This text traces the political history of North Korea from World War II to the death of Kim Il Sung. It looks at the development of the Communist Party underground from the early 1920s, the establishment of a ruling oligarchy after the liberation of Korea by the Soviet Union in 1945, and the growth of Kimist personal autocracy from 1958. The role of Soviet patronage in each period is analyzed closely, as is the nature of Korean communism. Buzo explores the influence of traditional Korean political culture and the Korean nationalist movement, and concludes with an assessment of North Korea's difficult position in the 1990s.
The origins of the guerilla tradition; the political institutions of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; the emerging tyranny, 1958-70; setbacks to socialism, 1970-80; the confirmation of Kim Jong II, 1980-83; signs of reform, 1984-86? the Democratic People's republic of Korea and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, 1987-91; a matter of survival, the 1990s.