Kim Il Sung

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Kim Il Sung was the pseudonym for Kim Song Ju. He was born on April 15, 1912, at
Mangyongdae, Pyongyang, to a poor peasant family. He and his family emigrated to
Manchuria in the 1920’s like many Korean families did at the time. His family
was a most patriotic and revolutionary one, and fought for many generations,
from the beginning of the modern revolutionary movement of the Korean people for
the independence of the country. He grew up receiving his revolutionary
education at home, and acquiring a revolutionary outlook on the world through
study and revolutionary practice. In Manchuria, he attended a Chinese school. He
rallied young students around revolutionary organizations, and educated and
trained them through struggles against the Japanese. He organized the Young
Communist League of Korea on August 28, 1927, and was arrested and imprisoned
for a year by the Chinese authorities for having done so. After his release from
jail in 1930, he formed the first Party organization at Kalun with young
communists of the new generation whom he had trained, and it was the first
organization to be the glorious origin of the Workers’ Party of Korea which were
formed later. Afterwards, he organized the Korean Revolutionary Army, which was
the first armed organization of the Korean communists that fought against the
Japanese military. In 1931, he left for the hills of eastern Manchuria to join a
Chinese Communist guerrilla group fighting the Japanese military in Manchuria.


On April 25, 1932, he founded the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, the first
standing revolutionary armed force of the Korean people, and became its
commander. Between the years 1932 to 1941, he led a band of Korean guerrillas
against Japanese positions in Manchuria. It was during this time that he assumed
the pseudonym Kim Il Sung, the name of a legendary resistance fighter that
caused the Japanese a lot of trouble. In 1941, Japanese counterinsurgency forces
forced him to leave Manchuria for the Soviet Union. He remained there, and came
back to Korea in 1945. On August 15, 1945, he achieved national liberation from
Japanese colonial rule. Having received direct Soviet encouragement, he strove
to unify Korea into a communism. After the creation of the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea in 1948, not only did he became the head of the Korean
Workers’ Party (unified political party of the working masses), but also became
the Premier of the communist state (the Head of State). He made the fateful
decision to launch a major military campaign to unify Korea under force of arms,
and at 4 a.m. on June 25, 1950, he started the Korean War (a war between North
Korea and South Korea). He led postwar economic reconstruction and the laying of
the foundations of socialism with great wisdom. He also effected the agrarian
reform, nationalization of industries and other democratic reforms, and thus
victoriously carried out the revolution in the northern half of Korea in a short
period of time. After the war, he continued the trend towards one-man rule. He
succeeded in developing a cult of personality with himself to strengthen his
authority. In the post Korean War years, he developed the idea of “Juche”,
and ideology of self-reliance blended with Marxism, thus creating a distinct
native Korean communism. And in 1994, at the age of 82, he died. Kim Il Sung was
an autocratic leader in many ways. In order to prepare for a future war, he made
little kids learn military combat skill since they enter elementary school. It
was mandatory for all men to serve the arm forces for ten years. People who had
not serve the arm forces because of some reasons, or people who had not attended
Kim Il Sung University were assigned the most dangerous and hardest jobs. Since
no one was allowed to own a private property, they did not have the motivation
to work. In order make people work, and strengthen the industries and
agriculture, he created things called “A horse that can run 1000
Li/hr”, and “Seeing stars exercise”. “A horse that can run
1000 Li/hr” means that there is a horse that can run 250km/hr. He told
people that this horse can run 1000 Li/hr because it runs with all its strength,
and forced them to work intensely with all their strength. “Seeing stars
exercise” means that you start working when the stars are out, and stop
working until the stars are out again. He forced people to work every early in
the morning when the stars are out till when it was dark again. He also severely
punished or killed people who had religions (Ideology Criminals), people who
opposed to his political opinions (Political Criminals), and people who
criticized him. These people were not allowed to get married, nor have babies.


And in many cases, in order to satisfy their lust, they had sexual intercourse
with their family members. Kim Il Sung developed a system called “5 House
Surveillance System”. It is a system that families of every five houses
observe each other to see if there is any Ideology Criminal, Political Criminal,
or anyone criticizing him. Any person who reported the Criminal to the
authorities was rewarded, and was given more opportunity to become a member of
the Party of Communist. Kim Il Sung also made people hang his picture in their
houses. If his picture was crooked not dusted, or not hanged, they were accused
of being a Political Criminal. Once a one-man rule of his own was secured, Kim
Il Sung also began to develop a personality cult in order to strengthen his
authority. He had to make up stories that his forefathers were anti-Japanese
fighters, and deify himself in order to make North Koreans believe him to be a
man of great personality. In the days of the Japanese colonial rues of Korea, he
never participated in real combats, although he was a Soviet army captain
belonging to the 88 Special Reconnaissance Brigade. Yet, he claimed that for 15
years, he participated in more than 100,000 battles (over 20 battles a day) and
won victories, even forging mystic stories that he turned sand into rice and
crossed rivers on a leaflet as if he were an almighty deity. To justify his
fabricated past, he appointed so-called revolutionary war sites (7 places) and
historic sites (34 places) throughout all North Korea, and every year he urged
all the people to make expeditionary marches to those places. He even ordered
the building of over 40,000 Kim Il Sung’s Revolutionary Thought study rooms for
the indoctrination of the people. Furthermore, he had over 70 bronze statues and
over 20,000 plaster busts erected all over the country, and had more than 20
diverse kinds of Kim Il Sung badges manufactured and worn by the people
according to their class. He designated his birthday as the greatest national
holiday, and observed his birthday by spending hundreds of millions of dollars
every year. Even after his death, the North Korean authorities had his body
mummified and laid in a coffin at the super-deluxe Kumsusan Memorial Palace to
prolong the personality cult under the pretext that he is immortal and
imperishable. Moreover, indoctrination programs designed to teach the people to
worship him begin from nursery school. The curriculum of primary schools
includes 304 hours of such indoctrination in two subjects, and that of senior
high schools includes 567 hours in four subjects. Other textbooks such as Korean
Language, Geography, and Nature are also full of contents designed to deify Kim
Il Sung: about 40% of the entire content in primary school textbooks, and 43% of
those in senior high schools. About 57% of music education in primary schools,
and 48% of that in senior high schools are devoted music that promotes the
worship of Kim Il Sung. Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang maintains 6
departments specializing in Kim Il Sung. They include the Department of Kim Il
Sung’s Revolutionary History, and the Department of Kim Il Sung’s Works. In
conclusion, Kim Il Sung, through his leadership style, was able to rule his
country for over 40 years, but there were also many negative consequences. His
leadership was mostly based on “control” and “surveillance”.


Although this made him a one-man ruler, there were many people who escaped to
South Korea, and many people who wanted to kill him. Even the “real”
creator of “Juche Ideology” ran away to South Korea. I think that this
kind of leadership might work at first, but in the long run, will be disastrous
and create negative consequences.


Bibliography
Beyrouth: Dar Al-Talia, 1973 Chajusong Self-reliance, 1998 URL:
http://www.01.co.za/freedom/default.htm

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