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Kim, Kook-Hun (1989) The North Korean People's Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1945-1950. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The aim of this thesis is to look into the structural, ideological and strategic features of the (North) Korean People's Army from its birth in late 1945 to the debacle in late 1950, thereby forming a coherent and up-to-date account of the early KPA, which is essential to a proper enquiry into the origins and character of the Korean War. The cadre members of the KPA were from three origins: the Soviet- affiliated Kim IlSung group; the Yenan group, the returnees from China; and the Soviet-Korean group, a functionary group of the Soviet occupation authorities. Among them, the Kim IlSung group was to play the key role in the making of the KPA. The People's Army started from the founding of the Pyongyang Institute in November 1945. By August 1946 the basic conditions and preparations for building the regular armed forces of North Korea were settled. By February 1948, when the founding of the KPA was proclaimed, the People's Army was well established; though, the actual strength of the KPA remained rather modest until mid-1949. The rapid expansion and modernisation of the KPA took place between July 1949 and May 1950. The quantum leap of the KPA during March to May 1950 was exceptionally clear evidence of the likelihood of the outbreak of war in the near future. The Korean War decision was made among the leaders of North Korea, the Soviet Union, and the PRC, during the winter of 1949-50. Most probably it was initiated by the North Korean leadership who were increasingly confident of their strengthened position over the south which itself was in disarray. The all-out attack against South Korea in June 1950 was only the final phase of the 'Southern Strategy' which the North Korean leadership had been pursuing since late 1945. It was neither the only alternative left nor a pre-emptive strike in a desperate mood. That the North Korean leadership started the invasion in an over-confident mood can be proven through the close examination of KPA preparations for and conduct of the war.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:19

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