Frustrated Peace: Investigatory Activities by the Commission of the Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) in North Korea during the Korean War

TitleFrustrated Peace: Investigatory Activities by the Commission of the Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) in North Korea during the Korean War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKim, Taewoo
JournalSungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies
Volume20
Issue1
Pagination83-112
Date Published04/2020
Abstract

This article attempts a broad study of the achievements and limits of the activities of the Commission of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) that investigated war atrocities in North Korea during the Korean War. The contents of the WIDF Korea Report have been regarded (and dismissed) as political propaganda of the Soviet Union and North Korea for a long period of time because they were comprised mainly of criticisms towards the United States. Following the end of the Cold War, however, the report has begun to be reevaluated in nature, along with the recently declassified documents concerning the Korean War and extensive research on the bombing raids conducted by the US Air Force (USAF) and massacres allegedly committed in North Korea by UN forces. These developments make it possible to study the activities of the WIDF Commission from a broader, more nuanced, and more objective perspective. Above all, the individual records of some members of the Commission from Western European countries, who had not been involved in communist activities, show plainly that the WIDF’s investigation activities in North Korea were conducted with the goal of tracking down the truth in an efficient manner. In order to assure the objectivity of the arguments of the report, the members of the Commission tried to eliminate political discourse in the process of their investigation and in the preparation of their report, and constantly expressed their suspicions about North Korean claims, doing their utmost to gather irrefutable evidence. These efforts to secure objectivity in their investigation served as the main reason that none of the members of the Commission denied or retracted the arguments of the final report after returning to their home countries. Although suffering ordeals like expulsion from public office, being called traitors, and standing trial after returning home, the women held to their convictions. Moreover, recent historical research and oral data about the massacres of North Korean civilians and the aerial bombing of civilian areas during the Korean War clearly show that many of the claims in the WIDF Korea Report are close to the historical truth. [From the Author]

URLhttp://sjeas.skku.edu/upload/202004/SJEAS_Taewoo%20KIM_hp%200420201.pdf
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