoisie represents the least numerous class; it includes the petty and middle-class capitalists from the industrial and commercial sectors, as well as the kulaks.

The alliance of the working class with the peasantry represents the vital basis of the people’s democratic regime in the DPRK.

However, given the specific situation created in Korea, the revolution's central task, i.e. the unification of the country, demands that the working class rallies people around it to fulfill this task. That is why in the DPRK the government comprises representatives of many political parties; of course, the leading role belongs to the Workers’ Party. Thus the thrust of the class struggle is pointed first and foremost towards the external and internal enemies who are playing the enemy’s game [sic!]. The measures taken by the DPRK government to contain exploitation are especially focused on limiting profiteering.

Currently, in the DPRK, socialist industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture – which are part and parcel of the phase of transition from capitalism to socialism - are being accomplished successfully and at a tremendously fast pace.

The Supreme Popular Assembly is the supreme power body in the DPRK.  The Supreme People’s Assembly exerts all the supreme rights [sic!] of the state, except those which, according to the Constitution, are given to the President and the Cabinet. Legislative power belongs completely to the Supreme People’s Assembly. The members of the Supreme People’s Assembly are elected by universal, equal, direct, and secret vote and, according to the law, the ratio is one member per 50,000 inhabitants.  Elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly took place in 1948. The Supreme People’s Assembly was thus composed of 212 deputies from North Korea, and 360 deputies from South Korea.  Therefore, the total number of representatives in the Supreme People’s Assembly is 572.  The Supreme People’s Assembly gathers representatives from all social classes, all political parties, and mass organizations. The presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, which is elected by the Supreme People’s Assembly, is composed of a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and 17 members. During the interval between the Supreme People’s Assembly sessions, the supreme organism of power is the Supreme People’s Assembly presidium.

Reuniting all the democratic forces in the country, the representatives of all political parties and mass organizations, the Supreme People’s Assembly is the representative of the Korean people. The activity of the Supreme People’s Assembly in the aftermath of the war, is oriented towards the mobilization of the entire people’s fight for the rapid reconstruction and development of the national economy, for the pacific unification of Korea.

In 1954, two sessions of the DPRK's Supreme People’s Assembly took place, [representing] sessions of great historical importance. Between the 20th and the 23rd of April, the 7th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly took place in Pyongyang, with the following agenda: 1. The three-year recovery and development plan of the DPRK national economy for the interval between 1954 and 1956. 2. Accomplishing the DPRK's state budgets in 1950, 1951, 1952 1953, and the state budget for the year 1954. 3. Confirming the Supreme People’s Assembly presidium's decrees.

The 7th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly adopted the draft of the three-year plan, and signed it into law. The same applied to the 1954 budget. The Supreme People’s Assembly called for the people’s support in exceeding the three-year plan quotas.

The resolutions of the 8th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, which took place in Pyongyang between the 28th and the 30th of October 1953, are of historic importance. Embodying the wishes of the entire Korean people, the Supreme People’s Assembly yet again, as before, appealed to political parties, mass organizations, the people and government bodies in South Korea with proposals whose aim is to lead to the peaceful reunification of the country. In the report of the Foreign Minister, comrade Nam Il, called “About the activity of the delegation of the DPRK to the Geneva Conference” the wishes of the entire Korean people were clearly expressed, a people who fights for the peaceful reunification of the country. In the call made at the 8th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly on October 30, 1954, it is specified: “We salute any kind of negotiations to discuss the issue of the cessation of contacts between the population in South and North Korea, the issue of the peaceful reunification of the Fatherland.” The call of the Supreme People’s Assembly proposes the summoning of a joint meeting between the representatives of all social classes in South and North Korea or a joint session of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK and the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, in either Pyongyang or Seoul in 1955, to discuss the issue of the peaceful unification of the Fatherland. Moreover, the call proposes a series of measures which can lead to the unification of the country, such as: establishing economic and cultural links, trade between the two parties, the free circulation of the population on both sides, correspondence.

The call of the Supreme People’s Assembly was made known to South Korea's population. It was relayed to the people in question, organizations, members of the National Assembly, representatives of all the parties, etc., by radio or international mail. Since September 19th, the message has reached 1643 people from South Korea, Koreans living in Japan, in U.S.A, Cuba, Mexico, etc.

The whole Korean people, as a single entity, warmly greeted and supported the call. Therefore, in every town in the DPRK, right after the call had been released, people rallied to demand that Koreans from South and North to sit down at the same table, and discuss the peaceful unification of the country.

In South Korea, despite the objections of the Syngman Rhee clique, despite the terror directed against the people, the population reads and warmly supports the call. ‘The Korean people are united, Korea belongs to the Korean people.’ ‘American imperialists, get out of Korea!’ These slogans can be heard in every corner of Korea. These are the united voice and demands of the Korean people, who warmly want the unification of their Nation.

The 8th Session of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly also greeted the law establishing a new administrative division of the country. This new administrative division will contribute to the rapid recovery and development of the national economy, will ease the administrative system, will facilitate the relation between the executive bodies and the masses. Thus, the Hwanghae region was divided into 2 provinces: North Hwanghae and South Hwanghae; there is a new land, Yeon-an [Yon’an], and many of the counties which had been disbanded were assimilated by neighboring counties.

The Cabinet of Ministers is the supreme executive body of government. The prime minister is the head of the Democratic Popular Republic of Korea’s government. The ministries are the executive bodies of state power, organized on fields of activity. Every ministry is directed by a minister. The DPRK government was formed on September 9th 1948, at the first session of the Supreme People’s Assembly. The government was composed of 10 representatives coming from South Korea and 10 representatives from North Korea. The government is made of all the democratic parties being part of the F.D.P. [People’s Democratic Front] The Workers’ Party has the leading role.

The local bodies of state power in provinces, towns, districts, counties, and villages are the people’s committees. They are formed by representatives elected through universal, equal, direct and secret vote.

In North Korea, the people’s committees were elected in February 1946. This was an important reform, a measure that exceeds the tasks of the democratic-bourgeois revolution. The creation of these committees meant the establishment of a new type of power, and the permanent abolition of aristocratic power. North Korea’s people’s committees appeared as a result of the struggle for power assumed by the workers and the peasantry. Comrade Kim Il Sung shows that people’s committees are not political bodies imported from abroad as a result of another state's intervention, but are created by people themselves. “The people’s committees represent the form of power created through the people's initiative and hands. The popular committees are the form of power deeply rooted in the large popular masses which represent all the social layers, and whose force is represented by workers. The people’s committees embody the type of power characteristic for the masses’ interests, they are bodies representing a new type of power, answering to the people's needs, based on their will, and having a blood connection with the people. People’s committees are not the form of power which corresponds to the parliamentary democracy that was specific to the old bourgeois society, but the kind of new power born to replace the state machinery of the Japanese Army’s  domination, a new type of power capable to lead our country towards a more democratic, happy and flourishing society”.

Being bodies fully based on the people’s will and connected with the largest masses of people, the people’s committees played a major role in the national war, in mobilizing the entire people in the fight against the enemy. People’s committees are currently playing a great role, mobilizing the largest masses of people in the fight for the accomplishment and excess of the three-year plan. The 8th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, on the issue of the creation of people’s committees, showed the necessity to reinforce them organizationally, and to reinforce their leadership role. Therefore, the law concerning the structure, and the tasks of the local bodies of government was elaborated. The law stipulates that the supreme body of the people’s committees is the General Assembly of the People’s Committees, in which members of the Supreme People’s Assembly, elected by direct and secret vote according to the electoral law concerning the election of local power bodies, take part. The members of the Supreme People’s Assembly are elected for the provinces’ committees every 4 years, and for district, town and village committees, every 2 years.

The people’s committees' tasks are drawn by the decisions and decrees adopted by the superior body. The main task of the people’s committees is to consolidate democracy in the DPRK, and to continually raise the material, cultural, and political level of the masses. The province people’s committee manages the entire economic, political, and cultural activity of the given region.

According to the general national plan and budget, [the province people’s committee] draws up the economic plan and the province budget.

According to the decision adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers, [the province people’s committee] elaborates the decisions meant to apply them in the given region [sic!].

At the 8th session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, it was decided that the assemblies of province people’s committees should represent the presidium of the people’s committees. The presidium of the people’s committees controls the work of the people’s committee in the interval between two sessions. The presidium also controls the way in which the specialized commissions within people’s committees accomplish their tasks. The creation of committees for regions and districts has the role to consolidate the organizational work of the people’s committees.

The Workers’ Party is the political leading [force] [sic] of the Korean people, the organizer of all the victories of the people. The North Korean Workers’ Party was created in August 1946 after the unification of the Communist Party and the New People’s Party, at whose foundations laid Marxist-Leninist principles. In October 1946, in South Korea, during the fight against the American imperialists and Syngman Rhee’s clique, the Workers’ Party was created [by combining] communist organizations, the people’s party, and the New People’s Party.

The creation of the Workers’ Party in North and South Korea represented the continuation of the unity of the Korean people, the intensification of the Korean people's organized fight for the peaceful unification of the Fatherland. In 1949, the Workers’ Party from North Korea and the Workers’ Party in the South united, creating the United Workers’ Party of Korea. Kim Il Sung was elected the president of the Central Committee.

The Workers’ Party had the same type of organization as all the new parties. The Workers’ Party is organized according to the principles of territoriality and production location. The party organizations are the following: the party cell that must have at least 5 members; big cells are divided in groups; the party organizations for districts, for regions, for big towns. The election of the leadership respects the principle of democratic centralism in general assemblies, conferences, and congresses. The supreme body of the Party is the Congress which elects the Central Committee. The Central Committee elects a political bureau of 7 members, and a Secretariat made of a president and 2 vice-presidents.

The Workers’ Party, working in the interest of the people, gained the enormous love and trust of the large popular masses, and consolidated its ranks. The Workers’ Party initiated the creation of a democratic patriotic front, the Korean people's leader for the peaceful unification of the Fatherland. The Korean Workers’ Party took charge of, and permanently fought for the consolidation of the alliance between workers and the working peasantry and, on the basis of this alliance, it promoted a consistent policy of the unified front, that enabled all the democratic and patriotic forces of the country to rally around the party. This policy isolated the aggressive imperialist forces and their followers from the people, consolidated even more the revolutionary forces of the country, and assured the successful fulfillment of democratic reforms, and of the democratic construction of the country. The glorious path on which the Korean people embarked upon after the country's liberation by the Soviet army to the present day fully demonstrates the wise policy of the Workers’ Party. The Workers’ Party of Korea created the economic, political and cultural basis for the peaceful unification of the Fatherland.

In South Korea, the Workers’ Party activates [in the underground]. Although fighting conditions are extremely harsh because of the terror exerted by the Syngman Rhee clique and the American invaders, the members of the Workers’ Party in South Korea hold up the glad of the Party, lead the fight of large masses of people against the imperialist aggressors and the puppet-government controlled by Syngman Rhee. In their efforts, they are animated by the DPRK's accomplishments, and the successes of the whole [socialist] peaceful camp.

During the war for the defense of the Fatherland, the Workers’ Party mobilized the Korean people to fight with the enemy, which resulted in their victory in the war. In the aftermath of the war, the Workers’ Party became stronger, being tightly connected to the large popular masses.

The 4th and the 5th Plenums of the Central Committee had a decisive significance in the history of the Workers’ Party, as the two Plenums helped it consolidate from an organizational and ideological point of view, raising the members' activity, strengthening their ties with the large popular masses. It must be mentioned that the 5th Plenum of the Workers’ Party had a colossal importance, [as] it ensured the cleansing of the party and the unity of its ranks. The 5th Plenum showed that the attitude of passivity towards sectarians and faction supporters, who undermine the party from within, must be abolished; [it also showed] party members that they must raise the level of their revolutionary discipline, actively engage in fighting against all the enemies of the party. A great significance for the tightening of the ranks of the party, for the strengthening of the Party’s unity was the trial and execution of the groups of spies and traitors led by Ri Sin Ob, those bandits working on the imperialists’ payroll to destroy the party, to deprive the party of its best leaders so as to kneel the country before the enemy. Owing to the wise policy of the party, these enemies were discovered and the Korean people administered them their due punishment.

The Korean people under the wise leadership of the Workers’ Party knew how to win in the hard war with the American aggressors, knew how to preserve the freedom and independence of the country.

In the aftermath of the war, the Workers’ Party’s policy on creating new conditions is directed towards the mobilization of all the people’s forces for the reconstruction and development of the economy, for the improvement, as soon as possible, of the standard of living of the population, for the strengthening of the revolutionary foundation, for the realization of the unification of the Fatherland. This line [of policy] was drawn at the 6th Plenum of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party in March 1954. Comrade Kim Il Sung, speaking at this Plenum, made a thorough analysis of the situation in the country, he pointed out and criticized the shortcomings experienced in the reconstruction and rebuilding [of the country] undertaken since the signing of the armistice, he pointed out the measures that must be undertaken to address these shortcomings, he paid a lot of attention to the issue of raising the level of leadership [sic!], on behalf of party organizations, he underlined the leading role of the Workers’ Party as the political leader of the Korean people [sic!]. Warmly endorsing the decisions of the party, [and] answering the call of the Party and of comrade Kim Il Sung, all party members and the entire people decisively got up to fight to overcome the shortcomings, to firmly fight for the fulfillment of the tasks drawn by the party.

Following the fundamental economic laws of socialism, the Worker’s Party has always been confronted with one of the most important tasks: improving the standard of living of the people. For this reason, the Party has always paid and is currently paying a lot of attention to the development of agriculture and of light industry for the production of consumer goods. Currently, the accelerated development of agriculture weighs heavily in the reconstruction and development of the entire economy. This issue was the first one on the agenda of the Central Committee Plenum of the Workers’ Party which took place between the 1st and 3rd of November 1954. Measures to continue the party’s struggle to rebuild and develop the DPRK's agriculture as speedily as possible were discussed and adopted.  The historically important resolution of the 7th Plenum which took place on November 7th 1954 was received with enthusiasm by the entire Korean people. The entire Korean people answered the call of the Party and, on this occasion, it intensifies its struggle to fulfill the important tasks drawn by the Plenum.

Therefore, the Workers’ Party has the leading role in the struggle of the people for the reconstruction and rebuilding of the country, in the fight for the unification of the Fatherland. The entire Korean people endorses the wise policy of the Workers’ Party and answers the calls of the party with enthusiasm because it knows that the policy of the party is directed towards the achievement of a joyful life. The Worker’s Party, armed with the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism, constantly organizes and leads the Korean people on the path to more successes in the struggle for the building of a new life. The number of party members amounts to approximately 1 million people.

Political parties, mass organizations, the United Democratic Patriotic Front [Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland].

Political parties and their character - In addition to the Workers’ Party of the DPRK there are other parties as well. The most important parties are the following: the Democratic Party established in 1945 by wealthy peasants, the petty and middle bourgeoisie. Very few members of this party are workers and civil servants. As one can notice from the composition of this party, it is a bourgeois party. The American imperialists initially wanted to use this party to advance their interests, but in 1946 the agents of American imperialism, who managed to infiltrate in the leadership of the party, were expelled from the party. Starting with 1946 this party started to collaborate with the communist party and then with the Workers’ Party, and in 1949 it became a part of the United Democratic Patriotic Front.

The Party of the Young Friends (Cheong-u [Chongu]) is a religious party established in 1945 by the left wing of the religious association Cheondogyo [Ch’ondogyo]. Its ranks include peasants, petty merchants and entrepreneurs; a small part of it is formed of workers. This party has a relative influence among the peasantry. Just like the Democratic Party, the Party of the Young Friends is a part of the United Democratic Patriotic Front.   

These parties that are members of the United Democratic Patriotic Front are mobilized to fight for the unification of the Fatherland. Therefore, the Workers’ Party both during the war as well as currently adopted a national united front with them. At the 4th Plenum of the Worker’s Party, comrade Kim Il Sung very clearly drew the political line [that must be adopted] vis-à-vis the Democratic Party and the Cheondogyo. Kim Il Sung criticized those tendencies that considered the Democratic Party and the Cheondogyo solely as enemies, and he pointed out that although some of the members of these parties are reactionaries, this does not mean that these parties are the enemy [of the Workers’ Party]. These parties are friends [of the Workers’ Party]. The current circumstances in the country demand that the Workers’ Party goes hand in hand with all democratic parties which are interested in the unification of the country; the Workers’ Party must actually give a helping hand to these parties. Comrade Kim Il Sung then showed that the policies of these parties must not be judged according to the activity of their reactionary elements, but according to their political line and their goals. Comrade Kim Il Sung said that the challenge is to work together to oust the invaders and to build a united and independent state. Comrade Kim Il Sung said ‘We must know how to work with friendly parties, while at the same time, holding our Marxist-Leninist ground firmly.’ A very important task assigned by Comrade Kim Il Sung at the 4th Plenum was to work on the ordinary members of these parties, because only by attracting these members to the just cause, we can isolate the reactionary elements within these parties.

Currently, in the aftermath of the release of the Supreme People’s Assembly call to the population in South Korea, all the forces in North Korea intensified their fight for the peaceful unification of the fatherland. The Democratic Party and the Cheondogyo Party in North Korea play a certain role in the mobilization of popular forces to fight for the unification of the fatherland. Therefore on November 20 1954 the Central Committee Plenum of the Democratic Party took place and on November 21 1954 the Central Committee Plenum of the Cheondogyo Party took place, to discuss the measures that must be undertaken to fulfill the tasks assigned at the 8th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly.

Mass organizations in North Korea play an important role in mobilizing the largest masses of people for the fight to fulfill the three-year plan, and achieve the peaceful unification of the country.

The first North Korean labor unions were created in September 1945. On 28th of November 1945, in Pyongyang the conference of North Korean Labor Unions took place, when the Unified Committee of North Korean Workers was created; in 1946 it changed its name to the North Korean United Labor Unions. In 1947, the United Labor Unions of North Korea became part of the F.U.S. [United Labor Union Federation] Labor unions reunite millions of workers, coordinate and organize their work. During the war for the defense of the fatherland, labor unions organizations made an important contribution to the organization of the war economy, to the mobilization of all the working forces to fight the enemy. In 1951, at the joint meeting of labor union organizations from North and South Korean, which took place in Pyongyang, labor unions from South and North united.

After the signing of the armistice in Korea and with the increasing strengthening of its ranks, [the United Labor Unions of North Korea raise millions of people and workers to fight for the accomplishment of the three-year plan. The production section of the Central Committee of labor unions, which organizes and leads competitions for the increase of production, works intensely and successfully. Large groups of workers take place in these competitions, contributing therefore to the increase of labor productivity, and the accomplishment of the plan before the due date. Great successes were achieved during the competitions organized for the 15th August anniversary. Animated by the slogan: ‘Let's complete the three-year plan before the deadline’ workers were involved in great competitions to increase production. This intense activity takes this section to the introduction of the most advanced technique, namely Soviet working methods. The mass cultural labor section [sic!] and the labor protection section undertake an intense activity to raise the cultural level, and to organize the assurance of labor protection in all factories. The international section undertakes different measures to strengthen the ties between Korean workers and workers from other countries. Therefore, Korean workers currently correspond with workers from 27 countries.

The Democratic Youth Union reunites the largest strata of the Korean youth. The Democratic Youth Union in North Korea was created in 1946. In 1951, youth organizations in North and South Korea united to create the Democratic Youth Union of Korea. The union is a member of the World Democratic Youth Forum. The central task[s] of the union are to educate the Korean young people in the spirit of democracy and democratic internationalism, to mobilize the youth to actively get involved in the fight for liberty, independence, for the democratic development of the country.

The Democratic Youth Union of Korea is the reserve fund and a close aid for the Workers’ Party. The Workers’ Party recruits its best staff from the ranks of the youth.

During the war for the defense of the fatherland, the Korean youth reached the peak of glory, being an active factor in the achievement of victory. After the war, the large groups of young people joined the active struggle for the rapid reconstruction and economic development of the country. The youth is at the front of the struggle to complete and exceed the [three-year] plan.  Their heroic actions of the Korean youth during the war with the enemy, as well as during fight for the reconstruction of the country will be unforgettable.

During the electoral campaign taking place between the 15th of October and the 5th of December, the Korean youth held elections in the organizations of their Union in an enthusiastic atmosphere, obtaining great successes in the completion of the annual plan.

The Democratic Union of Women is a large democratic mass organization created in 1945. In 1951 it united with the Union of Women in South [Korea]. Pak Jeongae [Pak Chong Ae] was elected president of the Union. Under the leading role of the Workers’ Party, the Democratic Union of Women fights for unity, liberty and independence. Women played a great role in defeating the enemy during the war. Thousands of women fought on the front or within partisan brigades, and, behind the front, they replaced men in all other kind of work.

After the armistice was signed, the Democratic Union of Women mobilized large masses of women to actively fight for the reconstruction of the national economy. The Congress of the Democratic Union of Women, which took place in 1954, played an important role in mobilizing women to intensify their fight for the completion of the three-year plan, and the peaceful unification of the Nation. The Congress's proceedings, as well as its decisions, had a huge echo among women, both in the North and in the South.

The Peasants' Union is a large mass organization reuniting the most advanced category of the Korean working peasantry. It was created in 1946, and in 1951 it united with the Peasant's Union in South Korea. The Peasants' Union fights to reinforce the alliance between the working class and the working peasantry, and plays an important role in the struggle for reconstruction and rapid reconstruction of agriculture.

The National Committee for the Defense of Peace was formed in 1949. The Committee's activity is intertwined with the Korean people's struggle for the unification and the Nation's independence. The Korean National Committee for the Defense of Peace undertakes an intense effort to explain to the masses the goals of the partisans of peace movement. The Korean delegation took part in the partisans of peace International Committee in Stockholm, at the end of 1954. The delegation of the National Committee for the Defense of Peace will participate at the Conference of Peace Partisans from Asia and Africa that will take place in Delhi, in 1955.

The Buddhists' Union is a religious organization reuniting a small number of people. This organization is part of the United Democratic Patriotic Front and it mobilizes its members to fight for the unification of the Fatherland. The second meeting of the Union took place on the 22th of November 1954, when they discussed the issue of completing the tasks established by the Supreme People’s Assembly.

The Christian Union is a religious union. It is also part of the United Democratic Patriotic Front.

Thus all mass organizations play a major role in educating the people, in the permanent improvement of their political level, in the consolidation of the alliance between the working class and the working peasantry, in the mobilization of all social strata to actively fight for the reconstruction and economic development of the country, for the improvement of the people’s material and cultural situation, for the mobilization of all forces to contribute to the Fatherland’s peaceful unification.

The United Democratic Patriotic Front brings together all the political parties, all the mass organizations mentioned above. The front is a large democratic organization reuniting the working class, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, a part of the patriotic national bourgeoisie, having as its goal the mobilization of all the forces of the entire people to fight for the Fatherland’s peaceful unification, the creation of a united country, the liberation of South Korea from the domination of imperialist Americans, the ending of the Syngman Rhee’s regime of terror. The leading role within the United Democratic Patriotic Front belongs to the Workers’ Party, the leader and the guide of the Korean people. The history of the United Democratic Patriotic Front is the history of the whole Korean people’s struggle for the unification of the Fatherland.

During the war, through the Patriotic Front, all the country's forces were mobilized to defeat the enemy. The Workers’ Party has always had a correct attitude towards the Front and established the right line [of approach] in its relations with the front. Thus, at the 4th Plenum of Central Committee of the Workers’ Party's, Comrade Kim Il Sung described the front's activity as positive and assigned the task of reinforcing the front to the members of the party. At the 4th Plenum, Comrade Kim Il Sung strongly criticized some deviations from the party's policy, committed by some members who had asked during the war for the dissolution of the front. Comrade Kim Il Sung showed that it was particularly during the war that the consolidation of the front should have been one of the major concerns of the Party. Comrade Kim Il Sung said that it must never be forgotten that the tight relation with the masses is the source of the party's power, that's why with respect to the front, this Marxist-Leninist principle must be emphasized.  Comrade Kim Il Sung showed that the Workers’ Party must have the leading role within the front.

Owing to the wise leadership of the party, the United Democratic Patriotic Front became a powerful organization. Nowadays, the United Democratic Patriotic Front mobilizes the largest masses, the whole Korean people to actively fight for the unification of the Fatherland. Thus, on November 19th 1954, the 36th Plenum of the Front discussed the issue of taking new measures to complete the assigned tasks by the 8th session of the Supreme People’s Assembly. The Congress addressed letters and calls to political parties and mass organizations in South Korea, calling them to intensify the fight for the unification of the Fatherland.

The foreign policy of the Democratic Popular Republic of Korea

At the foundation of its foreign policy lays the fight for liberty and national independence, a policy reflected in the activity at the international level undertaken by the representatives of the DPRK within international organizations.

After the creation of the DPRK, the Korean government called upon all the democratic states to establish economic and diplomatic relations [with North Korea]. As an answer, on October 12th 1948, diplomatic ties were established with the Soviet Union, on October 15th with the People’s Republic of Mongolia, on October 16th with the People’s Republic of Poland, on October 22nd with the Czechoslovak Republic, on November 3rd [handwritten correction: the 26th of October] with the People’s Republic of Romania, on November 11th with the People’s Republic of Hungary, on November 29th with the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, on April 28th 1949 with the People’s Republic of Albania, on October 6th 1949 with the People’s Republic of China, on November 7th 1949 with the German Democratic Republic, and on January 31st 1950 with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The establishment of diplomatic relations with all the free and independent states represented a means to consolidate the economic and political situation of the DPRK and, at the same time, a means to defend its national independence.

The signing of the economic-cultural cooperation treaty with the Soviet Union in Moscow, on March 17th 1949 played an important role in the consolidation of the cultural and economic situation of the DPRK; the treaty is based on the principle of non-intervention in the interests of big and small peoples [alike], as well as the respect of a state’s independence. This treaty entirely corresponds to the interests of both states. During the entire time that imperialist armies devastated Korean villages and cities under the UN mandate, the Korean people, throughout its protests, were joined by all the peace and liberty lovers who used the stages of international fora to unmask the aggressive politics of the American imperialists and their stooges, the Syngman Rhee clique. The signing of the armistice the 27th of July 1953 was a big victory of the Korean people and the peace supporters worldwide.

The DPRK Government asked on many occasions for the summoning of a political conference to discuss the Korean problem and which to result in the peaceful resolution of the issue. All the DPRK demands were rejected by the Americans.

On April 26th 1954, at the conference of the foreign ministers of the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France, a conference proposed by the Soviet Union, the peaceful resolution of the Korean problem was discussed. The DPRK government fully supported this conference, and the Korean delegation came with solid proposals for a peaceful resolution of the situation, proposals which were rejected by the U.S., Great Britain and France. One of the proposals made by the DPRK delegation was that foreign troupes be withdrawn from Korean territory, and free election be organized in the whole country. For the organization of elections, [the Korean delegation] proposed the creation of a unique electoral commission in which representatives from both South Korea and North Korea should take part. The responsibility of this commission is to ensure the organization of free and democratic elections without any foreign interference.  These elections would represent an important stage on the road towards the unification of the Fatherland.

Another proposal was to recognize the necessity of Korea's peaceful development by the countries taking part in the conference, which are the most interested in maintaining peace in the Far East, and in the need to create positive conditions for the unification of the country in a united, independent and democratic state. The Soviet Union fully endorsed the DPRK's proposals. The delegations of the US, Great Britain and France rejected these proposals.

The 8th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly called upon the South Korean parliament, as well as upon all the political and economic organizations, and the entire Korean people to fight for the peaceful unification of the Fatherland. The South Korean parliament rejected this call, although the Korean people support it.

The DPRK delegations which take part in the Workers’ Democratic Fronts Federation, the Workers’ Democratic Youth Federation and the Socialist Workers’ Federation present themselves as representatives of the Korean people and defend the Korean people's peace and independence.

The state of application of the Armistice Treaty

After the signature of the armistice, Americans incessantly infringed the provisions of the armistice, thus contributing to a heightened state of tension in international relations.

The armistice treaty mentioned that both actors should behave humanely towards all prisoners of war and should support their repatriation. In September 1953, the Americans prevented the neutral commission for the repatriation [of prisoners of war] from carrying out its tasks, by introducing different agents into POW camps to use terror against those prisoners who had been asking to be repatriated.

Another method used [by the Americans] was to prevent the commission from carrying out its work of clarifying [the situation] to the prisoners, as it happened in the camp from Tonjonni [sic], where the official lists with prisoners were falsified.

Between January 20th and 21st 1954, the Americans illegally gave Syngman Rhee and Jiang Jieshi a number of 21,000 Korean and Chinese prisoners, using armed force on them.

This provision of the treaty was fully respected by the Koreans and the Chinese.  The DPRK government always tried to equitably solve the problem of prisoners of war.

Provisions 14, 15, and 16 of the treaty stipulate that naval, air and land forces of both parties should be withdrawn from the neutral zone and the control of some important territories from both North and South should be given to the neutral commission.

Until the end of 1954, the neutral air space was transgressed 390 times by 795 American planes. In addition, there were 7 border transgressions, when there were shootings against Korean and Chinese soldiers. Also, there were 5 cases when South Korean soldiers, with the help of the Americans, crossed the DMZ and thumped down on the [North Korean] civilian police.  

Another strategy used by the Americans was to send spies in North Korea, spies whose task was to undermine the process of economic recovery, as well as the transmission of military and economic data.

Also, the Neutral nations’ Supervisory Commissions in Korea showed that the Americans transported at Busan 106 trench mortars presented under the guise of „canned products”, an aspect revealed at the 48th meeting of the neutral nations supervisory commission by the Polish representatives. There have been many similar cases, when guns were transported in boxes labeled as „canned products”. Another means was to create obstacles for the neutral commission so as to prevent it from fulfilling its tasks, as provided for in the Armistice Treaty. On August 1st the headquarters of the commission in Gunsan was bombed.

In the letter [written] by the Polish and Czechoslovak members of the neutral commission on May 20th, the massive infringements of the Armistice Treaty are pointed out, together with the fact that: „The documents of the neutral nations supervisory commission show that the Chinese-Korean side, strictly respecting the provision of the Armistice Treaty, fully supports and collaborates with the teams of inspectors and created conditions to allow them to accurately carry out inspections and supervisions.”

Thus, by the end of October 1954, the neutral groups located in 5 places [in the country], controlled the rail stations, the airports, and the harbors 1645 times, and attended the departure of 7 divisions of Chinese volunteers from Korea.

The DPRK always respects the armistice treaty and fights for the peaceful resolution of the Korean problem.

To defend the democratic victories of the DPRK, the Korean government pays special attention to the armed forces. The armed forces of the DPRK are now more powerful than when the war ended.

Even though the units behind the frontline are engaged in the great effort aimed at the reconstruction of the country, the improvement of the technical-military level is not neglected. In parallel with the [preparation of the] regular forces of the people’s army, military drills take place three times a week.

Also the air space of the DPRK is well defended, Korean pilots being trained on jet planes, reconnaissance planes, and light bombers.

The army is well equipped, having the same ranks and uniforms as in Romania. The air-defense system and the most important defense units are maintained. Chinese volunteer units are present in the DPRK, but they are in lesser numbers, which proves that the defense capacity of the DPRK increased.

The economic situation in the DPRK

The damages caused by the war

The American military aggression in Korea between 1950 and 1953, the barbarian damages caused by the armed forces of the US and Syngman Rhee led to deep wounds for the national economy of the country.

According to incomplete data, the war damages caused to the Korean economy amount to around 420 million won, 8,700 enterprises and factories, 600,000 houses with a surface of 28 million square meters, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 263 theaters and cinemas, thousands of cultural institutions were destroyed.

Because of these damages, in 1953, the national cooperative and industrial production decreased by more than 40% compared to the period before the war. The metallurgic, chemical, electronic and construction industries were particularly hard hit, their production decreasing by 66-93% in 1953. The coke, cast iron, brass, sodium hydroxide, chemical fertilizers and iron industries were totally destroyed. Cargo transportation diminished to 30% of pre-war levels, and public transportation by 70%.

The war caused huge damages to agriculture as well, especially in the husbandry (cattle) sector. This branch of agriculture only began to develop after the country's liberation from the Japanese oppression and which at the beginning of the 1950s, scored successful results, all rural farms had cattle. The number of cattle decreased in 1952 by 35.3% for cows, and by 70% for pigs. In the first half of 1954, only 64% of the rural farms had cattle. Because of the war, all the branches of the economy of the DPRK suffered.

The tasks of the three-year plan

Once the armistice was signed, the Korean people had to face a challenging task: the rapid reconstruction of national economy. This task was strongly related to the political task of the present revolutionary moment of the nation's peaceful unification. Therefore, the party's task is to restore and exceed the industrial and agriculture level prior to the war. It must be mentioned that the DPRK three-year plan doesn't intend to build the socialist economy, which is the main task of the 5-year and 6-year plans in people’s democracies in Europe, its role being to rebuild the industry, agriculture, transportation, to assure the post-war economic recovery. But according to its goals, it resembles the 2-year and 3-year plans in people’s democracies in Europe between 1947 and 1950.

Thus the three-year plan stipulates that by 1956, the industrial and global production should grow 2.6 times in comparison with 1953, and 1.5 times in comparison with 1949.

The three-year plan reflects the Party's and the Government's policies which follow the economic laws of socialism, whose main principles are: the  full satisfaction of people’s material and cultural needs by continuously developing production with the most advanced technology. Therefore the three-year plan foresees that 1956 will be 1.3 times more prosperous year than 1949 in terms of means of production productivity [sic!] and 2 times more prosperous in terms of consumer goods.

The economic aid given by the Soviet Union, China and people’s democracies facilitates the harmonious development of the entire industry.

The three-year plan also foresees the further recovery and development of agriculture for 1956, so that the total agricultural production surpasses that from 1949 by 19%, and the rice production by 31%. The three-year plan also specifies the recovery and development of all agricultural sectors. It lays down for all transport sectors to be rebuilt and developed so that it satisfies the needs of the national economy and of the population.

The 1954 budget.

The 1954 budget plays an important role in the three-year plan. The figures of the 1954 budget show that the government uses the budget for the development and further reinforcement of national economy, for better living standards, for the reinforcement of the national defense system, for the development of the people’s democracy in the country. The 1954 budget covers all the costs of the economic recovery during the first year of the three-year plan. The state budget for 1954 completely finances the reconstruction and economic development works planned for the first year of the three-year plan. The 1954 general revenue amounts to about 78,341 million won. Expenses planned for 1954 amount to 72,956 won. The majority of the budget revenues come from state enterprises (43.5%), the rest from the Soviet Union, China and from the aid of people’s democracies (33.6%), and 13.7% are taxes from the population.

Out of the total amount of expenses planned for 1954, 41,471 million won are allocated for the national economy, 9,535 for socio-cultural activities, 6,500 million for national defense, 6,289 million for administrative constructions. A large amount of these expenses – i.e. 20,741 millions won, is allocated for reconstruction [works]. These big capital investments will increase the funds allocated for industry, agriculture, the rebuilding and construction of new industrial factories, electric plants, apartment buildings, etc.

Assistance from brotherly countries

The Korean people, having heroically fought against American oppressors, are now heroically fighting for the reconstruction of the Fatherland. The tasks established by the Party and the Government had a big echo among the working classes. The Korean people are firmly decided to fight for the Nation's reconstruction and for a better life.

At the 6th session of the Supreme Assembly which took place on the 20th of December 1953, Comrade Kim Il Sung showed that the guaranty of the success of the reconstruction process and of a happy life resides in the unshakable determination, unbound love for the Fatherland, patriotism and creative initiative of the people, tried by the war for the defense of the Fatherland and strengthened by the people’s democracy regime, together with the constant brotherly help from the USSR, China and people’s democracies. By effectively helping the Korean people during the war provoked by the American imperialist and Syngman Rhee’s clique, the peoples of the Soviet Union, China and the people’s democracies made their contribution to the victory of the Korean people in this war. In the aftermath of the war, brotherly countries lent a helping hand again to the beloved Korean people. The Soviet Union offered 1 billion rubles, the Chinese people 8 trillion yuan, other people’s democracies sent equipment, goods, and specialists, representing a priceless help with fulfilling the tasks of recovering and rebuilding the industry, transportation, agriculture. Machinery, equipment, specialists, consumer goods keep arriving from brotherly countries, for the Korean people.

Thus only in September 1954, North Korea received the following: almost 100 types of machinery and equipment from the Soviet Union among which  92 trucks, 300 perforators, over 3600 sq m plates [of iron], over 500 tons rolled steel, over 100 tons slated and angular steel, iron slates, 9 electric locomotives for the transportation of lumber to timber plants, 8 electric engines, 8 rasping machines, 109 transformers, 7 excavators, 6 electric jointers, 8 Diesel engines, various lathes, smoothening machines, pneumatic hammers, turbines, construction machines, construction materials, over 2,300 tons car oil, 150 steam lids for automatic machinery, 42 tons of paper, 45 tons of needles, over 1000 tons of nitric fertilizers, etc; the following materials arrived from China in September: 7 electric engines, 5 cranes, 150 tons rolled iron, 150 tons zinc-covered iron, 3,400 cubic meters of lumber pillars, 22,500 tons of coal, steel pipes, needles, brick machinery; the following materials arrived from Poland in September: smoothening machinery, over 200 tons rolled iron, 30 tons double-T-shaped steel, 140 tons railway metal, etc; the following materials arrived from Czechoslovakia in September: 8 pneumatic presses, 1 lathe, 35 wireless telegraphy machines, etc; from the GDR: 24 electric cranes, 10 lathes and other machinery; from Romania the following materials arrived in September: 190 newspaper paper and 520 tons of gasoline; from Hungary, 12 lathes and 9 perforating machines; from Bulgaria: 2600 cubic meters of glass; from Mongolia: 6,056 cattle and horses, 9106 goats, 7159 sheep, 427 milk cows.

Specialists from all these countries are drafting the construction plans for factories and plants which their respective countries will build in Korea and [these specialists] are helping [the Koreans’] work in various Korean factories and plants.

On December 25th 1954 a delegation of the Committee for the Support of Korea and Vietnam, belonging to the United Democratic Front in the GDR and headed by the writer Max Tzinering, came to Pyongyang. The delegation brought 37 wagons of gifts – machines, industrial tools, medicines, clothes, etc. - for the Korean people.

Thus, with the help of the Soviet Union, China and people’s democracies, the Korean people are successfully accomplishing their important goal: to rebuild and develop the DPRK national economy.

The mobilization of internal forces

Encouraged by the material and moral support of brotherly countries, the Korean people achieve one success after another towards the accomplishment of tasks drawn by the three-year plan. A great emphasis is put on the maximum utilization of internal resources. Workers from all industrial branches are trying to use their materials as efficiently as possible, they use old materials collected by the entire population. Thus workers in the metal pipe sector used 360 tones of resources giving a 380,000 won revenue to the state. The Hwanghae metallurgic factory generally used 557 tons of iron, 29,647 bricks, various electric accessories, thus bringing a revenue of 9,540,000 won to the state. Saving materials and using internal resources is very important; thus in 1954 the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution which stipulated [the undertaking of] an intense effort to collect old paper and cardboard to be given to factories for recycling.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens answered to the party's and mass organizations' calls to rebuild the national economy. Korea's towns are being transformed in real construction sites. The work of volunteers, especially that of young people and women, is of great importance for the national goal. The youth's success in the reconstruction work of Pyongyang is well known. The youth in institutes, schools, factories actively took part in the competition to honor the 15th of August, exceeding the quotas by 200-300% even 500%. The students of Kim Il Sung University stood out through their work, finishing the construction of the stadium which covers 44,000 sq m one month in advance; also the students of the Kim Chek Institute of Technology, of the Construction Institute, of the Music School [also stood out]. The work is led by the members of the Democratic Youth League which represents a role-model for all young people, with respect to their work. During this year’s spring, the Korean youth planted 204 trees in the mountains on a surface exceeding 22,000 chungbo, in a very short period of time.

Korean women are not lagging behind. Motivated by the calls of the Democratic Union of Women, they actively fight for the reconstruction of the national economy. The names of labor heroines are well-known, such as the textile worker Kim Bok-nae [Kim Pok Ne], the swine breeder Lee Bok-seon [Ri Pok Son], and others. Today, Korean women which showed heroism during the war, by replacing men in all types of production work, fighting side by side with men on the battlefield, or in partisans’ detachments, represent a strong force in the fight to complete and exceed the tasks of the three-year plan, in all the branches of the national economy.

The results obtained until now in the reconstruction of industry and transportation

Owing to the efforts full of abnegation of the entire Korean people, headed by the Worker’s Party, and owing to the help provided by brotherly countries, huge successes have been obtained in the work of rebuilding the national economy, in the short period that has passed since the signing of the armistice until now.

The aspect of industry, agriculture and transportation has totally changed. The results of 1954 – the first year of the three-year plan, show that the three-year plan is not only going to be completed, but also that it will be exceeded. The Planning Commission reports on the completion of the state plan for the first half of 1954 reveals that the total volume of state and cooperative industrial production was one and a half times bigger in the first half of 1954 than in the first half of 1953, the state and cooperative industrial production having grown by 49% compared to the first half of 1953, while in the third trimester of 1954 (the trimestrial plan being completed on September 25th) the total industrial production grew by over 60% compared to the third trimester of 1953.

If we look at industrial branches, the successes are the following: in the first half of 1954, the volume of heavy industrial production grew by 171% compared to the first half of 1953, the production of electricity by 227%, the production of chemical fertilizers and construction materials by 128%, the production of consumer goods (light industry) by 163%. The quotas for goods transportation by railway was exceeded in the first half of 1954 by 101%. In the first half of 1954, the volume of goods transported by railway increased by 150% compared to the first half of 1953, and the transportation of passengers grew 16 times compared to the first half of 1953.

In the first half of 1954, the volume of large-scale constructions grew 3.4 times compared to the first half of 1953. Owing to the efforts full of abnegation of the entire Korean people and to the help provided by the USSR, China and people’s democracies, in the first half of 1954 over 90 production factories were put online, and at the end of the third trimester, the number of factories rebuilt or reconstructed since the armistice had been signed reached 232. The production volume of factories increased. In the transportation sector, over 35 railway bridges were rebuilt, among which the great bridge over Taedong River, 120km-long railways, and pedestrian bridges amounting to 3,600 meters. In the first half of 1954, owing to the reconstruction and rebuilding [of the national economy], it became possible again to produce steel slates and special steel, lead, internal combustion engines for small ships, coal wagons, wire, engine ships, sulphuric acid, zinc, cement, glass, etc.

The cities of North Korea completely changed their look. Now big cities are already cleared of wreckage and they are starting to be rebuilt. Great successes were scored in the reconstruction of the Republic’s capital – Pyongyang. Workers, clerks, students, the entire population of the city came to work towards the rebuilding and reconstruction of the heroic city, Pyongyang, with an unprecedented enthusiasm. Owing to the zeal of the entire people who took part in the competitions [organized] in the honor of the 15th of August, construction work at the Moranbong Theatre, Stalin Boulevard, Moranbong stadium, Mao Zedong Square were finished. A new building appears in Pyongyang every day. Many administrative building, shops, hotels, houses were built. The inhabitants of other cities are also working with zeal towards the rebuilding and the reconstruction of the country.

In the last months of 1954, this work gained momentum. Workers from industrial plants and transportation intensified their work to complete and exceed the plan for 1954.

Many large plants throughout the country completed the plan one, two or even three months in advance. Thus, the great chemical fertilizer plant in Hamhung City completed its annual plan on October 29th by 100.1%, the textile factory in Sariwon City completed its annual plan on September 30th by 100.7%, the fabric factory in Euncheon [Un Chon] completed its annual plan on September 24th by 100.1%, the fabric factory in Sineuiju [Sinuiju] completed its annual plan on September 25th by 100.2%, the great steel mill in Cheongjin [Chongjin] completed its annual plan on October 30th by 108.2%, the workers of this steel mill vowed to complete the plan by 135% by the end of the year. Such examples are numerous. In general, the majority of industrial plants and especially big factories completed the annual plan for 1954 ahead of the deadline. This situation shows that the three-year plan will be exceeded by a large margin in some industrial branches.

The December 21st 1954 issue of Rodong Sinmun, which when assessing the completion of the 1954 plan concludes that in general the plan was completed before the deadline, points out the prospects for the 1955 plan. Thus, it is said that in some of the branches of industry the tasks of three-year plan will be completed. For instance, in 1955, production in the heavy industry branch will be 132.36% bigger than in1949, while the three-year plan stipulated that for 1956 production of means of production [sic!] be 1.3 times bigger than in 1949. Consumer goods production will be 204.6% more at the end of 1955 than in 1949, therefore exceeding the quota stipulated in the three-year plan which says that by the end of 1956 the production of consumer goods grow 2 times bigger compared to that of 1949.

This is how the heroic Korean people, thanks to the unselfish help of the Soviet Union, China and people’s democracies, quickly rebuilds its national economy.

The status of agriculture

The successes [North Korea] scored [so far] are not limited only to industry and transportation. Great successes were scored in the North Korean agriculture as well. As we pointed out from the beginning, agriculture also suffered because of the war. Many arable surfaces were destroyed by the savage bombings of the American barbarians. Many irrigation installations were also destroyed. In the aftermath of the war, one of the most principal [sic!] tasks lay in front of the Party and of the entire people: the rebuilding and the speedy development of agriculture. This task was even more acute as it is tightly linked to another fundamental task: the rebuilding of the entire national economy after the war. It is known that without the speedy recovery and development of agriculture the tasks of industrialization, of improving and rising the standard of living cannot be met. This is why the Workers’ Party has been paying and continues to pay a lot of attention to the development of agriculture.

As early as during the war, the Workers’ Party directed its attention especially towards villages, understanding the great role that agriculture plays in the war [effort], as well as the prospects for the post-war recovery of the entire economy. Owing to the efforts undertaken by the peasantry, the North Korean agriculture not only did not regress during the war, but it [actually] developed. A great accomplishment in the agricultural sector during the war was the creation of the first agricultural cooperatives. As early as 1952 various agricultural cooperatives emerged in North Korean villages.

At the 6th Plenum of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, following the teachings of Leninism-Stalinism which show that the path for the further development of agriculture is the collectivization of small individual peasant households, because only this path gives way to the radical transformation of agriculture and to the creation of a happy life for the peasantry, the beloved leader of the Korean people, Marshall Kim Il Sung assigned the following task: ‘ by 1954, in several areas of the country, we must create agricultural production cooperatives based on collectively working the land, maintaining the private right over the land and the means of production, in order [to enhance] our experience.’ This directive forms the foundation of the post-war development of the Korean agriculture. This year, [the effort] to organize various agricultural cooperatives picked up momentum. There are three forms of agricultural cooperatives in North Korea: 1. The first type is based on helping others in their work. Peasants join forces to work the land for a year. The property right over the land and agricultural tools is maintained. 2. The second type is the agricultural cooperative. This form also maintains the property right over the land but the land is being worked on collectively. Payments are made according to number of hours worked and to the land brought [to the cooperative]. But the revenue made according to the share of land brought [to the cooperative] cannot exceed 20% of the entire profit. 3. The third form [is] also the most developed form of cooperation in Korea at the time being. In this case basic agricultural tools and draft animals are collectively owned, land is maintained as private property, but only formally because the owner of the land does not receive anything according to the property he owns, but only according to the hours he works. These cooperatives are the most advanced ones. Currently, there are over 9,000 cooperatives (of the second and third type) in the DPRK which comprise over 30% of the total number of peasant households and 27% of the arable land surface [of the country].

We must add that the pace of forming agricultural cooperatives in the DPRK is very rapid. Thus, in September1954, there were around 1000 cooperatives (according to the article of Comrade Kim Il Sung ‘For the lasting peace, for the people’s democracy’), in November there were already 7,400 cooperatives (of the second and third type). In January 1955 (at the gathering of the peasant leaders), there were already 9,000 cooperatives (of the second and third type).

The great majority of production cooperatives in villages are currently agricultural, land-working [cooperatives]. There are some mixed cooperatives, which are based on working the land, husbandry, fishing in parallel; these cooperatives are called half agricultural, half husbandry, or half agricultural, half fisheries. These cooperatives are playing a great role in improving the standard of living for the poor peasantry. Poor peasants, who make up 30% of the rural population still, usually live in the mountain area or on the sea-side. Because of the inaccessibility of land, and since the little land they have is barely productive, the population in these regions cannot improve its standard of living just by working the land. Therefore, as early as the 6th Plenum of the Workers’ Party, Comrade Kim Il sung showed that the only way to solve the problem of the poor peasantry was to form mixed cooperatives, in the mountainous areas and on the seaside, so that peasants have the possibility to complement their revenues by breeding cattle or fishing. Currently, a lot of attention is paid to these half-agricultural, half-husbandry, or half-fishery. The November Plenum of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party assigned as the main task the intensification of the effort to form such cooperatives.

Although they are only in the early phase of development, North Korean agricultural cooperatives demonstrate the superiority of [amassed] production compared to individual households and open a great window of opportunity for the further development of agriculture and for improving the life of peasants.

In addition to the cooperative sector, there is also a state sector in the North Korean agriculture, which was created by the 1946 agrarian reform. In November 1954, there were 184 state households, 27 of which were agricultural and husbandry, 35 were orchards, 10 grew vegetables, and 112 were husbandry farms.

North Korea has very little arable land. In July 1954, the arable land of the DPRK was 1,964,500 chungbo and the surface of peasant households amounted to 1,003,000 chungbo, the average piece of arable land per household is 1.8 chungbo. This is why there is a lot of attention given to the recovery of lands destroyed by the war and by floods and to increasing the production per chungbo ratio. In the efforts for the rebuilding and development of agriculture, the peasantry is effectively helped by the state. Production cooperatives are enjoying a particular support from the state. Therefore, until now, the state granted 7363 chungbo of land to cooperatives that used to have little land, the machine-hire stations plowed the land for 184 cooperatives. The state is providing a great deal of assistance in the form of select seeds, draft animals, fertilizers, agricultural implements. Until now, the state provided the peasantry loans worth 80,000,000 won through agricultural banks. Only in 1954 the state provided the peasantry with credits worth 1,300,000 won and 13,000 tons of select seeds.

The machine- and horse-hire stations created by the state represent a great form of assistance for those peasants united in cooperatives as well as for those working on individual plots of land. In November 1954, there were 16 stations for renting cars and over 100 stations for renting horses. Machine- and horse-hire stations worked approximately 100,000 hectares of land belonging to peasants during the spring plowing season. It must be underlined, however, that the efforts of machine-hire stations are still frail. This aspect was criticized at the November Plenum of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party and serious tasks were assigned in this respect. The lack of qualified workers, to drive the tractors and the agricultural vehicles, and the lack of a tractor-repair plant, cause great hardship in this sector,

Irrigations play a great role in the further development of agriculture and in the increase of production per chungbo ratio, and especially in the growth of rice production, rice being the staple food of the population. In the period since the signing of the armistice, intense efforts to repair irrigation channels and tunnels destroyed during the war were undertaken. Thus, on August 25, 1954, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution which stipulated that irrigation south of Pyongyang be continued. Irrigation construction in this region began in 1946 and was supposed to end in 1952. The war interrupted these construction works and everything that had been completed by the beginning of the war, was destroyed by the American barbarians. The resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers stipulates the rebuilding of the old irrigation works and the rebuilding of the new systems. 6 large tunnels (1815m-long) and a 350km-long channel will be built. These great construction works will make possible the expansion of cultivated land in that region by 25,000 chungbo and the rice harvest will grow by 53,000 tons annually.

Owing to the perseverant efforts of the North Korean peasantry, and to the serious assistance received from the state, great successes in the restoration of arable land, in the growth of agricultural production were scored. Thus, this year, cultivated land grew by 18,000 hectares compared to last year. Although this year’s weather conditions were not favorable especially in the Northern areas, owing to the patriotic efforts of the peasantry, very large harvests were obtained in other regions so as to meet the demand of the entire country. This year, very important successes were obtained in the growth of the production per chungbo ratio. The land, as it was very well worked on, gave an abundant harvest. Thus, this year the barley harvest increased compared to last year by 130%. The ‘Forward’ cooperative from the Kîmcen [sic] county, Hwanghae province harvested 60% more potatoes than the plan specified. The peasant called Kim In Ok from the Sekbon?i region, Sincen country, Hwanghae province, harvested 13 tons of rice from each of the chungbos in his plot of land. The peasant called Li Sen Ok from the same village obtained 11 tons of rice per chungbo. The Dakeen [sic] agricultural cooperative in Mundeok [Mund’ok] county, South Pyeongan [Pyong’an] province obtained an abundant harvest this year. The members of this cooperative harvested 8 tons of rice per chungbo from the lands that were grubbed up. The Inha [sic] agricultural cooperative, in Eunsan [Unsan] county, North Pyeongan province, provides an example of an exceptional harvest, obtaining 21.7 tons of rice per chungbo. The peasant called Pak Phe Min from Bongsan [Pongsan] county harvested 92 tons of potatoes per chungbo.

Important successes were obtained in husbandry as well. After the end of the war, the number of horses grew 3 times, swine by 58%, cattle by 2%, sheep and goats by 6%. With the help of the state, during the first semester of 1954, 21% of the peasant households which did not have draft animals, received draft animals by mid-last year. However, it must be underlined that in the field of breeding cattle, North Korea is lagging behind by a lot. Thus, by mid 1954 only 64% of peasant households had cattle, the rest lacking draft animals. This is why the November Plenum assigned as one of the most important tasks the abolition of this lag as far as breeding cattle is concerned. There are favorable conditions for successfully completing this task because the geographic features of North Korea allow for the development of husbandry. Currently, in addition to the land cultivated with fodder plants there are 341,900 chungbo of pastures, and 144,200 chungbo of land that could be cultivated with fodder plants is left to waste. In 1955 the number of big cattle will grow to 620,000 while the number of swine will reach 1,170,000.

The living standards of the peasantry in North Korea are growing. Peasants in production cooperatives are building a new life for themselves. Thus, this year, the members of agricultural cooperatives-fisheries from the village of Sinbon?i, Cheongdan [Ch’ongdan] county, received 1050 kg of cereal and 15,000 won per member. The members of the cooperative established their own club, nursery, store and barber shop. Peasants from the North Hamheung region, South Hamhueng region, Gangryeong [Kangryong], which suffered from the floods which destroyed the harvest, received a great deal of assistance from the state. The Cabinet of Ministers adopted special resolutions stipulating the aid given to peasants from regions affected by natural conditions and measures to stabilize their lives were taken.

Thus the peasants of these provinces have the possibility to work in various factories during the winter, earning [money to buy] clothes and food for themselves and their families. Peasants in these regions were exempted from paying taxes to the state.

Given the just policy undertaken by the party and the government on the issue of the peasantry, the North Korean peasantry is an active force which fights for the rebuilding of the national economy, for the unification of the Fatherland. The patriotic impetus of the peasantry towards purchasing products from the state, an impetus which is still present now, the on-time payment of taxes to the state, demonstrate the love of the peasantry towards the people’s republic. Since November 1st when the state prohibited the sale of cereal by private traders, the peasantry, having received this resolution with joy, started selling their products to the state, thus helping to create state reserves.

We must underline that there are exploiting elements among the North Korean peasants, which exploit the poor peasantry and the workers through profiteering. The state limits the possibilities for exploitation through certain measures directed against profiteering, by curtailing private trade, etc. but it must be said that the Party did not launch the slogan ‘fighting to curtail the kulaks.’ Currently, the efforts of the entire peasantry must be intensified to speedily develop the agriculture, in general. The attention of the party in its rural policy is currently directed towards this.

The Workers’ Party Plenum which took place at the beginning of November 1954 assigned tasks of great importance meant to lead to the development of agriculture in North Korea in a very short period of time, so that it meets the demand of the population and of the light industry. The assigned tasks are the following: recovering and maintaining arable land, expanding them by grubbing them up, increase the production per chungbo ratio, growing the number of animals and their productivity, improving party efforts to grow the production level of agricultural production cooperatives, of state households, improving the performance of machine- and horse-hire stations, intensifying the irrigation efforts, etc. The November Plenum assigned a great task to the Party: solving, as fast as possible, the poor peasantry problem, which constitutes 30% of the entire peasantry by creating complex production cooperatives (half-agricultural, half-fisheries and half-agricultural, half-husbandry). The November Plenum resolutions were greeted with joy by the large masses of the peasantry. Rallies were organized throughout the country, to discuss the resolution of the Plenum, and the peasantry took upon themselves the responsibility to successfully complete the tasks assigned by the party.

On January 7-9 1955, the country-level gathering of peasant leaders was summoned by the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party and by the DPRK Government in Pyongyang. The gathering assessed the results of the efforts undertaken in 1954, to increase the harvest per chungbo ratio and took measures to intensify the fight to successfully complete the tasks assigned by the November Plenum of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party. The 1955 plan stipulated that the total cereal production reached 3,300,000 tons by the end of the year. The gathering of peasant leaders in agriculture, as well as the country-level meeting of the agricultural cooperatives presidents which took place during the gathering, will play an important role in the mobilization of the entire peasantry to take part in the efforts for the rebuilding and speedy development of the DPRK agriculture.

The development of trade and consumer [goods] cooperatives

The rebuilding and rapid reconstruction of light industry and food production plants, the general development of industry and agriculture in North Korea allowed to the continuous expansion of production of the most important categories of foods and industrial goods. Thus, in the first half of 1954 the population bought 61% more foods and industrial products, including rationed goods, than in the first half of 1953. The sale of consumer goods increased compared to the first half of 1953 in the following manner: rice – by 30%; other cereals – by 10%; fish – 276%; oil – 25%; soy – 286%; fabrics – 39%; knitwear –66%; hosiery and socks – 19%; footwear – 60%; coal – 165%.

In the first half of 1954, 11 general stores, including No. 2 general store in Pyongyang, 1284 shops, kiosks and restaurants were open in the cooperative and state sectors, and at the end of June 1954, 12 general stores, 3377shops, 910 kiosks and 718 restaurants were allowed to sell goods.

There are three sectors in North Korea’s trade: state; cooperative and private. State and cooperative trade includes the majority of the trade infrastructure. Because of the rise in the production of light industry and agriculture, and because of the drop in prices, the circulation of goods as a part of the branch of state and cooperative trade grew notably, and prices of consumer goods in state and cooperative shops dropped a lot. State and cooperative trade play an important role in the current phase in North Korea, in the development of trade between cities and villages, in the consolidation of the relationship between the peasantry and the working class. The task of state and cooperative trade resides in expanding and improving the consumer goods supply of the population.

Consumer goods cooperatives play a great role in North Korea. Between the 18th and the 20th of October  the Eleventh Meeting of the Central Committee of Consumer Goods Cooperatives of Korea took place in Pyongyang. The representatives of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, headed by Comrade Pak Jeongae [Pak Chong Ae], took part in the meeting, alongside representatives of the government, trade organizations and cooperatives. This meeting allowed for an assessment of the results obtained so far from the efforts undertaken in the sector of cooperatives, for pointing out the shortcomings and the ways to improve the situation, for underlining the importance of cooperatives for the current stage [of development]. In his speech, Comrade Pak Jeongae underlined the political line followed by the Party and by the Government in the period after the war, which implies the improvement in the standard of living of the peasantry and the speedy recovery of agriculture. Workers in cooperatives must demonstrate the superiority of cooperatives by [enhancing] trade between cities and villages.

There is also a private sector in the trade sector of North Korea. This sector includes petty and medium traders, peasants possessing individual households. It must be said that the capitalist sector in the North Korean economy resides especially in trade. There are shops, private kiosks in North Korea. Prices for goods are higher in private trade than in state and cooperative trade. Profiteering is still practices in this sector of trade. The government takes measures to curtail profiteering. Not long ago, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution prohibiting the sale of rice and other cereal in private shops. This was adopted because merchants were hoarding goods; they bought rice at harvest-time, during the fall, for very little and they sold it towards the summer, when there were shortages of rise, for a much higher price. It must be mentioned that because of the drop in prices on the state and cooperative market, prices on the private market also dropped.

The successes obtained in the field of trade are a result of the policy adopted by the party and the government to improve the standard of living of the Korean people.

The improvement of the people’s standard of living was and continues to be an important concern of the government and of the Workers’ Party of the DPRK. The tasks assigned in the three-year plan show this. Alongside the rebuilding and reconstruction of factories and administrative buildings, in the aftermath of the war, an intense effort was undertaken to build houses for workers and clerks. Thus, in the first half of 1954 houses for workers and clerks were build, amounting to a total area of 150,000 sq m, and almost 10,000 workers and clerks were provided with new housing. The number of workers and clerks increased because of the rebuilding and development of the national economy. Thus, in the first half of 1954 the number of workers and clerks increased by 77,000 people. It must be noted that North Korea not only does not have unemployment, but it actually needs more workforce, a fact which was pointed out in the call of the 8th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK addressed to the South Korean population.

Nominal and real wages of North Korean workers and clerks continuously rise. This fact is possible owing to the measures taken by the government to raise wages, but also because of the drop in prices. On February 23rd, 1954 the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution which stipulated that workers’ wages will be raised on average by 25%, in the coal industry by 50-55%, in metallurgy by 40%.

After the armistice was signed, three drops in the prices of consumer goods took place in the DPRK. In the first half of 1954, the result of these drops in prices compared to the first half of 1953 was that prices in state general stores dropped by 44.2% and in cooperative shops by 38.8%. Prices on the private market also dropped. Thus the price of rice dropped by 45%, fish - 56.8%, fabrics - 29%, hosiery, socks – 43%, soap- 50%. Due to the two drops in prices made in the aftermath of the war until June 1954, and owing to the measures taken to raise wages, the workers’ and clerks’ wages were raised by 25-55%, and the real wage increased more than twofold. As a result of the last increase in prices that was made on September 25th 1954, the population’s revenue will amount to 4 billion won.

It must be shown, too, that besides the rise of nominal wages and price decrease, the Korean state adopted various measures to raise the workers' live standards. The CC Plenum of the Workers’ Party addressed this by encouraging the speedy development of agriculture. The Government's and the Workers’ Party's permanent concerns for [creating] better life conditions are also shown in the last decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the DPRK from December 25th, 1954, which stipulates a wage bonus for January of 100% [of the value of the current wage] for workers in Pyongyang and by 50% from those outside the capital, on the occasion of the New Year. This had a great echo among workers.

Thus, thanks to the Government's and the Workers’ Party's policies, which follow the fundamental economic law of Socialism, the workers' standard of living grows every day in the DPRK. As a response to the party's and the government's care, workers are making tenfold efforts to complete the three-year plan ahead of the deadline, the country's population is more and more united around the party and the government and actively fighting to achieve the unification of the Fatherland.

The socio-cultural situation in the DPRK

The work and workers’ protection conditions

Expressing the care of the people’s regime for the introduction of correct work conditions, the Workers’ Party introduced the Labor Code, as early as 1946. Therefore, in North Korean factories and enterprises new working principles were introduced, totally opposed to those imposed under the Japanese colonialist yoke. This code stipulates: a 8-hour working day, and a 7-hour working day in health imperiling hazardous places, a 5-hour working day for teenagers aged between 14 and 16, the prohibition of work for teenagers under 14. Workers have the right to a vacation between 2 and 4 weeks long per year. Women giving birth have the right to take maternity leave for 35 days before delivery and 42 days after. Workers have the right to a special grant if they temporarily lose their work capacity. They also have the right to birth allowance, [a special grant for deaths in the family to] help with the burial, and an annual donation for children who lose their parents in work accidents.  The Labor Code establishes the right to get a pension, and, for the first time, legislates about a system of social insurance.

During the war, the enormous destruction Korean factories and institutions incurred made work conditions for workers extremely harsh. Many of the Labor Code's provisions could not be put into practice. For example, the needs [of soldiers] on the battlefield forced people to work more than 8 hours in factories and to give up vacation. This situation continued long after the armistice as well.

Once the first economic successes were obtained, in 1954, the Government of the DPRK was able to take measures again that would ameliorate work conditions. Thus, in September 1954, the Government called off the resolution ‘About work during the war’ dating from June 1950, re-introducing the 8-hour working day, but specifying that productivity must increase. Workers were given vacations again. Special attention started to be given to the qualification of workers to work in industrial [plants].

In the first half of the year 1954, 15,000 workers graduated from special qualification schools.

The fact that in June 1954, productivity in industry increased by 33% in comparison to the same period of the previous year, due to the Soviet Union's and other people’s democracies material and technical support for the Korean industry, shows the extent to which the work of workers [sic!] could be made easier in such a short time by introducing modern technologies in various industrial sectors.

In factories that continue to function underground, special attention was given to work protection. New ventilation and water removal systems were introduced for the raining season. Many of them expanded the space allocated for halls.

Of course, the consequences of the war could not be easily overcome. There are still harsh working conditions in Korean factories, despite the progress made in this respect. A great share of the hard work must be done manually. For example, land dislocations for new constructions, the traction of wagons in mines are done manually. Most of the factories [in North Korea] cannot provide workers with heating during the winter. There are not enough protection materials.

The Direction for Work Hygiene within the Ministry of Health is in charge of working security and the protection of workers’ health.

A special attention is paid by the people’s regime to the introduction of a fair wage system. The current wage system is institutionalized by the Labor Code and the law for payment according to labor. There is the principle of the equal labor for an equal pay, irrespective of age or sex.

To establish the different categories of wages, the workers’ qualification level and the hard vs. light labor difference are taken into account. If the average wage for the light labor is 100, the hard labor wage is 286%, and if there are dangerous working conditions it goes to 309%.

The current average wage is between 1,500-2,000 won. A worker that overcomes his quota can make even 7,000-8,000 won. Mine workers can get bigger salaries. The state gives every worker a ration card to buy the essential consumer goods at low prices. With the card they can buy: rice and other cereal, meat, vegetables, clothes and shoes twice a year and coal for heating. The amount of food depends on the type of labor, a worker having a hard job can get 1 kilo of rice, while a state clerk gets ½ kilo. Using the card, 1 kilo of rice costs 35 won. With their current wages, and of course, by relying on their savings, workers can get the basic goods.

Currently, there is a debate about the vast introduction of a fair wage system. In the article ‘For a rational organization of wages’ the Rodong Sinmun newspaper September 20th, 1954, shows that although this wage system is the most advantageous one both for the state and for the worker, the wage system law in that moment was applied only in a proportion of 50% . In conclusion, the article urges that the wages system must apply in all working sectors.

The social insurance and health care systems

The social insurance system principles in the DPRK are legislated for in the Constitution and the Labor Code.

The social insurance budget is made of funds coming from state and private enterprises. The state enterprises' contribution represents 15-18% of every worker's wage, and the private ones 10-12% of every wage paid. For the social insurance fund, workers and clerks make an individual contribution of 1%.

The social insurance fund is used to pay sickness leave to those who lose their ability to work for a limited amount of time, illness leave, maternity leave, donations for orphans, pensions, etc.

In every factory registered with a labor union, special committees are created to monitor the correct application and enforcement of social insurance principles.

A special attention is given to children. After Korea's liberation, many dorms and kindergartens were built for pre-school children. Even during the war, in 1951, the Government adopted a resolution stipulating that the State would take care of orphan children's education and created schools and dorms for them.

After the armistice was signed and with the reconstruction of factories, new nurseries and day care dorms were built.

In October 1954, the Cabinet decided to increase the quality of those places children were living in. The resolution stressed on the adoption of measures to repair the buildings at a faster rate. Stricter hygiene rules must be respected. In conclusion, the resolution points out that more nurseries for children must be build in factories.

Of course, those nurseries and dorms which exist currently are not enough for the workers' increasing number of children. For this reason, many women carry their children on their backs at work. The three-year plan stipulates that by 1956, the number of nurseries, day care facilities and dormitories, must grow by 727% in comparison with the pre-war period, and the number of beds within these places must grow 12.5 times.

Under Japanese occupation, there hadn't been any public health care system, managed by the state. Japanese statistics from 1928 show that 90% of children under 15 were suffering of tuberculosis and 1 of 5 Koreans died of tuberculosis.

After the liberation of the DPRK, a network of sanitary institutions was organized, led by a Ministry of Health. In 1947, there were already 327 polyclinics and 134 hospitals, 7 of which for infectious diseases. (After Japanese liberation, only 27 polyclinics and 19 hospitals, which were used only by the Japanese, had been recovered.) An institute of bacteriology and immunology was created, 3 institutes of medicine, 6 nurse schools. Five years after liberation, there were 200 doctors and 300 nurses in Korea. Due to preventive measures, many diseases such as cholera disappeared. Thanks to Soviet experience, the health care system was created. In 1949, the Soviet Union provided the Korean Government with 15 hospitals.

During the war, the majority of medical institutions were destroyed. 85% of medical workers went on the battlefield. Ambulatories and 50 antiepidemic detachments charged with destroying the infested objects discarded by the Americans were created throughout the country.

During the war, priceless medical help came from the Soviet Union and other people’s democracies, who built battlefield hospitals equipped with the best medical equipment behind the frontline. After the signing of the armistice, these battlefield hospitals were transformed in regional hospitals, with 200 to 400 beds and also became centers of training for future medical staff in those regions.

After the armistice, 7 hospitals, polyclinics and sanatoriums were expanded after being partially destroyed during the war. New sanitary units were built as well.

Compared to the previous year, in the first half of 1954, the number of hospital beds increased by 2,800.

In 1956, at the end of the three-year plan, the number of beds in hospitals will increase by 253.7% compared to the pre-war period. In industrial centers, the number of sanitary units will increase by 176.5%, and in the countryside four- to fivefold. By the end of 1953, there was one sanitary center to 5-8 towns, and by 1956 there will be one center to 1.9 towns. A new hospital with 600 beds will be built in Pyongyang. By the end of the three-year plan, 2,000 doctors and nurses will be instructed. Among the latest decisions taken by the Government in the health domain, we mention the July 1954 decision stipulating that all workers and state officers, insured by the State, would receive free medicine. Their families receive a 60% discount.

In 1954 [the state] organized sanitary courses for quack doctors who were clandestinely practicing empirical medicine, especially in rural regions. After graduation, they received a certificate of free practice. This measure was taken because there were not a sufficient number of doctors.

In October 1954, a large campaign against the spreading of typhus and other diseases took place. In every town a nurse was sent to inform the people.

Another large campaign is currently being organized in order to spread hygiene in public places such as cinemas, restaurants, shops, etc. In this respect, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution which stipulated a strict control over keeping public places clean, the restoration and expansion of the water pipes, the creation of public baths, the tearing down of unhygienic houses and the provision of loans to workers to build new houses.

Education

During the Japanese occupation, the Korean people did not have access to education. The illiteracy rate was 90%. Until the liberation, there were only 1,967 primary schools. In Northern Korea there were only one school and a medical institute. Only children whose parents were members of the bourgeoisie or the capitalist environment had access to high-schools and universities. Education was in Japanese for those enrolled in elementary schools. The use of Korean language was severely sanctioned. Every Korean citizen was forced to have on their house walls a poster with the message: ‘It is forbidden to talk in Korean!’

After the liberation from the Japanese yoke, the Korean education system knew a period of development. Only between 1945 and 1950, the number of elementary schools grew 18 times in comparison with the past, and the number of pupils enrolled there grew 17 times. The number of high-schools grew 20 times, and those of pupils 23 times. The number of technical schools grew 12 times, and that of their pupils 10 times.

In 1946 the Kim Il Sung State University was created. In its 10 departments 2,400 students were studying in 1949; in the same year, another 1,200 enrolled in distance learning programs, and 900 others took various preparatory courses.

In 1949, there were 5,229 elementary schools and colleges in the whole of Korea, and there were about 2 million students. In addition, there were 16 academic institutes gathering 15,900 students, 55 technical high-schools with a number of 42,000 pupils and 1,762 elementary courses, and 616 colleges for adult learning.

During war, the enemy air-force completely destroyed more than 2,100 schools and damaged over 1,500.  That amounted to a total of about 80% of the schools' buildings. Among these was the building of the Kim Il Sung State University. The Party and the Government made all the efforts possible to ensure the continuation of schooling even in the harsh conditions of the war. Through heroic work, classes were built underground. Between 1952 and 1953, 1,483,000 pupils and students studied in underground classes. In this period, 30 million of textbooks were published. For their hard work during the war, 1,149 teachers and professors were decorated.

Immediately after the signing of the armistice, the Government took some measures which permitted that on the 1st of September 1953 all the schools in the DPRK were prepared to welcome pupils for the new school year.

Between 1953 and 1954, 4982 school classes were repaired and 1738 were newly built.

During the 1954 summer, a large campaign was initiated to build new schools with the help of volunteers recruited from among the population. In June 1954, 805 million won were gathered to build 1537 new school halls.

In the first half of 1954, 1,333,000 pupils were enrolled in elementary schools, 327,000 pupils in full-cycle and semi-cycle high-schools, 35,000 pupils in elementary boarding schools, and more than 7,700 students in universities. In 1954, in the Soviet Union and in people’s democracies there were 3,700 Korean pupils and students.

A special attention was given to the elimination of illiteracy. Once winter arrived, Korean newspapers published a series of articles asking people to take advantage of that period to intensify the literacy activity.

Currently, the Korean educational system is made of: a 5-year elementary school level, a 3-year middle school level, a 3-year high-school level and the university level.

Arts, literature and science

Korea is a country with one of the oldest and richest culture in the world. There are art monuments, pagodas, tombs, temples in all regions of the countries, many of them being more than 2000 years old, in which sculptures and paintings showcasing a flourishing culture are kept.

Throughout the war, many of these art monuments were destroyed. After the signing of the armistice, the Korean government adopted a series of measures regarding the preservation of exiting monuments and the encouragement of new art. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers elaborated a resolution regarding the preservation of all art objects which are found during excavations for the rebuilding [of the economy]. Lately archeological sites have been opening to reveal new national art treasures.  

Special care is given to the development of contemporary art. In his 1951 speech before the [community of] artists, comrade Kim Il Sung enumerated the following principles, which should guide the new Korean art: to be a type of art closely linked to the people, to be national in form and democratic in content, to have as a main source folk art and to mirror the real life of the Korean people, to inspire the people to fight for a better and happier life, to be deeply imbued with the spirit of friendship among nations and to continuously fight against formalism and decadent trends, and artists should incessantly increase their political [consciousness].

To encourage visual arts, the Cabinet of Ministers has recently elaborated a resolution concerning the procurement by the State of the best visual arts products, created during war and after the signing of the armistice and their preservation in museums.

The Korean theater also has old traditions. During the 3rd century BC, people’s performances, accompanied by music and dance are mentioned by historical sources.

During the war, all the theaters in the DPRK were destroyed. In Pyongyang, the Moranbong underground theater, having 800 places, was the only one to function [during the war]. The staffs of the 13 central theaters and the 24 theaters in the countryside were still organizing performances in various towns, factories and on the battlefield.

After the signing of the armistice, the reparation of theaters and the construction of a new Moranbong theater, which was finished on the 10th of August 1954, began. Five months after the armistice, 9 theaters and 17 cinemas were built. On the Korean theaters' stage some classical operas were performed, such as “The commander Li Sun Sin”, telling the heroic acts of this Korean Navy commander in the 16th century , the opera masterpiece  “Kkotsin” (The blue little shoe) better known as “Cinderella”, the “Chunhyang-jeon [Chun Hyang Ch’on]” play, and the ballet “The story of the Sado fortress”; there were also foreign plays such as “The young guardian”, the play “Deep Roots” belonging to some progressive American writers and a Chinese drama.

After liberation, a series of communities of art aficionados were formed, gathering theater, music and dancing groups. In 1954, a special artistic event was the collective artistic festival, gathering art aficionados, to celebrate the 15th of August; 2,434 people participated and 268 writings, songs and dances were performed. It emphasized the high artistic level of the Korean people. These communities are part of urban and rural clubs, whose number is continuously growing. In the first half of 1954, the clubs' number increased by 47 compared to the same period of the previous year. In the first half of 1954, 183 permanent libraries were opened.

The Korean cinema did not actually develop until after the liberation. The first Korean movie was shot under Japanese occupation by a group of students from Busan. After the liberation of Korea, in 1947, a modern studio started to be built by Soviet specialists in Pyongyang. In 1949, the first Korean feature movie was shot. Movies shot during the liberation war reflect the great heroism of the people in their fight against American imperialists. In December 1954, a new Korean film called ‘The Partisan Girl’, a particularly artistically compelling movie, was released.

Currently, the Soviet and Chinese cinema industries are providing the Korean cinema with a great deal of support. A series of Korean movies are being shot in Chinese studios.

The Korean audience greatly appreciates the cinema. In the first half of 1954 alone, more than 19,900,000 people (7,600,000 of which from the countryside) went to the cinema, and on July 1st, the number of cinemas increased by 140 compared to last year. The three-year plan stipulates the construction of a modern studio and the realization of 30 feature movies and 137 short movies.

Korean literature also has an old tradition. The first epic poems, which still exist today, date back to 579. The first Korean novels appeared in the 16th century, depicting the Korean fight against the Japanese pirates.

With the Japanese occupation installed [in Korea], the first decadent trends appear in the Korean literature as well. But under the influence of the Great Soviet Revolution of October, alongside the decadent literature, vigorous realist works also appear, mirroring the people’s aspiration to freedom.

In this category we can mention Kim So-weol and Lee Seong-hwan’s   poems, which were published in 1920. The fight against decadence intensified after 1925 when from the initiative of the Korean Communist Party, the Korean Proletarian Writers Association was formed, within which great writers such as Li Gi-yeon and Han Seol-ya activated. The association carried out a forceful fight against the group of pro-Japanese, reactionary writers, headed by Lee Gwang. After the arrest of the Association's members in 1934, it was dismantled by the Japanese in 1935.

After liberation, new development perspectives opened for the Korean literature. It is enriching itself with more literary creations such as the poem “Baekdusan [Pectusan]” belonging to Baek Gi-wan or the novel “Land” by  Yi Ki-yông, etc.

In 1946, the Union of Writers and artists from North Korea was created, whose task was to develop the national, realist traditions through art and literature. In 1951, this Union and the Union of Writers and Artists in South Korea formed a single union.

During the war, Korean authors wrote more than 3,000 creations, dedicated to the heroism of the Korean people.

Reactionary elements among the Korean writers did not give up their fight against realist literature. During the trial of the group of traitors, led by Ri Sin Ob, which took place immediately after the war, it was discovered that some writers such as Lim Hwa, Kim San, Li This Dun [sic] and others, continued to spread the ‘pure art ideas, and to undermine the development of Korean literature through realism. Despite their hostile activity, Korean literature has lately obtained numerous successes. The novels “Taedong Mountain” and “The Liberators' monument” of Han Seoul-ya, Min Beong-gyun’s poems, and other writers' creations are a living proof that Korean literature is going through a new period of prosperity nowadays.

In September 1953, at the Korean Artists’ and Writers' Congress, it was decided to form separate Unions of writers, composers, and visual artists. These unions’ role is to closely guide the artistic activity in these fields. In November 1954, a Literature school for the young writers was opened, as part of the Writers’ Union.

The Workers’ Party takes a special interest in guiding the Korean literature. In the ‘Rodong Simun’ newspaper, the central newspaper of the party, an article was published in 1954, called ‘Literature and current times,’ underlining that the Korean literature does not create enough satirical works, it does not reflect enough the work of the advanced workers, a new type of workers, and that it insufficiently animates workers to fight for reconstruction, and the cause of this is the fact that some do not understand very well the goal of the party's policies.

Korean science has been famous for centuries. In Korea, astronomic and meteorological observatories have existed since the 2nd century AD. In 632, the first higher education institute was created in Seoul, were mathematics, medicine and astronomy were taught. It was in Korea that in 1234, the metal hieroglyphs printing machine was used for the first time in history. In 1592, Li Sun Sin built the first ship with iron armor-plating and various artillery guns. At the end of the 19th century, the first Korean encyclopedia in 100 volumes “Munheon Bigo” [was] published.

Under Japanese occupation, culture and science in Korea were severely oppressed, many scientists being forced to flee abroad.

After Korea's liberation, Korean science, helped by the Soviet Union, [was] resurrected.

In 1947 ‘The Society for the Study of Korean Philology’ and other many science institutes were created. In 1949, this Society published the work: ‘Korean Grammar’ and ‘Dictionary of the Korean language’.

In 1948, the committee for the study and protection of historical monuments, which made many important archeological discoveries, was created within the Cabinet of Ministers.

A rich scientific activity was carried out at the Kim Il Sung State University, which has big laboratories, classes, a library with 100,000 books, and a museum. In this period a series of scientific journals begin to appear.

An important event for the Korean scientific life was the Scientists' Congress, which took place in May 1952, in which 180 scientists took part. On this occasion, Comrade Kim Il Sung gave a speech about the role of science in the Korea. Immediately after the Congress, The Academy of Sciences of the DPRK was created, with the goal of leading and coordinating the country's scientific activity. Within the Academy, institutes were created for different research fields. In 1954, the Institute of Technology had to find solutions to 26 of the most severe problems of the national economy. The physics and mathematics institutes, the agriculture institute and the medicine one solved 12 scientific problems each, and the Institutes of chemistry, economics, history and letters studied important current themes. In 1954, the Korean Letters Institute, for example, elaborated the project of the Korean language orthography.

Only in the first ten months of 1954, 300 scientists worked 2960 days per person.

The press and editorial activity.

The prohibition of using the Korean language by the Japanese colonialists made impossible all kinds of editorial or press activity during the Japanese occupation.

Only after Korea's liberation, with the help of the Soviet Union, the first printing and publishing houses, able to sustain an intense activity, were organized.

But during the war, a big part of printing houses were destroyed or damaged.

After the signing of the armistice, [the North Koreans] succeeded in organizing and re-equipping some large printing houses, which can print more and more books, newspapers and magazines.

In the first half of 1954, the number of editions of literature books increased by 102% compared to the same period of the previous year, and their general circulation reached 3,260,000 copies. 33 textbooks with a circulation of 1,320,000 copies were also printed. The 24 newspapers that are published [in North Korea] reached a total circulation of 64,740,000 copies, in the first half of 1954.

The three-year plan stipulates that in 1956 printing houses must print 15 millions papers using horizontal machines and 16 million papers using offset [machines]. The global production level of the enterprises that depend on the Ministry of Culture will increase in 1956 by 239.9% compared to 1953.

Currently, the main shortcomings in this domain are represented by the deficient capacity of the printers and of the little quantity of paper that paper factories are producing at the moment in Korea. The three-year plan looks for a solution to a large share of these problems by 1956. Therefore, with the German specialists' technical and material help, by 1956 a large polygraphic plant will be built. As far as paper is concerned, the three-year plan stipulates a growth in production by 285%.

Religion.

In the primitive period, the Korean religion was totemic. In the “Sonioncen” grave from Canse, in the South Pyeongan province, the pictures of 4 divinities from that period were found:  the Blue dragon, the White tiger, the Blue bird, and a bird-headed and turtle-bodied Black monster. These divinities are also mentioned by the historical sources of that period.

The strong influence of Chinese culture determined the early replacement of Pagan beliefs with monotheism. This is due first of all to the penetration of the Confucianism ideology in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. Confucianism spread belief in only one god: heaven. It is when Korean writing using Chinese hieroglyphs appears. Until Korea's liberation, Confucianism continued to have the largest number of followers.

During the Koguryo period (almost 1600 years ago), Buddhism began to spread as well. Soon it became dominant in Korea. But during the Li dynasty (1892-1910), a large oppression campaign was carried out against Buddhism. The Buddhist monks and priests had to hide in the mountains, which explains why Buddhist temples and monasteries that still exist in Korea are in mountainous regions, far from the cities.

Buddhism and Confucianism had a great influence on Korean art. Architecture, sculpture and old painting are profoundly influenced by these religions. One of the Korean masterpieces, the “Chomunsa” temple is a Buddhist temple from the Pyongyang region, built 1570 years ago. Other 9 Buddhist temples of great historical value and located around Pyongyang, were destroyed during the war.

The first written sources about the Catholicism penetration appear during the period of the national war against the Japanese pirates (1592-1593). The first to spread Catholicism in Korea were the Japanese traders.

In the 17th century, one of the main centers of Catholicism in Korea was the Korean Embassy to Beijing. In 1783, the Korean ambassador to Peking, Lee Seung-hun [Ri Sung Hun], converted to Christianity and was renamed Peter Lee [Peter Ri] Upon the return to his country, he built the first Korean Catholic church. But in 1791, the Korean government forbade Catholicism.

In the 19th century, the first Christian missionaries coming from the West arrived in Korea. Despite the strong hostility of the Korean leadership, they managed to infiltrate themselves in certain regions. In 1866, there was a popular uprising against French Catholic missionaries, which turned into a fight resulting in the deaths and injuries of 60 injured people among the French interventionists that were supporting the missionaries with weapons. The Korean king Daewongun [Taewongun] also led a campaign against Christianity, resulting in the murder of hundreds of Christians, among whom there were 9 French missionaries.

In 1866, an international scandal emerged because of an American ship whose head of the crew was a trader and a missionary who wanted to jeopardize the legacy of Nonvongun's grave, by concluding an oppressing treaty for Korea and spreading Christianity. These facts were revealed by the American court which judged this incident.

After 1882, when the treaty with the United States was signed, Christian missionaries were given free liberty of action. The following cities became the most important centers of Catholicism in Korea: Seoul for American missionaries, Wonsan for the German missionaries and Chuncheon [Chunch’on] for the French ones. In 1897, there were 28,802 Catholics, 34 missionaries and 446 priests in Korea.

In the regions on the shore of the Yellow Sea, Calvinism began to spread at the end of the 19th century.  Orthodoxism, Baptism and Methodism also spread, but less so.

During the Japanese occupation, Christians were subjected to a series of reprisals. Some of them changed their religion, others, by opposing the Japanese, formed the ‘the Renaissance's Church,’ based on Christian ideology as well. The American espionage would recruit later a great number of spies from among them.

The Cheondogyo religion (the path to the sky) emerged from the fight with the missionaries. It is a national religion. It is based on the faith that man is god himself, that people are all equal, and that happiness may be achieved only by expelling foreign aggressors. This religion also fights against the land owners and the missionaries. Realizing the danger that it poses, the Li Dynasty fought against it. During the peasants' riots between 1893 and 1894, the Cheondogyo religion played a great role in mobilizing the masses.

After Korea's liberation, citizens were awarded the religious freedom.

Survey data published by the United Democratic Patriotic Front shows that in 1950, there were 375,438 Buddhists, with 518 temples and 732 priests in the DPRK; [there were] about 200,000 Christians with 2,000 churches; 410 priests and 498 missionaries; Cheondogyo religion had 99 temples. After liberation, the Confucian Union was created, adhering to the United Democratic Patriotic Fund. In 1946 the Buddhist Union from North Korea was created, which is currently part of the United Democratic Patriotic Fund. In 1946 the Christian Union from North Korea was also created, which is also part of the United Democratic Patriotic Fund. In South Korea a similar Union was created in 1947, headed by Kim Cean Diuc, now member of the CC of the United Democratic Patriotic Fund. But the Union from South Korea is nowadays controlled by Syngman Rhee.

From the left wing of Cheondogyo the ‘Party of the Young Friends’ was created in 1945, which is part of the United Democratic Patriotic Fund, and its president is a minister without portfolio in the DPRK Government.

Some of the Christian elements were serving the interests of the American imperialists. A Christian leader, Cho Man-sik organized even a counter-revolutionary movement whose goal was to sabotage the 1946 elections and the democratic reforms. During the war when the American interventionists arrived near the Yalu River, in the little town of Sukcheon [Suk Chon], situated in the Northern part of the country, they recruited many spies and diversionists among the Christian population.  Thus, the Christian leaders compromised themselves in front of the people. This also led to a massive decrease in the number of Christians. The foreign missionaries were chased away. Since the war, the party's educational-political work has been playing a crucial role in the process of removing people from influence of religion. Thus, many Korean people declared lately as not belonging to any religion. Recently released data show that currently in the DPRK there are only 2,000 Buddhists, about 6,000-7,000 Christians, and about 5,000 followers of the Cheondogyo [Ch’ondogyo] religion.

During the war many temples and churches were destroyed, and after the armistice and nowadays there is little chance that they will be rebuilt. For the moment only temples spread in the mountains and which escaped the bombing are still in use.

Despite an increasing passivity of the people towards any of the religions [in North Korea], the Korean population, because of the long lasting feudal oppression, still maintains a series of mystic beliefs and superstitions. Within the workers' environment, some of these beliefs have begun to disappear.

North Korea’s foreign cultural relations

During the war, the cultural materials sent abroad were mainly intended to inform about the atrocities committed by the American imperialists against the Korean people. In this respect, a special role was played by the magazine ‘The New Korea’, which was continuously published during the war, knowing a total circulation of 250,000 copies in Russian, 180,000 copies in Chinese, and 95,000 in English. Since April 1953, the informative bulletin was edited by the Ministry of Culture with the same purpose, and its circulation during the war amounted to 27,000 copies in Russian.

There were also 25 papers that had been translated into Russian in 11,000 copies, among them being the writings belonging to Comrade Kim Il Sung.

A series of publications, literature books, some of which were already translated, discs, musical scores and movies had been sent to the Soviet Union, the Popular Republic of China, and other people’s democracies.

Since the beginning of 1952 up to July 1953, 83 copies of 16 movies were sent abroad.

In brotherly countries exhibitions and photo montages depicting the struggle of the Korean people and their culture were organized. The decorative art exhibition organized in Budapest was very successful.

A series of Korean artistic groups, among which was the army's musical band, visited the Soviet Union and the Popular Republic of China and [other] people’s democracies.

Many writers from brotherly countries created works dedicated to the heroism of the Korean people, and plays written by Korean authors were performed on the theaters' stages of many countries.

Among the Korean people, the material and moral support given by brotherly nations became very popular. In various places photo montages were organized to show these countries' achievements. More than 100,000 books from the Soviet, Chinese, and other people’s democracies literature were published. The Korean public was also presented a series of Soviet, Chinese, etc. movies. 1,900 copies of artistic movies and 500 copies of documentaries were sent only from the Soviet Union. In November 1952 in the big cities of Korea the decade of Soviet cinema was held. During the war, two artistic delegations came to Korea from the People’s Republic of China.

After the signing of the armistice, the expansion of cultural relations with foreign countries was made possible. In this new stage, the core task was to make known the successes obtained b the Korean people during the reconstruction of its national economy [to the other nations].

The ‘New Korea’ magazine acquires now a new meaning. It is published in Russian and Chinese in more than 20,000 copies, and the Informative Bulletin of the Ministry of Culture in about 2,000 copies. After the armistice, articles, studies, literary works were translated in foreign languages in 70,000 copies.

On the 15th of August 1954, photography exhibitions were organized in all brotherly countries. A whole series of artistic movies and Korean documentaries were shown abroad.

The artistic delegation which took part in the 4th Youth Festival in Bucharest, introduced Korean art to Romania. An artistic delegation of 367 people visited the People’s Republic of China in March 1954.

To satisfy the curiosity of the Korean people about the reality of [life in] brotherly countries, many press and media articles were published, about their achievements, culture and history.

A series of literature writing of Soviet and people’s democracies authors were translated, including ‘The Hero of Labor’ by the Hungarian writer Eva Manj, the novel ‘The Man with a Gun’ by the Czechoslovak writer Irji Marek, a writing by the Bulgarian author Panev, one by the Albanian writer Din Saco, poems of the Romanian poet A. Toma, and many Soviet and Chinese literary works.

After the armistice, more than 700 hundred artistic movies and 800 documentaries came from the USSR, and the People’s Republic of China sent 100 artistic movies and 40 documentaries. Many movies also came from the people’s democracies [in Eastern Europe]. In the first half of 1954, the festival of Soviet cinema was organized in Pyongyang, at the beginning of October the festival of Chinese cinema, and at the end of November the festival of people’s democracies’ cinema.

Immediately after the armistice, the DPRK was visited by the 3rd Chinese delegation, made of 6,000 people. In June 1954 a group of 23 Soviet artists arrived in Korea, visiting the country for two months. In October the group of Romanian artists arrived as well, and in November, the DPRK was visited by the artistic band of the Bulgarian army made of 104 people.

An important role in the dissemination of Soviet culture belongs to the Association for the strengthening of cultural relations with the Soviet Union, which was created in November 1945. On the 1st of April 1953, it had 2,037,096 members. The Association organizes conferences, exhibitions, Soviet movies projections, etc.

The expansion of cultural ties with people’s democracies is the task of the Department of Cultural Relations with other states functioning within the Ministry of Culture and Propaganda.

The fact that starting in 1955 cultural collaboration plans between this department and the people’s democracies are created is an aspect of great importance.

Bibliography

To write this report, there were used the files used for documentation and the following materials:

Kim Il Sung:

  • “The Report of the 4th Plenum of the CC of the Workers’ Party” 11 X-1951
  • “The Report of the 5th Plenum from December 1952”
  • “The speech at the 6th Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK from December  20th 1953”

Kim Il

  • “The Report of the Plenum from November 1954 About the struggle of the Workers’ Party for reconstruction and rapid development of agriculture”
  • “The big Soviet encyclopedia the chapter about Korea”