North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970 (Chapter 2)

Science / Archives

[David Hall’s undergraduate thesis “North Korean National Identity, Expressed Through Postage Stamps, 1948-1970” is published in full on the KSS website. This is “Chapter Two – Reconstruction, Consolidation, and Juche Ideology, 1954-1962”.] Damage brought by the Korean war exceeded 420 billion won and thousands of factories, homes, and social infrastructures were destroyed.49 Therefore, Kim Il-sung used the three-year plan (1954-1956) and five-year plan (1956-1961) to rebuild the country economically. This formed an identity of economic nationalism, where the state took full control of labour and production for rapid economic growth. 

Also in this period, Kim Il-sung presented Juche ideology, a political self-reliance ideology that allowed him to suppress criticism and purge opposition. This allowed him to become the undisputed leader of North Korea and advance his cult of personality. Economic stability through rapid reconstruction allowed Juche and leader personality cultism to enter North Korean national identity. Therefore, economic nationalist identity must be analysed first.

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David Hall
MA History and Korean student at SOAS. Collecting interests are North Korea 1945-present. Undergraduate dissertation written on North Korean postage stamps, 1948-1970.

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