Today is October 10, better known in North Korea as Party Foundation Day. There are celebrations across the country – some prisoners are even released from concentration camps. But what is this holiday about?
Officially, October 10 is the day when Great Leader and respected comrade Kim Il Sung created the Northern Section of the Communist Party of Korea, which later evolved into the contemporary Workers’ Party of Korea.
Of course, the story behind this day is quite different from what they are taught in North Korea.
When Emperor Showa announced Japan’s surrender in 1945, Korea had no communist party.
During the colonial years, Korean communists had tried to organize an illegal party, but the never-ending strife between various factions irritated the USSR-controlled Communist International to such a degree that Moscow made the unprecedented decision to withdraw recognition of all “Communist Parties of Korea,” effectively dissolving them.
On August 15, 1945 the Communist Party of Korea was reconstituted in Seoul (or, speaking more precise in Kyongsong, as this was what the city was named until 1946).
The problem, however, was that the city became part of the American occupation zone, so when the Soviets established their control over the northern part of Korea, they decided that the local communists needed an autonomous organization.
By Autumn 1945, future Communist domination was not a 100% certainty
By that time both America and USSR were officially promoting a united Korean government, so creating a “Communist Party of North Korea” would have been politically impossible.
Instead, the organization was called “Northern Section of the Communist Party of Korea” and was headed by an “Organizational Bureau”. It was created on October 13 during a conference of North Korean communists, and its head was Kim Yong Bom, a former Comintern activist.
There is quite a detailed report about this conference available in Russian archives and its author was Major Yurij Livshits – one of the smartest, observant and honest officers of the contemporary Soviet administration.
Livshits named Kim Il Sung first in the list of the presidium members, clearly indicating his superior position in the hierarchy.
Kim himself gave a speech on the importance of a “united front” – a broader organization which was supposed to unite the communists and the masses.
The Soviets advocated for a similar concept in the Eastern Europe too, however, in both cases, the united fronts ended up being completely controlled by Communists.
By Autumn 1945, future Communist domination was not a 100% certainty, and that was why Kim Il Sung was not elected leader of the North Korean Section of the Communist Party. The Soviets, as Major Livshits noticed, wanted him to head the united front instead.
Kim’s Communist affiliation was hidden, and open reports about the meeting, such as an article in the first issue of Rodong Sinmun’s predecessor Chongro – named Kim Il Sung “Kim Yong Hwan”, one of his pseudonyms.
The conference also adopted a congratulatory message to the leader of the Communist Party of Korea: “comrade Pak Hong Yon, the leader of the Korean proletariat.”
Pak had less than a decade to live: he was later executed (or according to some rumors, tortured to death) on the orders of Kim Il Sung.
In modern North Korea, the entire story was twisted according to the state’s official narrative, which stated that Korea “was liberated by the Great Leader’s People’s Revolutionary Army.”
First, all mention of the Soviets supervising the meeting were erased from the history books. Second, the date of the conference was changed from October 13 to October 10.
Third, the congratulatory address to Pak Hong Yon was transformed into a condemnation of the man as a pro-American element – which, of course, is a complete fabrication.
In modern North Korea, the entire story was twisted according to the state’s official narrative
The change of the date puzzled many researchers. To those readers who read Korean or Japanese, I would recommend Dr. So Tong-man’s “History of Creation of Socialist system of North Korea. 1945-1961” – the book was published in both languages.
The late Dr. So conducted quite a detailed analysis of the date change, but failed to notice any particular reasons behind the decision.
There was likely none: there is a very high chance that the real reason for this falsification was simply that “tenth day of the tenth month” looks better.
Just like Kim Jong Il’s birth year was changed from 1941 to 1942 – so that he could be born exactly 30 years after Kim Il Sung – or that State Foundation day is 9/9, despite no major event having taken place on September 9, 1945.
This was a tinkering of history conducted not for political, but for aesthetic purposes.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: CPC_5556 1 by nknews_hq on 2016-10-07 17:14:32