Kim Il-sung


Kim Il-sung

Infobox President
name = Kim Il-Sung
김일성


office =President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(Eternal President of the Republic)
term_start =28 December 1972
term_end =July 8, 1994
predecessor =
Successor =Kim Jong-il (as Chairman of the Defense Commission)
office2 =General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
term_start2 =30 June 1949
term_end2 =8 July 1994
predecessor2 =
successor2 =Kim Jong-il
office3 =Premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
term_start3 =9 September 1948
term_end3 =28 December 1972
predecessor3 =
successor3 =Kim Il
birth_date =birth date|1912|4|15|mf=y
birth_place =Heijo, Japanese Korea
death_date =death date and age|1994|7|8|1912|4|15|mf=y
death_place =Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
nationality =North Korean
party =Workers' Party of Korea
spouse =Kim Jong-suk (d. 1949)
Kim Song-ae
relations =
children =Kim Jong-il, Kim Man-il, Kim Kyong-jin, Kim Pyong-il, Kim Yong-il
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
religion = Atheist


website =
footnotes =
Infobox Korean name
context=north
title=Korean name
hangul=김일성
hanja=金日成
mr=Kim Ilsŏng
rr=Gim Il-seong
tablewidth=265
color=lavender

Kim Il-sung (15 April 19128 July 1994) was the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in early 1948 until his death, when he was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death. He was also the General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea where he exercised autocratic power.Fact|date=August 2008 As leader of North Korea, he ended up switching from a Marxist-Leninist ideology to his self-developed "Juche" idea and established a personality cult [http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/2209.html] . North Korea officially refers to him as the "Great Leader" and he is designated in the constitution as the country's "Eternal President". His birthday and the day of his death are public holidays in North Korea.

Early years

Much of the early records of his life come from his own personal accounts and official North Korean government publications, which often conflict with independent 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, and had two younger brothers, Ch’ŏl-chu and Yŏng-ju. He was born in Nam-ri, Kophyŏng District, Taedong County, South P'yŏngan Province (currently the Mangyŏngdae area of P'yŏngyang), then under Japanese occupation. The ancestral seat ("pon’gwan") of Kim's family is Chŏnju, North Chŏlla Province, and what little that is known about the family contends that sometime around the time of the Korean-Japanese war of 1592-98, 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 Phyŏngan and Hamgyŏng regions in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. At any rate, the majority of the Chŏnju Kim, today live in North Korea, and extant Chŏnju Kim genealogies provide spotty records. Moreover, a persistent rumour alleges that during the North Korean occupation of Seoul in the Korean War, the North Koreans collected all the available Chŏnju Kim genealogies and took them to the Democratic People's Republic of KoreaFact|date=October 2007.

The exact history of Kim's family is somewhat obscure. The family was neither very poor nor comfortably well-off, but was always a step away from poverty. Kim was raised in a Protestant Christian family with strong ties to the church: his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, his father had gone to a missionary school, and both his parents were reportedly very active in the religious community. According to the official version, Kim's family participated in anti-Japanese activities and in 1920 they fled to Manchuria, where he became fluent in Chinese. The more objective 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.Lankov, Andrei, "From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945-1960, " Rutgers University Press (2002), p. 53.]

Kim’s father died in 1926, when Kim was fourteen years old. Kim attended Yulin Middle School in Jilin, 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 less 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. [Lankov, Andrei, "From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945-1960, " Rutgers University Press (2002), p. 52.] [Suh Dae-Sook, "Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader, " Columbia University Press (1998) p. 7.]

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. 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 March 8, 1941. [Suh Dae-Sook, "Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader, " Columbia University Press (1998) pp. 8-10.]

Also in 1935 Kim took the name Kim Il-sung, meaning "become the sun." [cite book|title=Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty|author=Bradley K. Martin|publisher=Thomas Dunne Books|date=2004|isbn=0312323220] By the end of the war, this name would be legendary in Korea, and some historians have claimed that it was not Kim Sŏng-ju who originally made the name famous. Soviet propagandist 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. [cite news
author=Staff writer
date=
title=Soviets groomed Kim Il Sung for leadership
url=http://vn.vladnews.ru/Arch/2003/ISS345/News/upd10.HTM
accessdate=
work=Vladivostok News
] On the other hand, some Koreans simply did not believe that someone as young as Kim could have anything to do with the legend. [cite interview
subject=Hong An
url=http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/coldwar/interviews/episode-5/hong1.html
accessdate=
callsign=CNN
city=Washington, DC
date=
program="The Cold War"
] Historian Andrei Lankov has claimed that the rumor Kim Il Sung was somehow switched with 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. [Lankov, Andrei, "From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945-1960, " Rutgers University Press (2002), p. 55.]

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 June 4. 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. [Lankov, Andrei, "From Stalin to Kim Il Sung: The Formation of North Korea 1945-1960, " Rutgers University Press (2002), p. 53-54.] Kim was sent to a camp near Khabarovsk, where the Korean Communist guerrillas were retrained by the Soviets. Kim became a Captain in the Soviet Red Army and served in it until the end of World War II.

The Communist Party of Korea had been founded in 1925, but had soon been disbanded due to internal strife. In 1931, Kim had joined the Communist Party of China. When he returned to Korea, in September 1945, with the Soviet forces, he was installed by the Soviets as head of the Provisional People's Committee. He was not, at this time, the head of the Communist Party, whose headquarters were in Seoul in the U.S.-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.

One of Kim's accomplishments was his establishment of a professional army, the "North Korean People's Army" (NKPA), formed from a cadre of guerrillas and former soldiers who had gained combat experience in battles against the Japanese and later Nationalist Chinese troops. From their ranks, using Soviet advisers and equipment, Kim constructed a large army skilled in infiltration tactics and guerrilla warfare. Before the outbreak of the Korean War, Joseph Stalin equipped the NKPA 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. [Blair, Clay, "The Forgotten War: America in Korea, ", Naval Institute Press (2003)]

Korean War

By 1948, it was apparent that, due to political and ideological polarization between the two emerging Korean governments, immediate peaceful re-unification would not be possible. After the South formally declared independence as the Republic of Korea, Kim Il Sung was appointed as the prime minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), forming a new country that would henceforth be commonly known as "North Korea". 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.

The government of U.S. occupied South Korea (ROK) usurped power from locally controlled "People's Committees" and reinstalled many of the former land owners and police who had held office when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule. These moves were met with heavy resistance and open rebellion in some parts of South Korea such as the southern islands. [Cumings, Bruce, "The Origins of the Korean war, ", Princeton University Press (1981, 1990)] . After several altercations at the border, it appeared that civil war might be inevitable. North Korean troops crossed the border on 25 June 1950 intending to unify the country under a communist government. Evidence suggests that the North's bid to reunify the country was met with a wide range of popular support across the south. [Cumings, Bruce, "The Origins of the Korean war, ", Princeton University Press (1981, 1990)] Archival material suggestsWeathersby, 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] Goncharov, Sergei N., Lewis, John W. and Xue Litai, "Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War" (1993)] Mansourov, Aleksandr Y., "Stalin, Mao, Kim, and China's Decision to Enter the Korean War, September 16-October 15, 1950: New Evidence from the Russian Archives," Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issues 6-7 (Winter 1995/1996): 94-107] that the decision was Kim's own initiative rather than a Soviet one. Evidence suggests that Soviet intelligence, through its espionage sources in the U.S. government and British SIS, had obtained information on the limitations of U.S. atomic bomb stockpiles as well as defense programme cuts, leading Stalin to conclude that the Truman administration would not intervene in Korea. [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)]

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, and did not provide direct military support (other than logistics channels) until United Nations troops, largely U.S. forces, had nearly reached the Yalu River late in 1950. North Korean forces captured Seoul and occupied most of the South, but were soon driven back by the U.S.-led counter attack. By October, UN forces had retaken Seoul and on October 19 captured P’yŏngyang, forcing Kim and his government to flee to China.

On 25 October 1950, after sending various warnings of their intent to intervene if UN forces did not halt their advance, Chinese troops in their thousands crossed the Yalu River and entered the war as allies of the NKPA. The UN troops were forced to withdraw and Chinese troops retook P’yŏngyang in December and Seoul in January 1951. In March U.N. forces began a new offensive, retaking Seoul. After a series of offensives and counter-offensives by both sides, followed by a gruelling period of largely static trench warfare, the front was stabilized along what eventually became the permanent "Armistice Line" of 27 July 1953. North Korea was devastated by U.S. bombardment with few buildings left standing. By the time of the armistice, upwards of 3.5 million Koreans had died in the conflict.

Leader of North Korea

Restored as the leader of North Korea, Kim embarked on the reconstruction of 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 ceasefire line, although no foreign troops were permanently stationed in North Korea.

During the 1950s, Kim was seen as an orthodox Communist leader. He rejected the USSR's destalinization and began to distance himself from his sponsor, including the removal of any mention of his Red Army career from official history. Kim was seen by many 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.Lankov, Andrei N., "Crisis in North Korea: The Failure of De-Stalinization, 1956. Honolulu:Hawaii University Press (2004)] After a period of vacillation, Kim instituted a purge, executing some who had been found guilty of treason and forcing the rest into exile. When the Sino-Soviet split developed in the 1960s, Kim initially sided with the Chinese but never severed his relations with the Soviets. When the Cultural Revolution broke out in China after 1966, Kim veered back to the Soviet side. At the same time, he established an extensive personality cult, and all North Koreans began to address him as "Great Leader" (widaehan suryŏng 위대한 수령). Kim developed the policy and ideology of "Juche" (self-reliance) rather than having North Korea become a soviet satellite state.

In the mid-1960s, Kim became impressed with the efforts of Hồ Chí Minh to reunify Vietnam through guerrilla warfare and thought something similar might be possible in Korea. Infiltration and subversion efforts were thus greatly stepped up against U.S. occupying 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 U.S. forces in and around South Korea, engaging U.S. Army troops in firefights 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. By this time, 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.

Later years

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. 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.

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 U.S. military presence continues) made such a venture impossible.

As he aged, Kim developed a large growth on the back of his neck, a calcium deposit, or "hok" in Korean, usually resulting from childhood malnutrition. Its location near his brain and spinal cord made it inoperable. Because of its unappealing nature, North Korean photographers always shot from the same slight-left angle, which became a difficult task as the growth reached the size of a baseball. [Cumings, Bruce, "North Korea: Another Country", The New Press, New York, 2003, p.xii.] [ [http://nikiwai.free.fr/kimilsungtumor.jpgImage of Kim Il-sung's "neck tumor"] ] Failed verification|date=August 2008

In early 1994, Kim began investing in nuclear power to offset energy issues brought on by economic problems. This was the first of many "nuclear crises", although the U.S. had nuclear weapons in South Korea as early as 1953, and threatened to use them during the Korean War. 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 programme. In June 1994, former 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 programme and seemed to be embarking upon a new opening to the West.

Death

By the 1990s, North Korea was nearly completely isolated from the outside world, except for limited contacts with China. Its economy was virtually bankrupt, crippled by huge expenditures on armaments, with an agricultural sector unable to feed its population, but state-run North Korean media continued to lionize Kim. Kim Il-sung died suddenly of a heart attack in Pyongyang on July 8, 1994, bequeathing the country's mounting crisis to Kim Jong-il. His funeral in Pyongyang was attended by hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom were mourning dramatically, weeping and crying Kim Il-sung's name during the funeral procession. Kim Il-sung's body was placed in a public mausoleum at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace. Now his preserved and embalmed body lies under a glass coffin. His head rests on a pillow and he is covered by a red flag acting as a blanket. Video of the funeral at Pyongyang was broadcast on several networks, and can now be found on various internet sites. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zYsUqAYg6c"Scenes of lamentation after Kim Il-sung's death"] ]

Family life

Kim Il-sung married twice. His first wife, Kim Jong-suk, bore him two sons and a daughter. Kim Jong-il is his oldest son, and the other son (Kim Man-il, or Shura Kim) died in 1947 in a swimming accident. Kim Jong-suk died at the age of 31 while giving birth to a stillborn baby girl. Kim married Kim Sŏng-ae in 1962, and it is believed he had three or four children with her: Kim Yŏng-il, Kim Kyŏng-il and Kim Pyong-il. Kim Pyong-il was prominent in Korean politics until he became ambassador to Hungary.

Kim was reported to have other illegitimate children, as he was well known for having numerous affairs and secret relationships. They included Kim Hyŏn-nam (born 1972, head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party since 2002) [Terrence Henry, [http://www.itcc.org/article.asp?artid=182 After Kim Jong Il] , The Atlantic Monthly, May 2005] and Chang-hyŏn (born 1971, adopted by Kim Jong-il's sister Kim Kyŏng-hŭi). [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/dprk/leadership-succession1.htm Leadership Succession Recent Developments] ]


=Kim's name and

There are roughly 800 statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea Fact|date=March 2007. 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.

Kim Il-sung's image is prominent in places associated with public transportation, hanging at every North Korean train station and airportFact|date=March 2007. It is also placed prominently at the border crossings between China and North Korea.

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 "Complete Collection of Kim Il Sung's Works" and "Collection of Kim Il Sung's 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 12 volumes.

References

ee also

*Cold War
*Dictatorship of the Proletariat
*History of Soviet espionage in the United States
*List of Korea-related topics
*Song of General Kim Il-sung
*Stalinism
*Juche

Further reading

* Blair, Clay, "The Forgotten War: America in Korea, ", Naval Institute Press (2003)
* Goncharov, Sergei N., Lewis, John W. and Xue Litai, "Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War" (1993)
*
* Lankov, Andrei N., "Crisis in North Korea: The Failure of De-Stalinization, 1956. Honolulu:Hawaii University Press (2004)
* Mansourov, Aleksandr Y., "Stalin, Mao, Kim, and China's Decision to Enter the Korean War, September 16-October 15, 1950: New Evidence from the Russian Archives," Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issues 6-7 (Winter 1995/1996)
*
* 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)
* Suh, Dae-Sook, "Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader. New York: Columbia University Press (1988)
* 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)
*Christian Kracht, Eva Munz, Lukas Nikol, "The Ministry Of Truth. Kim Jong Ils North Korea", Feral House, Oct 2007, 132 pages, 88 color photographs, ISBN 978-932595-27-7
* [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=230972&fuseaction=topics.publications&doc_id=474527&group_id=474507 NKIDP: Crisis and Confrontation on the Korean Peninsula: 1968-1969, A Critical Oral History]

External links

* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8241723 Kim's resting place]
* [http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=861907&page=&vc=1&PHPSESSID=#Post861907 North Korea Uncovered] , (North Korea Google Earth)
* [http://koreanunification.net Korean Unification Studies]
* [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=topics.home&topic_id=230972 North Korean International Documentation Project (NKIDP)]

Persondata
NAME=Kim, Il-sung
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Kim Ilsong, Gim Il-seong, 김일성, 金日成
SHORT DESCRIPTION=President of North Korea
DATE OF BIRTH=birth date|1912|4|15|df=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=Pyongyang, North Korea
DATE OF DEATH=death date|1994|7|8|df=y
PLACE OF DEATH=Pyongyang, North Korea


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