Korean Workers Party KWP

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Korean Workers Party (KWP)


Oct. 10, 1945, was the date on which the North Korean Organizational Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea was established at the constituent assembly of responsible party workers and activists from the five provinces of North Korea. This day was subsequently designated as the founding date of the KWP. In August 1946, on the basis of the ideological and organizational principles of Marxism-Leninism, the Communist Party merged with the New People’s Party (founded in early 1946) in the North, and in November 1946 the party merged with the People’s and New People’s parties (founded in 1945) in the South. The two newly formed parties—namely, the Workers’ Party of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of South Korea—joined in June 1949 to form the Korean Workers Party. Kim Il-sung was elected chairman of the Central Committee of the KWP.

The party led the toiling masses in their struggle to build a new life. In North Korea, under the party’s guidance, the old state system—a machine of Japanese imperialism—was abolished soon after the country’s liberation in August 1945, and government power was vested in the newly organized people’s committees. The Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea, formed in February 1946 as the supreme agency of the people’s power, was based on the union of workers and peasants led by the working class. Under the party’s leadership, the people’s power successfully carried out democratic changes, including a land reform in March 1946 and the nationalization of industry in August 1946.

Less than two years after the country’s liberation from Japanese colonial domination, North Korea’s anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, democratic revolution had been accomplished under the guidance of the KWP. North Korea now entered upon a period of gradual transition to socialism. In August 1948, on the initiative of the KWP, general elections to the Supreme People’s Assembly were held in both the North and the South. At its first session, held on Sept. 9, 1948, the assembly adopted a constitution and proclaimed the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (PDRK), with Kim Il-sung at the head of the government. In 1949 the United Democratic Fatherland Front of Korea was formed. The KWP is the front’s guiding force.

During the Korean people’s war of liberation of 1950–53, the KWP organized and animated the nationwide struggle against the American interventionists and their minions. The Korean people, led by the KWP and unanimously supported by the peoples of the fraternal socialist countries and progressive people everywhere, repulsed the enemy’s armed invasion in defense of the fatherland’s independence and the achievements of the revolution.

The KWP led the struggle of the Korean people for restoration of the war-devastated national economy and the development of a socialist economic policy. In August 1953, the sixth plenum of the Central Committee of the KWP ratified a policy of postwar construction directed at the primary development of heavy industry and the simultaneous growth of light industry and agriculture, together with the socialist cooperation of agriculture. The resolutions of the plenum of the Central Committee of the KWP formed the basis of the three-year plan to restore and develop the PDRK’s national economy—successfully carried out, as planned, from 1954 to 1956.

In April 1956, the Third Congress of the KWP adopted a program to establish the material and technical base of socialism and defined the principal tasks and aims of the PDRK’s five-year national-economic plan for the years 1957 to 1961. The plan was ratified at the first party conference in March 1958. By the end of 1958, the party’s struggle to fulfill the five-year plan had succeeded in winning the peasants’ cooperation and achieving the socialist transformation of private industry and trade; consequently, the relations of socialist production became the predominant ones in the cities as well as in rural areas. The party’s Fourth Congress, held in September 1961, confirmed the target figures of the seven-year plan for the development of the PDRK’s national economy for the years 1961 to 1967.

Because of the provocations unceasingly directed since the 1950’s against the PDRK by the American imperialists and the South Korean reactionaries, the party intensified its efforts to protect the revolutionary gains of the Korean people. The KWP conference held in October 1966 approved the course set by the plenum of the Central Committee of the KWP in December 1962 for the parallel development of economic and defense construction; at the same time, the conference adopted a resolution changing the deadline for fulfillment of the seven-year plan of national economic development from 1967 to 1970.

In November 1970 the KWP held its Fifth Congress, which drew up a balance sheet for the national economy’s development under the plan: the PDRK had achieved the aims of industrialization and had become an industrial state. In a resolution adopted by the Congress, the principal task for the party and the people was declared to be the strengthening and expansion of the socialist system, thus bringing nearer the complete victory of socialism. As affirmed by the Congress, the consolidation and development of the gains achieved in the field of industrialization was set forth as the chief task of the PDRK’s national economy for the six-year period 1971–76.

The Korean people’s socialist achievements were made more secure by the new constitution of the PDRK, worked out on the KWP’s initiative and adopted in December 1972—a sociopolitical event of national significance. The KWP is the leading force of the Korean people in the struggle for the country’s peaceful and democratically based unification.

Table 1. Congresses and conferences of the Korean Workers Party
First Congress, Workers Party of North KoreaPyongyangAug. 28–30, 1946
Second Congress, Workers Party of North KoreaPyongyangMar. 27–30, 1948
Third Congress, Korean Workers PartyPyongyangApr. 23–29, 1956
First Conference, Korean Workers PartyPyongyangMar. 3–6, 1958
Fourth Congress, Korean Workers PartyPyongyangSept. 11–18,1961
Second Conference, Korean Workers PartyPyongyangOct. 5–1 2, 1966
Fifth Congress, Korean Workers PartyPyongyangNov. 2–1 3, 1970

Participating delegations of the KWP attended the International Conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957 and 1960. The KWP’s representatives were signatories to the documents adopted by the conferences.

The KWP’s organizational principle is that of democratic centralism. The party’s highest governing powers are vested in the congresses, and in the intervals between congresses in the Central Committee, which is elected by the Congress. From among its members the Central Committee elects the Political Committee, the Secretariat, and the general secretary of the Central Committee of the KWP. As of 1975, the KWP had a total of more than 2 million party members and candidate members. Kim Il-sung is the general secretary of the Central Committee of the KWP. The Central Committee publishes the newspaper Nodong sinmun (Worker’s News) and the journal Kulloja (The Worker).

A list of the congresses and conferences of the KWP is given in Table 1.


Tretii s”ezd Trudovoi partii Korei: Dok-ty i mat-ly. Pyongyang, 1956. (Translated from Korean.)
IVs”ezd Trudovoi partii Korei. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Korean.)
Kim Il-sung. Izbr. stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Korean.)
Kim Il-sung. “Dvadtsaf let Trudovoi partii Korei.” Partiinaia zhizri, 1965, no. 22.
Kim Il-sung. Otchetnyi doklad Tsentral’nogo Komiteta Trudovoi partii Korei V s”ezdu partii. Pyongyang, 1970.
Kim Il-sung. “Eshche bolee ukrepim sotsialisticheskii stroi v nashei strane.” Partiinaia zhizn’, 1973, no. 3.
Kim Il-sung. “Trudovoi partii Korei—30 let.” Ibid., 1975, no. 24.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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