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Digital Archive International History Declassified


Three Revolutions Team Movement

James E. Hoare

The Three Revolutions Team Movement was a campaign begun by Kim Jong Il in 1973.


This movement (Sam-dae hyeokmyeong sojo undong in Korean), apparently proposed in 1973 at a meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party political committee, was launched in late 1974 under Kim Jong Il’s clandestine leadership as a means of giving him a higher political profile and of remotivating the workforce by sustained exhortation. The campaign was further intensified by the Three Revolution Flag Movement, which dates from December 1975. Both had their origins in proclaimed cultural and technological revolutions carried out in the 1950sand 1960s. Under the banner of the Three Revolutions Team Movement, large numbers of young people were sent to the countryside and to factories to boost production and introduce new methods and technologies. Two medals were produced to reward those who took part in the campaigns: the Three-Revolution Red Flag and the Three Revolution Honor Badge. As in China during the Cultural Revolution, many farmers and workers resented the implication that untrained urban youth could teach them how to work better, and there was little increase in production as a result of the campaign.

The main purpose of the movement was to bring forward Kim Jong Il as the successor to his father, Kim Il Sung, and the movement coincided with the increasing use of the term Party Center. There are still occasional references to it and the Three Revolutions’ Exhibition attracts domestic and foreign visitors, but the movement has long since lost any real importance, especially since Kim Jong Il was publicly acknowledged as his father’s successor in 1980

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. (Historical Dictionary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by James E. Hoare, published by RLPG Books, appears by permission of the author and publisher).