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A Study on Changing the Status of North Korea's ‘military elite' from a Historical Perspective

  • military history
  • 2019, (113), pp.1-42
  • DOI : 10.29212/mh.2019..113.1
  • Publisher : Military History Institute, MND
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : October 1, 2019
  • Accepted : November 25, 2019
  • Published : December 15, 2019

Lee Heung Seog 1

1합동참모본부

Accredited

ABSTRACT

North Korea considers Kim Il-sung's armed struggle against imperial Japan as a historical context and seeks the root of the Baekdu bloodline, which it claims is the main line of descent of hereditary succession, in the anti-Japanese armed struggle. As these anti-Japanese armed struggles are rooted in the military atmosphere, the People's Army is the historical enemy of the anti-Japanese armed struggle, and the military elite is a key force in the defense of the regime and an important supporter of the third generation. However, since Kim Jong Un took power, the research has put a position on the possibility that a reduction in the value of conventional forces due to the reemergence and upgrading of nuclear missiles could lead to a weakening of the military's status, which could serve as a potential source of tension threatening the stability of the regime. Therefore, this paper starts from this sense of issue and looks at the proportion of military elite in the Party Political Bureau, the Central Committee of the Party, the National Defense Commission and the President's podium, which can be viewed as the nucleus of North Korean power, while paying attention to the characteristics of North Korea's hereditary succession and the regime. The results of the study are as follows. First, the military elite of Kim Il Sung's reign grew from a former member of the North Korean People's Army to a core elite from the main posts of the ruling party, the government and the military after the fourth party congress in 1961, but its position has weakened since it was purged in 1969 due to military adventurism. Second, the military elite advanced as the party's functions were shaped by military-first politics. Third, as the party normalized its function after Kim Jong Un took power, it carried out a forced generational shift to the military and focused on developing nuclear and missile capabilities. On the other hand, the ratio of the military elite to the party's central committee and the party's political and domestic affairs was the highest In conclusion, the status of the military elite has been maintained even after Kim Jong Un took power. Starting in the historical context of "Bbal-chi-san" the military elite has been trained as a privileged class in educational institutions such as Mangyongdae Revolutionary Academy, holding a certain portion of its shares in the main posts of the ruling party, the government and the military.

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