The Chollima Movement or Chollima Workteam Movement was an intense effort set out by Kim Il Sung to increase production and output in the DPRK that emerged out of the First Five Year Plan. It began as a slogan used by Kim Il Sung to describe the speed at which work was being conducted saying that the workers were performing at the speed of Chollima, this was a phases that relates to the legendary horse Chollima which was said could move at four thousand km in single day.

The Movement

The movement was said by Kim Il Sung to have be launched in 1956 after the “Plenary Meeting of the Party Central Committee” but the slogan was first used by Kim Il Sung in 1958 in his speech “Everything for the prosperity and development of the country”. Until the next year the term was only used as a slogan which Kim Il Sung used to describe the advancement of the nation in his speeches. This would be used in such slogan such as “the country is advancing to socialism at the speed of Chollima”, “Every Worker will be able to ride in the saddle of Chollima” or “ahead in the spirt of Chollima riders”. By the following year it had progressed into a real movement which was first officially mentioned by Kim Il Sung in his speech “Tasks of the Party Organisations of North Hamgyong Province”. From this Chollima work teams were formed in factories and famrs to make sure that production was being done in the fastest and most efficient way possible. As part of this the DPRK began to practice reverse engineering where they would take apart equipment supplied by China or the Soviet Union and learn how to make it their own way. Schools were placed in factories so that the mostly uneducated work force could receive the education that they lacked and thus gained the country skilled labours such as engineers and technicians, as well as supply knowledge to the people.

There were several evils that the Chollima movement sought to expel these were conservatism, mysticism and passivism. This were not used in the way that the terms are generally understood. By conservatism Kim Il Sung meant those that said that such a thing was impossible or that targets being set were unrealistic. This were people that sought to limit the advancement of the DPRK because they didn’t have faith in the power of the people. Mysticism referred to the mystification of technology by saying that the ordinary person could not understand the sciences, engineering and other skilled subjections or even the manner in which technology operates or is produced. Kim Il Sung wanted to demystify these areas and provide the people with knowledge about production to not only increase education and decease alienation but also to make sure that the people knew what they were working with and understood the importance of science and technology in shaping the future of the nation. Passivism referred to the tendency for people not to put their whole effort in working for the revolution and the advancement of the nation.

One of the methods introduced was a set plan that people were encouraged to follow, this was eight hours of work, eight hours of study and eight hours of rest. This allowed the people to make full use of their day both in working, learning and free time. Authors were also encouraged to write of the Chollima movement and celebrate its victories, one of the issues that Kim Il Sung found was the writers were not embracing the Chollima movement as fast as the workers and he feared that this was because they had not accepted it. Party member as well were expected to learn about technology and through this understand how it could be implemented within their jurisdiction. Part of the reason for this was that the Chollima movement sought to leave no man or woman behind and make sure that they all remoulded as productive and enlightened people of a new era. In terms of this Kim Il Sung had said that the more Chollima riders the better and that there could never be enough people advancing on the Chollima movement to remould the nation.


There were several noted examples of where the movement led to a noted increase of production one being the Chollima work team of Pyongyang led by Kil Hwak Sil which increased production by forty percent. Kil Hwak Sil herself went on to give lectures on the Choilma movement to give an example of the way in which the movement was being carried out. Another success was the Twice Chollima Youth Workteam of Aoji Coal Mine led by Ri Sung Hwan which increased production from 5,000 tons to Over 10,000 tons. The Chollima Work Team of Ryongsong Machine Factory led by Ju Song Il manged to make several large machines such as 8-meter turning lathe, 3,000-ton press and many other machines. They also used innovative methods to makes sur that the work was done in record time increasing output by over five times and saving 20,000-man days.

Through this the Chollima Movement sough not only to make the people more productive but also innovative as well pushing for new ideas and new methods to gain push forward the advancement of the DPRK. By the end of 1961 over two million people had joined the Chollima movement and its results were very impressive increasing the production of the nation by at least forty percent. Kim Il Sung recorded 4,958 workteams and workshops with 125,028 people that had been awarded the title of Chollima. More impressively 55 workteams with 1,459 that had been awarded the title of double Chollima. Through this the Chollima Movement manged to break all records in terms of production and education and advance the nation to a new level. Because of this the difficult Five-year plan was fulfilled in only two years and increased its aims by four times what had already been planned.


The Chollima Movement was a great feat for the DPRK and is held in high regard in the nation, factories, tractors and trains have been named after it. There are museums in the DPRK that are dedicated to the Chollima Movement showcasing some of the machinery and work that were build during the days of the movement. In Pyongyang there is a famous statue dedicated to the Chollima movement and the image of Chollima is depicted widely throughout the DPRK, being used in tv testscreens, books and leaflets, several songs that are popular in the DPRK have been dedicated to the Chollima movement. This is not without good cause the Chollima lifted millions out poverty and increased the living standards of many in the DPRK. It allowed the urbanisation of the nation moving millions of people from the country to the cities. It allowed healthcare, education and housing to be provided for the people all provided by the state for no cost. Its success led to the Chosang Ri Method and the Taean industrial method

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