This article, based on newly available materials from the former Soviet archives, deals with the famine that struck a large part of the North Korean countryside in the winter of 1954–1955. The famine was related to the policies of crash industrialization and collectivization favored by Kim Il-sung—or at least, this is how many contemporaries, including Soviet diplomats, saw it. The famine, mentioned only once in openly available publications of the period, sparked political instability and prompted the urgent delivery of food assistance from the USSR and China. Soviet leaders, seeing the famine as another sign of the dangerous trends of Kim Il-Sung's policies, gave Pyongyang strong “advice,” demanding a moderation of policies and partial halt of the collectivization drive. The “advice” was followed, but the entire confrontation contributed to the further buildup of tensions between Moscow and Kim Il-Sung.

You do not currently have access to this content.