Kim Il-sung

Kim Il-sung

Kim Il-sung

Kim Il-sung (even Kim Il Sung, the old transcription Kim Ir-sen, born Kim Song-chu) (born 15 April 1912 in Mankeidai, then celled Empire of Japan, today’s North Korea, † July 8th, 1994 at Chalet Hyangsan in the myohyang-san-Bergen, North Korea, according to the official death of North Korean representation: Pyongyang) was a North Korean communist politician and from 1948 to 1994 the Stalinist dictator of North Korea.

As “Eternal President”, he is beyond death as the de jure head of state of North Korea. In the North Korean propaganda he is (phonetically transferred: widae surjong han Kim Il-sung dong dzi) as “the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-sung” respectively. After his death, his son Kim Jong-il was supreme ruler of North Korea. This died 2011 and was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-un as head of state. Partial therefore spoken of the first communist dynasty.


Origin and childhood

Kim Il-sung was born in 1912 under the name Kim Song-chu in Mankeidai near heijo. His father Kim Hyong-sik (* July 10, 1894, † June 5, 1926) worked intermittently as a teacher, his mother Kang Ban Sok (* 1892, † 31 July 1932) was the daughter of a Protestant clergyman. Both were devout Protestant, his father was temporarily active in the mission. Kim Il-sung had two younger brothers and a sister. His brother Kim Chol Ju said to have come to North Korean data in 1935 armed struggle against the Japanese killed. His brother Kim Yong-ju held in North Korea temporarily high functionality. In December 1993 he was appointed by President Kim Il-sung as Vice-President. By his sister-suk Kim is the only known that she studied in Leningrad in the early 50s.

Around 1920 the family emigrated to the province Chosen (equivalent to ten years before the Japanese annexation of territory annexed Korea) of the Japanese Empire lived in great poverty, Manchuria, which since the 19th Century was increasingly populated by Koreans n. Kim graduated from here most of his seven-year education, learning Chinese, and Russian. In 1927 he is said to have founded an anti-Japanese revolutionary youth organization and Farmers’ Association and two other organizations in accordance with Korean American official sources until August of the following year. This is at least not assignable and also because of his young age at this time is unlikely. So 1933 had no report on the Japanese intelligence activities of Kim Il-sung back. However, he joined a Marxist group and was arrested after their excavation in 1929 as a 17-year-old. After his release, he joined the anti-Japanese guerrillas in enbewegung.

Name change

Like other guerrilla fighters in the 1930s, he took the nom de guerre n “Kim Il-sung” to (il has the meaning sun). Partial circulated the rumor that he had taken the name of another anti-Japanese guerrilla leader, whose fame to make our own. For the existence of this alleged other military leader, there is no historical evidence. Most North Koreans knew that way early on his name and the stories about his supposed exploits. The name “General Kim Il-sung” put before the establishment of the DPRK as the foundation for the cult of personality, which is operated by the North Korean leader to this day.

Political activity

Kim Il-sung was in the 1935 political commissar “Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army.” On 4 June 1937, he led, now as commander of the 6th Division, a raid against the run of Japanese-people Pochonbo police station near the northern border of present-day North Korea. This attack is presented on a panoramic Army Museum in Pyongyang as the “Battle of Pochonbo”, where “battle” in the face of the balance of power of 180 koreanischstämmigen partisans against 30 policemen resorted something is high. North Korea declared that the Paekdu massif was the base of operations of General Kim Il-sung in the northern part of the country in the 1930s. As evidence of this can be distributed all over the country so-called solution trees mentioned. On their tribes writings are seen that are supposedly originated in the time to 1945 and indicate the anti-Japanese guerrilla movement to a Paektu and their headquarters at. This evidence is doubted by Western scientists. Nevertheless, since 1956, this area is largely developed by 800 km political excursion paths, monuments, etc. Also a summer residence of the “eternal president” is located there. End of the 30s anyway heard the rare forays koreanischstämmiger partisans, who operated out of Manchukuo on. Until 1945 there was no fighting in separates.

1940, Kim Il-sung moved to other partisan back because of the increased pressure of the Japanese colonial power in the Soviet Union. The exact date is unclear, however. In early 1941, he took part in a training commander of the Red Army at the Okeanskaja field school near Vladivostok. After that he lived in the company of other koreanischstämmiger emigrants in Khabarovsk, where up to the 1930s, many of these people had lived, but had been resettled by Josef Stalin to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In the village Wjatskoje in Khabarovsk was formed at this time of partisan koreanischstämmigen the 88th Infantry Brigade of the Red Army. Kim Il-sung is said to have taken part in the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942/43 as part of this small contingent of what life was denied by him, probably to disguise his Soviet background from 1940 to 1948 and to appear as a nationalist. From 1943 to 1944 he served as captain of the Red Army battalion commander in the 88th Rifle Brigade of the Second Army in the Far Eastern Primorye Territory.

In the Soviet Union in 1941, Kim’s son Yuri, who later became Kim Jong-il was born. His mother, Kim Jong-suk, was also a partisan koreanischstämmige. She was Kim Il-sung’s second wife. His first wife, Kim Hyong-tion came in 1940 Chosen in captivity. In Wjatsk Shura Kim’s second son and a daughter were born. Shura drowned in 1947 in a pond in the garden of her father’s house in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-suk died in 1949.

From 1944, Kim and other Korean-born people were promoted in Khabarovsk by the Soviet government, to prepare them for a leading political role in post-war Korea. As North Korea has been taken in accordance with the agreements of the Yalta Conference of Soviet organizations in August 1945, Kim began in September on the ship “Pugachev” from Vladivostok to Wonsan and Pyongyang reached at the end of the month. He was commander of the first employees of the future North Korean capital. Since the Soviets in the local forces saw no acceptable partner for them, it was decided in Moscow, there to build the well-known Kim Il-sung to the future rulers of northern Korea. Prior to working with the local nationalists Cho Man-sik had failed to political differences. In addition, the Soviets found no reliable partner in the remaining communists in Korea Pak Hon-yong, who once had strong connections to the defunct Communist International under Stalin in 1943.

The first public appearance of Kim in Pyongyang took place during a rally in honor of the Soviet Army on 14 October. In February 1946, he was Chairman of the Provisional People’s Committee. On 1 March 1946 he was lucky to survive an attack initiated from the south. Already since 1945, Kim was head of the North Korean section of the total Korean Communist Party. In the spring of 1946, formed the independent therefrom KP North Korea, which reunited in the summer with the “New People’s Party” to the North Korean Workers’ Party. Kim gave the post of Secretary General of Kim Du-bong down, but remained head of the administration and was on 17 In February 1947 determines the first North Korean government. Through targeted purges in the party and government of Kim Il-sung began to expand his power. 9 September 1948 he proclaimed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He himself was elected prime minister of the new state. Following the unification of North and South Korean communists to “Korean Workers’ Party, he was chairman of the party again.


The People’s Republic formed a counterpoint to Western-oriented Republic of Korea, which was launched back in August 1948 in the south of the American military government in life. 1949 Kim could consolidate his power with the help of Stalin. On 25 June 1950 he left the military weak attack South Korea, which continued until 1953, the Korean War began.

Kim was innately soldier, he had not been forced into the policy, even he was not highly educated. However, he put some talent here on the day to engage his opponents in contradictions. He succeeded after the war to build a system based on the Soviet model. The devotion that was shown him, led to a cult of personality. In the late 1940s, first appeared on the term “leader” for him, a name which had hitherto been reserved within the communist movement alone Lenin and Stalin. His pictures were soon ubiquitous, and portraits of him are found in every home, as well as on the 100 – and 5,000-won bill from 2002 to 5000-won bill from 2008. The worship his statues and portraits (Bow, Laying flowers) already carries religious overtones. Even the Kim family is trapped in the cult. This refers not only to his son and successor Kim Jong-il, but also on its 1949 late mother, Kim’s second wife Kim Jong-suk. Ancestors concerning Kim is now claiming he come from a revolutionary family of heroes. His great-grandfather Kim Ung-u to the attack on the U.S. armed merchant ship “General Sherman” took part in 1866. 1966 chose to Kim Il-sung, General Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party and he was appointed on the basis of a constitutional amendment to the presidency in 1972.

Kim’s Juche ideology, the national values ​​of self-sufficiency and independence on the world communist interests and sees himself as a true continuation of Marxism. One can speak here of a Marxist trimmed nationalism ummünzt the millennia-old history and culture of the Korean people to a sense of national pride. In the intra-party disputes to the internationalist-minded in the pursuit of communists was a “creeper”. The awareness of cultural superiority vis-welded the people together. Added to this were the unmistakable progress in economic development, although one-sided, heavy industry was preferred, which were accepted by the population as a success of the system in the 1950s and 1960s. Constantly stressed the unity of the Korean people and the desire to unite this under the banner of the North, the consciousness of the people had a lasting influence. This course also allowed independent critique of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, but also led to an isolation of the country.

The North Korean leadership tried to “make” the people ideologically in their minds and to prevent use of jammers to receive South Korean radio and television programs. This is reflected in the official history of the country. Thus, the biography of Kim Il-sung and his family history is embellished in many parts. Similar to the procedure under Stalin information about former (traitorous) companions of the “great leader” were redeemed from history here. Consequently, the structure of state and party appears as a single man, Kim Il-sung’s work. Dissidents are persecuted brutal and relentless in North Korea. Kim built prisons as “re-education camps”, which – mainly serve to “reform through labor” – as in China.

Successor, death and legacy

Kim Il-sung in 1991 appointed his son, Kim Jong-il, as supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army. Thus he laid the foundation for the world’s first communist dynasty. After the death of his son Kim Jong-il on 17 December 2011, there with grandson Kim Jong-un now the third generation of the family in North Korea.

8 July 1994, Kim Il-sung died of a heart attack at his residence “Hyangsan chalet” (according to North Korean statements in his office in Pyongyang. Across the country we ordered a three-year mourning period. On 20 July Kim Jong-il was appointed as his successor. The “Great Leader” left behind a country in poverty and isolation. His birthday is a national holiday and is celebrated annually as the Day of the Sun. In the mausoleum converted Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang is his body, which is wrapped in a flag of the Party, laid out and can be viewed there.

The Kim’s writings and their meaning

The speeches and Kim Il-sung’s writings appeared in North Korea of April 1992 until January 2012 as a 100-volume complete edition under the title “Complete Works of Kim Il Sung” (“김일성 전집”) published by the Workers’ Party of Korea .

A 50-volume selection appeared from 1979 until April 1997 under the title “Kim Il Sung’s Works” also published by the KWP. The publication of the foreign edition of this selection concerned the publisher of Foreign Literature. The foreign-language edition of “Kim Il Sung Works” in Arabic, Chinese, English, German, French, Japanese, Russian and Spanish and currently includes 50 volumes and an index volume, the volumes 1 – recorded 35th.

The publication of the memoirs of Kim Il-sung “With the Century” was completed in North Korea in 1998 with belt 8. They contain the memories of Kim from the beginning of his political activity until his return to Korea in 1945. The volumes were published after his death, created on the basis of his manuscripts. “With the Century” will appear next korean also in Arabic, Chinese, English, German, French, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

According to official North Korean President Kim Il-sung’s writings details to be published during his lifetime in 63 languages ​​in 108 countries. The Kim’s writings have enormous, almost sacred meaning in the North Korean society. The learning material in schools and universities is to a large extent from the works of Kim Il-sung. Often, entire passages to be memorized. North Korea called itself “reeducation camps” – - even in the concentration camps of the North Korean regime, the prisoners have to part from the works of Kim memorize. This is described as at least the former camp prisoner Kang Chol-hwan.

German-language editions of her work

•Kim Il Sung Works (50 volumes). Pyongyang: Foreign Languages ​​Literature, 1980 – 2009.

•Kim Il Sung: Selected Works (8 volumes). Pyongyang: Foreign Languages ​​Literature, 1975/76/96.

•Kim Il Sung: Selected Works. Berlin (GDR): Progress Publishers, 1988. ISBN 3-320-01226-6


•Alfred Pfabigan: Sleepless in Pyongyang.From the failed attempt to make a skeptical Europeans to a member of the Big Red family. Wien: Christian Brandstätter Verlag 1986. ISBN 3-85447-204-8. (The Viennese philosophy professor Alfred Pfabigan visited North Korea in the early 1980s. His book offers an analysis of the North Korean propaganda, the cult leader and the Juche ideology)

•Andrei N. Lankov, “KNDR včera i segodnja. Neformal’naja istoriia Severnoj Koreimann “. Moscow: Vostok – Zapad, in 2005. ISBN 5-478-00060-4. (Russian)

•Dae-Sook Suh Kim Il Sung: The North Korean Leader, Columbia University Press, New York, 1988 ISBN 0-231-06572-8

•Lankov, Andrei: From Stalin to Kim Il Sung.The formation of North Korea from 1945 to 1960. New Brunswick, New Jersey 2002 ISBN 0-8135-3117-9

•Szalontai, Balázs: Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev era.Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Roots of North Korean despotism, 1953-1964. Washington DC, Stanford 2005 (= Cold war international history project series) ISBN 0-8047-5322-9

•Martin, Bradley K. Under the loving care of the fatherly leader.North Korea and the Kim dynasty. New York 2004 ISBN 0-312-32221-6

North Korean

•Institute of Party History of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party: A Short History of the revolutionary activities of Comrade Kim II Sung, Pyongyang: Foreign Languages ​​Literature in 1970.

•Kim Il Sung. Biographical sketch. Publisher of Foreign Literature, Pyongyang / Korea, Juche 90 (2001)

•Rim Nam Su: A great man of the world, Pyongyang: Publisher Foreign Language Press, 1980

Kim Il-sung

North Koreans

Politicians (North Korea)

Person (Pyongyang)

Ministers Chairman (North Korea)

Winner of the Order of Karl Marx

Winner of Order of Lenin

Person in the Korean War

Born in 1912

Died in 1994


Head of state

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