Kim Il-sung

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Kim Il-sung
김일성
金日成
Official portrait (posthumous, issued 1994)
Eternal President of the Republic (Appellation)
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 July 1994
Supreme Leader of North Korea
In office
9 September 1948 – 8 July 1994
Succeeded byKim Jong-il
President of North Korea
In office
28 December 1972 – 8 July 1994
Preceded byPosition created
Choi Yong-kun, Head of State as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly
Succeeded byPosition abolished
(Proclaimed Eternal President of the Republic after his death)
Prime Minister of North Korea
In office
9 September 1948 – 28 December 1972
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byKim Il (Premier)
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea
In office
11 October 1966 – 8 July 1994
Preceded byHimself as Chairman
Succeeded byKim Jong-il
Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea
In office
30 June 1949 – 11 October 1966
Preceded byKim Tu-bong
Succeeded byHimself as General Secretary
Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of North Korea
In office
28 August 1946 – 30 June 1949
ChairmanKim Tu-bong
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Chairman of the North Korea Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea
In office
17 December 1945 – 28 August 1946
Preceded byKim Yong-bom
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
BornKim Sŏng-ju
(1912-04-15)15 April 1912
Mangyŏngdae, Heian-nandō, Japanese Korea, Japanese Empire
Died8 July 1994(1994-07-08) (aged 82)
Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Resting placeKumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
NationalityNorth Korean
Political partyWorkers’ Party of Korea
Spouse(s)Kim Jong-suk (d. 1949)
Kim Song-ae
ChildrenKim Jong-il
Kim Man-il
Kim Kyong-hui
Kim Kyong-jin
Kim Pyong-il
Kim Yong-il
ResidencePyongyang, North Korea
OccupationEternal President of the Republic
ProfessionPresident of North Korea
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
North Korea Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Service/branchSoviet Armed Forces
Korean People's Army
Years of service1941–1945
1948–1994
RankDae wonsu (Grand Marshal)
CommandsAll (supreme commander)
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
 
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Kim Il-sung
김일성
金日成
Official portrait (posthumous, issued 1994)
Eternal President of the Republic (Appellation)
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 July 1994
Supreme Leader of North Korea
In office
9 September 1948 – 8 July 1994
Succeeded byKim Jong-il
President of North Korea
In office
28 December 1972 – 8 July 1994
Preceded byPosition created
Choi Yong-kun, Head of State as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly
Succeeded byPosition abolished
(Proclaimed Eternal President of the Republic after his death)
Prime Minister of North Korea
In office
9 September 1948 – 28 December 1972
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byKim Il (Premier)
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea
In office
11 October 1966 – 8 July 1994
Preceded byHimself as Chairman
Succeeded byKim Jong-il
Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea
In office
30 June 1949 – 11 October 1966
Preceded byKim Tu-bong
Succeeded byHimself as General Secretary
Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of North Korea
In office
28 August 1946 – 30 June 1949
ChairmanKim Tu-bong
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Chairman of the North Korea Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea
In office
17 December 1945 – 28 August 1946
Preceded byKim Yong-bom
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
BornKim Sŏng-ju
(1912-04-15)15 April 1912
Mangyŏngdae, Heian-nandō, Japanese Korea, Japanese Empire
Died8 July 1994(1994-07-08) (aged 82)
Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Resting placeKumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
NationalityNorth Korean
Political partyWorkers’ Party of Korea
Spouse(s)Kim Jong-suk (d. 1949)
Kim Song-ae
ChildrenKim Jong-il
Kim Man-il
Kim Kyong-hui
Kim Kyong-jin
Kim Pyong-il
Kim Yong-il
ResidencePyongyang, North Korea
OccupationEternal President of the Republic
ProfessionPresident of North Korea
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
North Korea Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Service/branchSoviet Armed Forces
Korean People's Army
Years of service1941–1945
1948–1994
RankDae wonsu (Grand Marshal)
CommandsAll (supreme commander)
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl김일성
Hancha金日成
McCune–ReischauerKim Il-sŏng
Revised RomanizationGim Il-seong
This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
North Korea

Kim Il-sung, also romanised as Kim Il Sung (15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994), was the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994.[1] He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death. He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea from 1949 to 1994 (titled as chairman from 1949 to 1966 and as general secretary after 1966). He invaded South Korea in 1950, and almost succeeded in overrunning the entire peninsula but for UN and American intervention. The Korean War, sometimes referred to as the Korean Civil War, ended with a ceasefire in 1953.

His tenure as leader of North Korea has often been described as autocratic, and he established an all-pervasive cult of personality. From the mid-1960s, he promoted his self-developed Juche variant of socialist national organisation,[2] which later replaced Marxism-Leninism as the ideology of the state in 1972. In the Library of Congress Country Study on North Korea in 2009, he was described as "one of the most intriguing figures of the twentieth century". He outlived Joseph Stalin by four decades, Mao Zedong by two, and remained in power during the terms of office of six South Korean presidents, seven Soviet leaders, ten U.S. presidents, fourteen UK Prime Ministers and twenty-one Japanese prime ministers.

Following his death in 1994, he was succeeded by his eldest son Kim Jong-il. North Korea officially refers to Kim Il-sung as "The Great Leader" (Suryong in Korean 수령) and he is designated in the North Korean constitution as the country's "Eternal President". His birthday is a public holiday in North Korea.

Contents

Early years

Young Kim Il-sung, age c. 13

Many of the early records of his life come from his own personal accounts and official North Korean government publications, which often conflict with external sources. Nevertheless, there is some consensus on at least the basic story of his early life, corroborated by witnesses from the period.

Kim was born to Kim Hyŏng-jik and Kang Pan-sŏk, who gave him the name Kim Sŏng-ju; he had two younger brothers, Ch’ŏl-chu and Yŏng-ju. The ancestral seat (pon’gwan) of Kim's family is Chŏnju, North Chŏlla Province, and, if the legend of the Chŏnju Kim is true, he was a descendant of King Gyeongsun of Silla.[3] What little that is known about the family contends that sometime around the time of the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), a direct ancestor moved north. The claim may be understood in light of the fact that the early Chosŏn government’s policy of populating the north resulted in mass resettlement of southern farmers in Pyŏngan and Hamgyŏng regions in the 15th and 16th centuries. At any rate, the majority of the Chŏnju Kim today live in North Korea, and extant Chŏnju Kim genealogies provide spotty records.

The exact history of Kim's family is somewhat obscure. According to Kim himself the family was neither very poor nor comfortably well-off, but was always a step away from poverty. Kim claims he was raised in a Presbyterian family, that his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, that his father had gone to a missionary school and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that his parents were very active in the religious community.[4][5][6] According to the official version, Kim’s family participated in anti-Japanese activities and in 1920 they fled to Manchuria. Another view seems to be that his family settled in Manchuria like many Koreans at the time to escape famine. Nonetheless, Kim’s parents apparently did play a minor role in some activist groups, though whether their cause was missionary, nationalist, or both is unclear.[7][8]

Communist and guerrilla activities

There is much controversy about Kim's political career before the founding of North Korea, with some sources claiming he was an imposter. Several sources indicate that the Kim Il-sung name had previously been used by a prominent early leader of the Korean resistance.[8] Grigory Mekler, who claims to have prepared Kim to lead North Korea, says that Kim assumed this name while in the Soviet Union in the early 1940s from a former commander who had died.[9] According to Leonid Vassin, an officer with the Soviet MVD, Kim was essentially "created from zero." For one, his Korean was marginal at best; he'd only had eight years of formal education, all of it in Chinese. He needed considerable coaching to read a speech the MVD prepared for him at a Communist Party congress three days after he arrived.[8] Additionally, a number of Koreans simply did not believe that Kim, in his 30s at the time of the DPRK's founding, could have done everything that state propaganda claimed.[10] However, historian Andrei Lankov has stated that the claim that the name Kim Il-sung was switched with the name of the “original” Kim is unlikely to be true. Several witnesses knew Kim before and after his time in the Soviet Union, including his superior, Zhou Baozhong, who dismissed the claim of a “second” Kim in his diaries.[11] Historian Bruce Cumings argues that the assertion Kim was an imposter parallels the North's propaganda that he singlehandedly defeated the Japanese.[12] The official version of Kim's guerrilla life is believed to be heavy embellished as a part of the subsequent personality cult, particularly his portrayal as a boy-conspirator who joined the resistance at 14 and had founded a battle-ready army at 19.[8]

The following details of his career are therefore disputed.

In October 1926, Kim founded the Down-With-Imperialism Union.[citation needed] Kim attended Whasung Military Academy in 1926, but when later finding the academy's training methods outdated, he quit in 1927. From that time, he attended Yuwen Middle School in Jilin up to 1930,[13] where he rejected the feudal traditions of older generation Koreans and became interested in Communist ideologies; his formal education ended when he was arrested and jailed for his subversive activities. At seventeen, Kim had become the youngest member of an underground Marxist organization with fewer than twenty members, led by Hŏ So, who belonged to the South Manchurian Communist Youth Association. The police discovered the group three weeks after it was formed in 1929, and jailed Kim for several months.[14][15]

In 1931, Kim joined the Communist Party of China. (The Communist Party of Korea had been founded in 1925, but had been thrown out of the Comintern in the early 1930s for being too nationalist.) He joined various anti-Japanese guerrilla groups in northern China, and in 1935 he became a member of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, a guerrilla group led by the Communist Party of China. Kim was appointed the same year to serve as political commissar for the 3rd detachment of the second division, around 160 soldiers.[7] It was here that Kim met the man who would become his mentor as a Communist, Wei Zhengmin, Kim’s immediate superior officer, who was serving at the time as chairman of the Political Committee of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army. Wei reported directly to Kang Sheng, a high-ranking party member close to Mao Zedong in Yan'an, until Wei’s death on 8 March 1941.[16]

In 1935 Kim took the name Kim Il-sung, meaning "become the sun."[17] Kim was appointed commander of the 6th division in 1937, at the age of 24, controlling a few hundred men in a group that came to be known as “Kim Il Sung’s division.” It was while he was in command of this division that he executed a raid on Poch’onbo, on 4 June. Although Kim’s division only captured a small Japanese-held town just across the Korean border for a few hours, it was nonetheless considered a military success at this time, when the guerrilla units had experienced difficulty in capturing any enemy territory. This accomplishment would grant Kim some measure of fame among Chinese guerrillas, and North Korean biographies would later exploit it as a great victory for Korea. Kim was appointed commander of the 2nd operational region for the 1st Army, but by the end of 1940, he was the only 1st Army leader still alive. Pursued by Japanese troops, Kim and what remained of his army escaped by crossing the Amur River into the Soviet Union.[18] Kim was sent to a camp near Khabarovsk, where the Korean Communist guerrillas were retrained by the Soviets. Kim became a Major in the Soviet Red Army and served in it until the end of World War II.

Return to Korea

Kim Il Sung's birthplace in Mangyongdae-guyok
Kim Il-sung in 1946

When the Soviet Union declared war on Japan in August 1945, it fully expected a long, drawn-out conflict.[citation needed] However, much to Stalin's surprise, the Red Army entered Pyongyang with almost no resistance on 15 August. Stalin realized he needed someone to head a new government so he asked Lavrenty Beria to recommend possible candidates. Beria met Kim several times before recommending him to Stalin.[19]

Kim arrived in Korea on 22 August after 8 years in exile. In September the Soviets installed Kim as head of the Provisional People’s Committee.[20] He was not, at this time, the head of the Communist Party, whose headquarters were in Seoul in the US-occupied south. During his early years as leader, he assumed a position of influence largely due to the backing of the Korean population which was supportive of his fight against Japanese occupation.[citation needed]

One of Kim's accomplishments was his establishment of a professional army, the Korean People's Army (KPA), aligned with the Communists and formed from a cadre of guerrillas and former soldiers who had gained combat experience in battles against the Japanese and later against Nationalist Chinese troops.[21] From their ranks, using Soviet advisers and equipment, Kim constructed a large army skilled in infiltration tactics and in guerrilla warfare. Prior to the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 Joseph Stalin equipped the KPA with modern heavy tanks, trucks, artillery, and small arms. Kim also formed an air force, equipped at first with ex-Soviet propeller-driven fighter and attack aircraft. Later, North Korean pilot candidates were sent to the Soviet Union and China to train in MiG-15 jet aircraft at secret bases.[22]

Prime Minister of North Korea

Although original plans called for all-Korean elections sponsored by the United Nations, in May 1948 the South declared statehood as the Republic of Korea, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was proclaimed on 9 September, with Kim as premier. On 12 October, the Soviet Union recognized Kim's government as the only lawful government on the peninsula.[23] The Communist Party merged with the New People's Party to form the Workers Party of North Korea (of which Kim was vice-chairman). In 1949, the Workers Party of North Korea merged with its southern counterpart to become the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) with Kim as party chairman.[24]

By 1949, the communists had consolidated their authority in North Korea. All parties and mass organizations were members of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a popular front but one which the Workers Party predominated. Around this time, the first statues of Kim appeared, and he began calling himself "Great Leader."[8]

Korean War

Archival material suggests[25][26][27] that North Korea's decision to invade South Korea was Kim's initiative, not a Soviet one. Evidence suggests that Soviet intelligence, through its espionage sources in the US government and British SIS, had obtained information on the limitations of US atomic bomb stockpiles as well as defense program cuts, leading Stalin to conclude that the Truman administration would not intervene in Korea.[28]

The People’s Republic of China acquiesced only reluctantly to the idea of Korean reunification after being told by Kim that Stalin had approved the action.[25][26][27] The Chinese did not provide North Korea with direct military support (other than logistics channels) until United Nations troops, largely US forces, had nearly reached the Yalu River late in 1950. At the outset of the war in June and July, North Korean forces captured Seoul and occupied most of the South, save for a small section of territory in the southeast region of the South which was called the Pusan Perimeter. But in September, the North Koreans were driven back by the US-led counterattack which started with the UN landing in Incheon, followed by a combined South Korean-US-UN offensive from the Pusan Perimeter. North Korean history emphasizes that the United States had previously invaded and occupied the South, allegedly with the intention to push further north and into the Asian continent. Based on these assumptions, it portrays the KPA invasion of the South as a counter-attack.[29] By October, UN forces had retaken Seoul and invaded the North to reunify the country under the South. On 19 October, US and South Korean troops captured P’yŏngyang, forcing Kim and his government to flee north, first to Sinuiju and eventually into China.

On 25 October 1950, after sending various warnings of their intent to intervene if UN forces did not halt their advance,[30] Chinese troops in the thousands crossed the Yalu River and entered the war as allies of the KPA. There were nevertheless tensions between Kim and the Chinese government. Kim had been warned of the likelihood of an amphibious landing at Incheon, which was ignored. There was also a sense that the North Koreans had paid little in war compared to the Chinese who had fought for their country for decades against foes with better technology.[31] The UN troops were forced to withdraw and Chinese troops retook P’yŏngyang in December and Seoul in January 1951. In March, UN forces began a new offensive, retaking Seoul and advanced north once again halting at a point just north of the 38th Parallel. After a series of offensives and counter-offensives by both sides, followed by a grueling period of largely static trench warfare which lasted from the summer of 1951 to July 1953, the front was stabilized along what eventually became the permanent "Armistice Line" of 27 July 1953. By the time of the armistice, around 2 million Koreans on both sides had died in the conflict.

Chinese and Russian documents from that time reveal that while Kim became increasingly desperate to establish a truce, since the likelihood that further fighting would successfully unify Korea under his rule became more remote with the UN and US presence. Kim also resented the Chinese taking over the majority of the fighting in his country, with Chinese forces stationed at the center of the front line, and the Korean Peoples Army being mostly restricted to the coastal flanks of the front.[32]

Leader of North Korea

Prime Minister

Kim on a 1956 visit to East Germany, chatting with painter Otto Nagel and Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl

Restored as the leader of North Korea, Kim returned to the country after war's end and immediately embarked on a large reconstruction effort for the country devastated by the war. He launched a five-year national economic plan to establish a command economy, with all industry owned by the state and all agriculture collectivised. The nation was founded on egalitarian principles intent on eliminating class differences and the economy was based upon the needs of workers and peasants. The economy was focused on heavy industry and arms production. Both South and North Korea retained huge armed forces to defend the 1953 Demilitarized Zone, although no foreign troops were permanently stationed in North Korea.[33] All Chinese troops that fought alongside the North Korean army during the war were removed from North Korea by 1957.

Kim's hold on power was rather shaky. To strengthen it, he claimed that the United States deliberately spread diseases among the North Korean population. While Moscow and Beijing later determined that these charges were false, they continued to help spread this rumour for many years to come. He also conducted North Korea's first large-scale purges in part to scare the people into accepting this false account. Unlike Stalin's Great Purge, these took place without even the formalities of a trial. Victims often simply disappeared into the growing network of prison camps.[8]

During the late 1950s, Kim was seen as an orthodox Communist leader, and an enthusiastic satellite of the Soviet Union. His speeches were liberally sprinkled with praises to Stalin. However, he sided with China during the Sino-Soviet split, opposing the reforms brought by Nikita Khrushchev, whom he believed was acting in opposition to Communism. He distanced himself from the Soviet Union, removing mention of his Red Army career from official North Korean history, and began reforming the country to his own radical Stalinist tastes. Kim was seen by many in North Korea, and in some parts elsewhere in the world, as an influential anti-revisionist leader in the communist movement. In 1956, anti-Kim elements encouraged by de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union emerged within the Party to criticize Kim and demand reforms.[34] After a period of vacillation, Kim instituted a purge, executing some who had been found guilty of treason and forcing the rest into exile.[34]

By the 1960s, Kim's relationship with the great Communist powers in the region had become difficult. Despite his opposition to de-Stalinization, Kim never severed his relations with the Soviets. He found the Chinese unreliable allies due to the unstable state of affairs under Mao, leaving the DPRK somewhere in between the two sides. The Cultural Revolution in China, however, prompted Kim to side with the Soviets, the decision reinforced by the policies of Leonid Brezhnev. This infuriated Mao and the anti-Soviet Red Guards. As a result, the PRC immediately denounced Kim's leadership, produced anti-Kim propaganda, and subsequently began reconciliation with the United States.[35]

President of North Korea

Kim greets Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1971

At the same time, Kim reinstated relations with most of Eastern Europe's communist countries, primarily Erich Honecker's East Germany and Nicolae Ceauşescu's Romania. Ceauşescu, in particular, was heavily influenced by Kim's ideology, and the personality cult that grew around him in Romania was very similar to that of Kim. However, Kim and Albania's Enver Hoxha (another independent-minded Stalinist) would remain fierce enemies[36] and relations between North Korea and Albania would remain cold and tense up until Hoxha's death in 1985. At the same time, Kim was establishing an extensive personality cult. North Koreans were taught that Kim was the "Sun of the Nation" and could do no wrong. Kim developed the policy and ideology of Juche (self-reliance 주체 사상) rather than having North Korea become a Soviet satellite state.

In the mid-1960s, Kim became impressed with the efforts of North Vietnam's Hồ Chí Minh to reunify Vietnam through guerilla warfare and thought something similar might be possible in Korea. Infiltration and subversion efforts were thus greatly stepped up against US forces and the leadership that they supported. These efforts culminated in an attempt to storm the Blue House and assassinate President Park Chung-hee. North Korean troops thus took a much more aggressive stance toward US forces in and around South Korea, engaging US Army troops in fire-fights along the Demilitarized Zone. The 1968 capture of the crew of the spy ship USS Pueblo was a part of this campaign.

A new constitution was proclaimed in December 1972, under which Kim became President of North Korea. In 1980, he had decided that his son Kim Jong-il would succeed him, and increasingly delegated the running of the government to him. The Kim family was supported by the army, due to Kim Il-sung’s revolutionary record and the support of the veteran defense minister, O Chin-u. At the Sixth Party Congress in October 1980, Kim publicly designated his son as his successor.

From about this time, however, North Korea encountered increasing economic difficulties. The practical effect of Juche was to cut the country off from virtually all foreign trade to be entirely self-reliant. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping in China from 1979 onward meant that trade with the moribund economy of North Korea held decreasing interest for China. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, during 1989–1991, completed North Korea's virtual isolation. These events led to mounting economic difficulties as Kim refused to issue any kind of economic or democratic reforms.[37]

North Korea repeatedly predicted that Korea would be re-united before Kim’s 70th birthday in 1982, and there were fears in the West that Kim would launch a new Korean War. But by this time, the disparity in economic and military power between the North and the South (where the US military presence continues) made such a venture impossible.[38]

As he aged, starting in the late 1970s, Kim developed a growth on the right-back of his neck which was a calcium deposit. Its close location near his brain and spinal cord made it inoperable. Because of its unappealing nature, North Korean reporters and photographers, from then on, always shot and filmed Kim while standing from his same slight-left angle to hide the growth from official photographs and newsreels, which became an increasingly difficult task as the growth reached the size of a baseball by the late 1980s.[39]

To ensure a full succession of leadership to his son and designated successor Kim Jong Il, Kim turned over his chairmanship of North Korea's National Defense Commission- the body mainly responsible for control of the armed forces as well as the supreme commandership of the country's now million-man strong military force, the Korean People's Army to his son in 1991 and 1993.

So far, the elder Kim remained as the country's president, general-secretary of its ruling communist Worker's Party of Korea and the chairman of the Party's Central Military Commission- the party's organization that has supreme supervision and authority over military matters.

In early 1994, Kim began investing in nuclear power to offset energy shortages brought on by economic problems. This was the first of many "nuclear crises". On 19 May 1994, Kim ordered spent fuel to be unloaded from the already disputed nuclear research facility in Yongbyon. Despite repeated chiding from Western nations, Kim continued to conduct nuclear research and carry on with the uranium enrichment program. In June 1994, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter travelled to Pyongyang for talks with Kim. To the astonishment of the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kim agreed to stop his nuclear research program and seemed to be embarking upon a new opening to the West.[40]

Death

The Mansudae Grand Monuments, depicting Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il.

By the early 1990s, North Korea was isolated from the outside world, except for limited trade and contacts with China, Russia, Vietnam and Cuba. Its economy was crippled by huge expenditures on armaments, and the agricultural sector was unable to feed its population. At the same time, the state-run North Korean media continued to praise Kim.

On 8 July 1994, at age 82, Kim Il-sung collapsed from a sudden heart attack. After the heart attack, Kim Jong-il ordered the team of doctors who were constantly at his father's side to leave, and for the country's best doctors to be flown in from Pyongyang. After several hours, the doctors from Pyongyang arrived, and despite their efforts to save him, Kim Il-sung died. After the traditional Confucian Mourning period, his death was declared thirty hours later.[41]

Kim Il-sung's death resulted in nationwide mourning and a ten-day mourning period was declared by Kim Jong-il. His funeral in Pyongyang was attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over North Korea, many of whom were mourning dramatically. Kim Il-sung's body was placed in a public mausoleum at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where his preserved and embalmed body lies under a glass coffin for viewing purposes. His head rests on a Korean-style pillow and he is covered by the flag of the Workers Party of Korea. Newsreel video of the funeral at Pyongyang was broadcast on several networks, and can now be found on various websites.[42]

Personal life

Kim's first wife, Kim Jeong Suk, and son, Kim Jong-il.

Kim Il-sung married twice. His first wife, Kim Jong-suk, gave birth to two sons and a daughter. Kim Jong-il was his oldest son. The other son (Kim Man-il, or Shura Kim) of this marriage died in 1947 in a swimming accident and his wife Kim Jong-suk died at the age of 31 while giving birth to a stillborn baby girl. Kim married Kim Sŏng-ae in 1951, and it is believed he had three children with her: Kim Yŏng-il (not to be confused with the former Premier of North Korea of the same name), Kim Kyŏng-il and Kim Pyong-il. Kim Pyong-il was prominent in Korean politics until he became ambassador to Hungary. Since 1998 he has been ambassador to Poland.

Kim was reported to have other illegitimate children, as he was well known for having numerous affairs and secret relationships.[citation needed][dubious ] They included Kim Hyŏn-nam (born 1972, head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party since 2002).[43]

Cult of personality and legacy

A mural of Kim Il-sung giving a speech in Pyongyang.

There are over 500 statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea.[44] The most prominent are at Kim Il-sung University, Kim Il-sung Stadium, Kim Il-sung Square, Kim Il-sung Bridge and the Immortal Statue of Kim Il-sung. Some statues have been reported to have been destroyed by explosions or damaged with graffiti by North Korean activists.[45][46] Yeong Saeng ("eternal life") monuments have been erected throughout the country, each dedicated to the departed "Eternal Leader", at which citizens are expected to pay annual tribute on his official birthday or the commemoration of his death.[47] It is also traditional that North Korean newly weds, immediately after their wedding, go to the nearest statue of Kim Il Sung to lay flowers at his feet.[48]

Kim Il-sung's image is prominent in places associated with public transportation, hanging at every North Korean train station and airport.[44] It is also placed prominently at the border crossings between China and North Korea. His portrait is featured on the front of all recent North Korean won banknotes. Thousands of gifts to Kim Il-sung from foreign leaders are housed in the International Friendship Exhibition.

According to R.J. Rummel, an analyst of political killings, Kim's regime perpetrated over 1 million democidal killings through concentration camps, forced labor, and executions.[49]

Works

Kim Il-sung was the author of many works and they are published in books. His works are published by the Workers' Party of Korea Publishing House and among them are the 100-volume Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung's Works (김일성전집)[50] and his Selected Works. These include new year speeches, and other speeches delivered on different occasions. Shortly before his death, he also published an autobiography entitled "With the Century" in 8 volumes.

According to official North Korean sources, Kim Il-sung was also the original writer of The Flower Girl, a revolutionary theatrical opera, which was made into a film adaptation in 1972.[51][52][53]

Kim Il-Sung reputedly held a diploma for an honorary degree from Kensington University.[54]

Ancestry

Names of Supreme Leaders of the DPRK are highlighted in bold.

Kim Bo-hyon
Kim Hyŏng-jik
Kang Pan-sŏk
Kim Jong-suk
Kim Il-sung
Kim Sŏng-ae
Kim Yong-ju
Kim Young-sook
Song Hye-rim
Kim Jong-il
Ko Young-hee
Kim Ok
Kim Kyong-hui
Chang Sung-taek
Kim Pyong-il
Kim Sul-song
Kim Jong-nam
Kim Jong-chul
Kim Jong-un
Ri Sol-ju
Kim Yo-jong
Kim Han-sol

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "김일성, 쿠바의 ‘혁명영웅’ 체게바라를 만난 날" (in Korean). DailyNK. 15 April 2008. http://www.dailynk.com/korean/read.php?cataId=nk00500&num=55181.
  2. ^ Herman, Steve (13 July 2004). "North Korea: ten years later". Asian Research. http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/2209.html. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  3. ^ "모악산 전주 김씨 시조묘를 찾아서" (in Korean). Tongilnews. 29 January 2002. http://www.tongilnews.com/news/quickViewArticleView.html?idxno=15495. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  4. ^ Kimjongilia – The Movie – Learn More
  5. ^ "PETER HITCHENS: North Korea, the last great Marxist bastion, is a real-life Truman show". Daily Mail (London). 8 October 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-486079/PETER-HITCHENS-North-Korea-great-Marxist-bastion-real-life-Truman-show.html.
  6. ^ Byrnes, Sholto (7 May 2010). "The Rage Against God, By Peter Hitchens". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/the-rage-against-god-by-peter-hitchens-1965109.html.
  7. ^ a b Lankov, Andrei, From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945–1960, Rutgers University Press (2002), p. 53.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Becker, Jasper (2005). Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517044-3.
  9. ^ Staff writer. "Soviets groomed Kim Il Sung for leadership". Vladivostok News. http://vn.vladnews.ru/Arch/2003/ISS345/News/upd10.HTM.
  10. ^ . (Interview). The Cold War. CNN. Washington, DC. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/coldwar/interviews/episode-5/hong1.html.
  11. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2002). From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945–1960. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. p. 55. ISBN 0-8135-3117-9.
  12. ^ Cumings, Bruce (1997). Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History. New York: W W Norton & Co. p. 160. ISBN 0-393-04011-9.
  13. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe; Lafraniere, Sharon (27 August 2010). "Carter Wins Release of American in North Korea". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/world/asia/28korea.html?_r=1&hp.
  14. ^ Lankov, Andrei, From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945–1960, Rutgers University Press (2002), p. 52.
  15. ^ Suh Dae-Sook, Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader, Columbia University Press (1998) p. 7.
  16. ^ Suh Dae-Sook, Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader, Columbia University Press (1998) pp. 8–10.
  17. ^ Bradley K. Martin (2004). Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-312-32322-6.
  18. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2002). From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945–1960. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN 0-8135-3117-9.
  19. ^ http://ysfine.com/wisdom/wk01.html Beria/Kim Il-sung
  20. ^ Kim Il-Sung Installation
  21. ^ Formation of the KPA
  22. ^ Blair, Clay, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, Naval Institute Press (2003).
  23. ^ DPRK Foreign Relations
  24. ^ Worker's Parties of Korea merge
  25. ^ a b Weathersby, Kathryn, The Soviet Role in the Early Phase of the Korean War, The Journal of American-East Asian Relations 2, no. 4 (Winter 1993): 432
  26. ^ a b Goncharov, Sergei N., Lewis, John W. and Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War (1993)
  27. ^ a b Mansourov, Aleksandr Y., Stalin, Mao, Kim, and China’s Decision to Enter the Korean War, 16 September – 15 October 1950: New Evidence from the Russian Archives, Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issues 6–7 (Winter 1995/1996): 94–107
  28. ^ Sudoplatov, Pavel Anatoli, Schecter, Jerrold L., and Schecter, Leona P., Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness — A Soviet Spymaster, Little Brown, Boston (1994)
  29. ^ Ho Jong-ho et al. (1977) The US Imperialists Started the Korean War
  30. ^ David Halberstam. Halberstam, David (25 September 2007). The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War (p. 23). Hyperion. Kindle Edition.
  31. ^ Halberstam, David (25 September 2007). The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War (pp. 335–336). Hyperion. Kindle Edition.
  32. ^ Kim Il-sung and Chinese Troops
  33. ^ No foreign troops in North Korea
  34. ^ a b Lankov, Andrei N., Crisis in North Korea: The Failure of De-Stalinization, 1956, Honolulu: Hawaii University Press (2004), ISBN 978-0-8248-2809-7
  35. ^ Breznhev-Kim Il-Sung relations
  36. ^ CEU.hu, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research 17 December 1979 quoting Hoxha's Reflections on China Volume II: "In Pyongyang, I believe that even Tito will be astonished at the proportions of the cult of his host, which has reached a level unheard of anywhere else, either in past or present times, let alone in a country which calls itself socialist."[dead link]
  37. ^ North Korea and Eastern Europe
  38. ^ Kim Il-sung's 70th birthday
  39. ^ Cumings, Bruce, North Korea: Another Country, The New Press, New York, 2003, p. xii.
  40. ^ Kim Il-sung halts DPRK nuclear program
  41. ^ Demick, Barbara: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.
  42. ^ Scenes of lamentation after Kim Il-sung’s death
  43. ^ Henry, Terrence (May 2005). After Kim Jong Il, The Atlantic Monthly.
  44. ^ a b Portal, Jane; British Museum (2005). Art under control in North Korea. Reaktion Books. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-86189-236-2.
  45. ^ Becker, Jasper (2007). Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea. Oxford University Press US. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-19-530891-4.
  46. ^ "The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - N.Korean Dynasty's Authority Challenged". English.chosun.com. 2012-02-13. http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/02/13/2012021301372.html. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  47. ^ "Controversy Stirs Over Kim Monument at PUST" NK Daily.. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  48. ^ Kim Il-sung Statue Traditions
  49. ^ Rummel, Rudolph J. (1997). Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Murder Since 1900. Chapter 10, Statistics Of North Korean Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources. ISBN 978-3-8258-4010-5. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP10.HTM.
  50. ^ "Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung's Works" Off Press
  51. ^ 가극 작품 – NK Chosun
  52. ^ 2008年03月26日, 金日成原创《卖花姑娘》5月上海唱响《卖花歌》 – 搜狐娱乐
  53. ^ "With the Century" – Complete biography of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung – Korea-DPR.com
  54. ^ Fincher, Lindsay (5 November 2009). "North Korea: Bowing before Kim Il-Sung's embalmed corpse at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace". At Home in the Waste Land. http://www.lindsayfincher.com/north-korea-bowing-before-kim-il-sungs-embalmed-corpse-at-the-kumsusan-memorial-palace.html. Retrieved 12 July 2012.

Further reading

External links

Political offices
New titlePrime Minister of the DPRK
1949–1972
Succeeded by
Kim Il (As Premier)
Preceded by
Choi Yong-kun
as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly
President of the DPRK
(Eternal President of the Republic since 5 September 1998)

1972–1994
Succeeded by
Yang Hyong-sop
as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly
Party political offices
New titleChairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea
1949–1966
Himself as General Secretary
Chairman of the Central Military Commission of Worker's Party
1950–1994
Succeeded by
Kim Jong-il
Vacant until 1997
General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
1966–1994
Military offices
New titleSupreme Commander of the Korean People's Army
1948–1991
Succeeded by
Kim Jong-il