Dos casos de manipulación de fotos en Corea del norte (North Korea, Caught in time. Images of war and reconstruction, Chris Springer)
In front of the capitol building in Seoul, festive decorations on a tram hail the arrival of the Korean People’s Army.
This scene marks a stunning turn of events. Just three days after the war began, communist forces seized the capital of the Republic of Korea.
Photo 4 has been retouched. Originally, several portraits of Stalin, beside portraits of Kim Il Sung, were visible.
(See Photo 5, an earlier print.) These have been covered up. The stars on the tram, for instance, no longer carry portraits but instead read “Congratulations” in Korean.
Why were those portraits concealed? Homages to Stalin were phased out after the mid-1950s. The problem was not with Stalin himself – North Korea still adhered to his doctrines. The problem was that Stalin’s successors in the Kremlin turned against the excesses of Stalinism and expected North Korea to do the same. In order to break with Soviet “revisionists,” the regime took a nationalist stance and began eliminating all symbols of foreign influence.
Kim Il Sung signs the Korean War armistice agreement, presented to him by General Nam Il. Looking on in the background are Kim Tu-bong (seated), chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and Pak Cho˘ng-ae of the Party’s Central Committee.
After Kim Tu-bong was purged (see Photo 94), he was apparently erased from photos of the armistice signing.
Though Photo 67 was taken within seconds of Photo 66, Kim Tu-bong has vanished from the background.
In time, the photos themselves disappeared from the official record. Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings note, “In later years the North stopped showing pictures of Kim signing the armistice, as portrayal of the event moved increasingly towards depicting it as a ‘US surrender.’”