Rise of military,The Blue House raid, USS Pueblo

 

 

 

The Soviet-Korean dispute led the Soviet Union to curtail arm shipments to North Korea and North Korea decided to build up its military on its own. At the 5th plenum of the Central Committee held in 1962 declared the goals to train the populace in arms through the Worker Peasant Red Guards and the Red Young Guards. Young children from seven years old to people in their late 60s were trained to handle guns. Underground factories were built. Machine industries were developed to produce modern weapons at great cost to the economy. the military allocation from the national budget jumped from 2.6% in 1961 to 30% by 1967.

Relations with the Soviet Union improved and by 1965 modern weapons were exported to North Korea.Kim was disturbed by South Korea's decision to send troops to Vietnam. He considered sending his own troops, but the strained Sino-Korean relations at the time prevented this. He decided instead to launch commando raids in South Korea to encourage the South Koreans to rise up against their 'dictatorship.' A commando squad of 31 men entered South Korea near the border with Kaesong. disguised as South Korean soldiers, reached 500 meters of the presidential palace. All but one were killed.

 

 

 Silmido Incident Real Story featuring the Movie

Silmido is an uninhabited island in the Yellow Sea, off the west coast of South Korea. It has an area of about 0.25 kmē. It lies within the borders of Incheon metropolitan city, and is about 5 kilometres southwest of Incheon International Airport. Silmido lies just offshore of the larger, inhabited island of Muuido, which is connected to the mainland by ferry. Silmido became historically significant when it was used as the training ground (January 21 1968 to August 23 1971) for Unit 684, a South Korean group meant to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Il-sung in revenge for The Blue House Raid assassination attempt against Park Chung-hee. Traces of the training facilities can still be seen. Under circumstances which remain unclear, the members of the group mutinied and went to Seoul in 1971, where they were killed or committed suicide.

 

On January 21, 1968, a group of 31 North Korean military soldiers was sent to South Korea by Kim Il-sung to kill President Park Chung-hee. A firefight began when the commandos were just 800 yards from the Blue House (the South Korean Presidential Palace). In all, 68 South Koreans were killed and 66 were wounded, including about two dozen civilians. Three or four Americans also died and three were wounded.

 

 On 23 August 1971, for reasons which remain unclear, the members of Unit 684 revolted, killing most of their guards and making their way to the mainland where they hijacked a bus to Seoul. The bus was stopped by the Army in Daebang-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul and 20 members of the Unit onboard were shot or committed suicide with hand grenades. The 4 survivors were sentenced to death by a military tribunal and executed on 10 March 1972.

 

 

 Kim Shin Jo: Sole Survivor

 Excerpt from "Unfortunate Brothers". The sole survivor of a North Korean commando unit that invaded South Korea in 1968 on orders to attack the Blue House and kill the South Korean President. Kim Shin Jo was captured, imprisoned and eventually released in South Korea. He currently resides outside Seoul.

 

 

 North Korean documentary about the capture of the USS Pueblo in English

 

Three days later the USS Pueblo was captured after being fired upon by a North Korean sub chaser, killing one US sailor. The Pueblo was ordered to follow the North Korean ships, which it did. The ship stopped and was fired on again, killing another sailor.Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, Commanding Officer of the Pueblo, was tortured and put through a mock firing squad in an effort to make him confess. Eventually the Koreans threatened to execute his men in front of him, and Bucher relented. The remaining crew was released 11 months later and crossed the famous Bridge of No Return .The rise in power of  Kim's comrades from the Japanese resistance days took North Korea to the brink of war with the commando raid against the South Korean leader, seizing the USS Pueblo and shooting down an American EC-121 spy plane, killing the entire crew of 39.  To check their influence Kim had to purge most of his comrades from the partisan days.

 

 

 CNN interviews CDR Bucher and XO Ed Murphy for a 20th anniversary segment

on the capture of the USS PUEBLO

 

The 1970s

 

Economic Downturn

 

Due to a series of ill fortuned policy decisions concerning military expenditures and mining industries and the radical changes in international oil prices by the late seventies, the North Korean economy began to slow down. These decisions eventually affected the whole economy, forcing the nation to acquire external debts. At the same time North Korea's policy of self-reliance and the antagonism of America and its allies made it difficult for them to expand foreign trade or secure credit.

 

The Sino Soviet Split

 

 

 

Another problem for North Korea in the 1960s was the Sino-Soviet split. In the early 60s relations with the Soviet Union soured as the USSR de-Stalinized and sought better relations with the West. As the Great Cultural revolution gathered steam in China in the late 60s, Chinese Red Guards hurled insults at Kim through wall posters and blasted from loudspeakers on the border, accusing North Koreans as being revisionist like Khrushchev,refusing to aid North Vietnam and ignoring the Cultural Revolution. Ambassadors were recalled from Beijing and Pyongyang. Through these difficult times Kim was extremely careful to remain neutral.

 

Crisis in Communism: The Sino-Soviet Split

 A range of factors, including Khrushchev's apparent acceptance of co-existence with the capitalist West and his refusal to share Soviet nuclear technology with China, led to the Sino-Soviet split and eventual conflict. Both sides become deeply distrustful of the other, particularly after China develops nuclear weapon

 

Young Pioneer salute

 

The 70s Continued

Due to a series of ill fortuned policy decisions concerning military expenditures and mining industries and the radical changes in international oil prices by the late seventies, the North Korean economy began to slow down. These decisions eventually affected the whole economy, forcing the nation to acquire external debts. At the same time North Korea's policy of self-reliance and the antagonism of America and its allies made it difficult for them to expand foreign trade or secure credit.In the seventies the expansion of North Korea's economy, with the accompanying rise in living standards, came to an end and a few decades later went into reverse. A huge increase in the price of oil following the oil shock of 1974 hurt the economies of countries throughout the world, North Korea among them. By the mid 70s, North Korea faced shortages of food and fuel. As conditions worsened, unrest grew. Dissidents,usually with their entire family were sent to hard labor camps in remote areas. In the 1970s, South Korea passed the North in GNP.

After the loss of Vietnam, President Carter advocated withdrawing US troops from South Korea, which shocked South Korea. In the end he was forced to abandon this plan in light of data that showed the North Korean military was much larger then previously estimated and the assassination of South Korean leader Park Chung Hee. Kim Il Sung, seeing the presence of American troops as the main roadblock to reunification, made energetic efforts to open direct negotiations. However, Kim did not want South Korea involved in the negotiations, which stalled the initiative. In the 1970s, South Korea pursued an nuclear weapon development program, afraid the US might abandon it as it had South Vietnam. In 1972, South Korea began working with a French company to develop fissionable plutonium. South Korea only stopped the program in the mid 70s under immense pressure from the US,which threatened to abandon the US-South Korean alliance if the program was pursued .

 

 

Romanian leader Ceausescu visit to Pyongyang May 20, 1978

 Ceauescu had the most pervasive cult of personality within the

 Eastern Bloc. Inspired by the personality cult surrounding

Kim Il-sung in North Korea and Mao Zedong in the PRC  .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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