Workers' Party of South Korea

The Workers' Party of South Korea (Korean: 남조선로동당) was a communist party in South Korea from 1946 to 1949. It was founded on November 23, 1946 through the merger of the Communist Party of South Korea, New People's Party of Korea and a faction of the People's Party of Korea (the so-called 'forty-eighters').[1] It was led by Ho Hon.[2]

Workers' Party of South Korea
Namchosŏn Rodongdang
ChairmanHŏ Hŏn
Vice ChairmanPak Hon-yong
Yi Ki-sok
Founded23 November 1946 (1946-11-23)
Dissolved24 June 1949 (1949-06-24)
Merger ofCommunist Party of Korea and New People's Party of Korea
Merged intoWorkers' Party of Korea
Political positionFar-left
Party flag
Flag of the Workers' Party of South Korea.svg
Korean name
Revised RomanizationNamjoseon rodongdang
McCune–ReischauerNamjosŏn rodongdang

The party was outlawed by the U.S. occupation authorities due to the party being an aggravating opposition to South Korea and the US, but the party organized a network of clandestine cells and was able to obtain a considerable following. It had around 360 000 party members.[3] In 1947, the party initiated armed guerrilla struggle. As the persecution of party intensified, large sections of the party leadership moved to Pyongyang.

The party was opposed to the formation of a South Korean state. In February–March 1948, it instigated general strikes in opposition to the plans to create a separate South Korean state.[4] On April 3, 1948, the party led a popular uprising on Jeju island, against the unilateral declaration of the foundation of the Republic of Korea. In the suppression of the revolt, thousands of islanders were killed (see Jeju massacre).[5]

In one of its first official acts, the South Korean National Assembly passed the National Traitors Act in September 1948, which among other measures, outlawed the Workers' Party of South Korea.[6]

On 24 June 1949, the party merged with the Workers' Party of North Korea, forming the Workers' Party of Korea.[7] The WPNK leader Kim Il-sung became party chairman, whereas Pak Hon-yong became deputy chairman. Pak Hon-yong and other leaders of WPSK in North Korea were later purged.[2]

The clandestine trade union movement, the All Korea Labor Union (Chŏnp'yŏng) was connected to the party.


  1. ^ Suh, Dae-Sook (1986). "North Korea in 1985: A New Era after Forty Years". Asian Survey. 26 (1): 78–85. doi:10.2307/2644095. JSTOR 2644095.
  2. ^ a b Online, Asia Time. "Asia Times Online :: Korea News - Part 5: Kim Il-sung and China". Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2016.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ Lee, Chong-Sik (1963). "Politics in North Korea: Pre-Korean War Stage". The China Quarterly. 14 (14): 3–16. doi:10.1017/S0305741000020981. JSTOR 651339.
  4. ^ "Eisenhower Lecture #7: Allan R. Millett". Archived from the original on 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2007-04-12.
  5. ^ "The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea". Retrieved 4 September 2016.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Carter Malkasian (2001-09-25). The Korean War (Essential Histories) (September 25, 2001 ed.). Osprey Publishing. p. 2222. ISBN 1-84176-282-2.
  7. ^ KBS WORLD Radio