This is the first is a series of five reviews and provides some general information on the Museum complex and a brief summary of the outcome of the Fatherland Liberation War (the Korean War), from the North’s perspective, obviously.
In preparation for 60th anniversary celebration of the Fatherland Liberation War Victory Day in 2013, Leader, Kim Jong-un ordered the refurbishment (essentially rebuilding) of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum. In practice this resulted in a new building being built just across the river from the old one though part of the display (an amazing diorama) remains in the former building and is accessed by an enclosed walkway across the river (see layout picture below – top right).
Thus was created this major museum complex encompassing the extraordinary Museum itself, the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War and an outdoor display of military hardware. While the Museum has a section relating to the period of Japanese occupation of Korea, and a number of other displays, its primary focus is the Korean War (1950-53) – or the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War as it is called in North Korea.
Again unrelated to the Korean War, also located here is North Korea’s major Cold War trophy – the captured USS Pueblo (also refurbished for 2013).
In various of my Panmunjom reviews I include additional detail on the Fatherland Liberation War so suffice to say here that North Korea deem the Armistice Agreement signed on 27 July 1953 as the capitulation/ surrender of the US and South Korea and, as such, North Korea won the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War. All that remains to be done now is the removal of imperialistic US Forces from the south of the peninsula and its reunification. Outside North Korea it is generally held that Korean War (never referred to as the Fatherland Liberation War) hostilities ended in a stalemate on the signing of the Armistice Agreement in Panmunjom. Legally and technically the War continues as a peace settlement remains to be agreed upon.
We entered the complex through the very grand entrance depicted in my first picture here. This entrance was constructed in 1993 as part of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War (often abbreviated to the War Victory Monuments) which opened in that year. Some additions (eg the brown tiles behind the military bronzes and the brown trim around the top) were made to the entrance in the 2012 renovation. The dates 1950 and 1953 inscribed on either side of the entrance represent the year in which the Fatherland Liberation (Korean) War commenced and the year it ended – in victory for North Korea.
About 50 metres inside the entrance – flanked at some distance by two more massive monuments – we came to a bronze layout map for the complex .
Looking from here the main Museum is the large (though it looks small from this distance) building in the distance and all the statutory you see forms part of the Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War. Off to the right and left and, from this point, not visible are trenches exhibiting former Korean War military hardware. The USS Pueblo lies off to the right, and again is not visible from this point.
Having had a look around the complex entrance area all we needed now was our specialist guide for our visit to the Museum – a member of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), whom we were allowed to photograph – so we did!
Having met our KPA guide and been given a general overview of the complex it was time to have a look at some military hardware. Do join me in the trenches!
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on The Rambling Wombat’s trip to Pyongyang, North Korea which I recommend you read in a particular order. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Korean War Military Hardware Display. If necessary, go to my Pyongyang introduction entry – Pyongyang – A Capital City Unlike any Other – to start this loop at the beginning.