Writer : Onajoko Deborah (AKA Derby County)
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Kim II Sung
Popularly known as “The eternal president”, Kim II Sung was the founder and first president of North Korea who ruled the country right from its establishment in 1948 down to his death in 1994. He also held the role of communist leader from 1948- 1994 (his death), countries premier from 1948-1972, chairman of the dominating political party, Korean workers party from 1949 and finally president and head of state from 1972–1994, the time of his death.
Born on the 15th of April, 1912 as Kim Song Ju, in Mangyondae, Pyongyang, Korea (now in North Korea) to father Kim Hyong-Jik and mother Kang Ban-sum, who had fled to Manchuria to escape the Japanese rule of Korea . In 1926, he attended Yuk-mun middle school, Chillin city. He would later drop out in 1929 after three years of attending the school, after which he joined the communist youth alliance at his teenage age, he would later on be arrested and imprisoned for his participation and activities in the group at the age of seventeen, from 1929 -1930. After his release from prison, Kim took part in the Korean guerrilla resistance against the Japanese. During this period, Kim was noticed by the Soviet military authorities who then sent him to train in the Soviet Union for military and political training, during which he joined a local communist party. In 1935, he would have a change in name as he adopted the name Kim II Sung officially, and got married to his wife Kim Jung-sook five years later in 1940. Kim would however go on to lead a Korean contingent as a major in the Soviet army during the World War II . In 1945, after the Japanese surrendered, Korea was left divided into two halves with a Soviet occupying north and a US supporting south . Kim would later become the first premier of the newly founded Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in 1948, and later became the chairman of the Korean workers communist party in 1949. In an attempt to once again reunite the two Korean halves, Kim II Sung launched an invasion against South Korea in 1950, which ushered in the Korean War . His invasion was however quelled by the US troops alongside other United Nations forces as they delivered a counter invasion on North Korea, Kim II Sung was however only able to repel this invasion through massive Chinese support from Mao Zedong . Through this, the war ended in a stalemate in 1953.
Now solely having influence in North Korea alone, Kim II Sung took out all opposition and any one contesting for power against him in the Korean Workers’ party, thereby taking full and total control and leadership of North Korea . Through this, he was able to turn North Korea into an austere and highly regimented society.
While in leadership, Kim introduced a philosophy of juche or self reliance in which the country developed and grew its economy with little or no help from foreign countries. The Juche theory posits that a country will prosper once it has become self reliant by achieving political, economic and military independence. This philosophy was initially a positive outcome as the economy of the country grew rapidly, but later became stagnant due to the shortage of food supplies in the country, taking its toll on the country’s citizens.
North Korea’s foreign policy through Kim II Sung mostly involved his strong ties with the Soviet Union and China, while he remained consistently hostile to South Korea alongside the United States. Kim II Sung also created a personality cult in which he was deified and seen as sacred, places of worship in his name were built and around 35,000 statues of him were erected throughout the nation.
This act has come to continue under his successors over the years. In 1993, Kim II Sung transferred the title of the NDC chairmanship to his son and successor, Kim jong-II and died a year after at the age of 82 on the 8th of July,1994, from a myocardial infarction before he could attend the meeting already scheduled with president Kim young Sam of South Korea at Pyongyang, leaving his son Kim jong-II to take over leadership of the country. His body is however preserved at the presidential palace in Pyongyang. Aside being the “eternal president”, Kim II Sung was also known by other titles such as “ heavenly one”, “ father chairman” and “great chairman”.
All these leaders in one way or the other all possessed certain traits in their rise and stay in power, they each managed to influence their continents and history at large as they have all in a way contributed to the history of political and governmental administration in the world at large, all succeeding in gaining recognition for the various territories in which they headed. And as the great Napoleon Bonaparte I said, “ men who have changed the world never achieved their success by winning the chief citizens to their side, but always by stirring the masses” .
All leaders mentioned above, managed in one way or the order to attain great measures of loyalty from the masses of their respective countries, which aided them into their dominant and extensive reign in history, but above all, each ruler mentioned above, all possessed similar characteristics of discipline, resilience, doggedness and a strong mind and will power, which aided them all in achieving their goals at certain times in their life.
They each persevered and showed great tenacity in pulling themselves out of each unfavourable conditions they were born into, and managed to place themselves in history, although most if not all displayed violent and negative actions and characteristics which shook and affected parts if not all of the world in negative lights, each one of this leaders had and audacious sense to them which could not be denied, and as the great Napoleon Bonaparte said, “ with audacity one can undertake anything but not do everything “, these leaders all in some way undertook and attained great and unimaginable heights due to this similarity which they all possessed. As a result, this paper will be concluding with a quote each from all five of the leaders mentioned above .
Writer: Onajoko Deborah
- ” It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history” — Benito Mussolini .
- “Obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken.” — Adolf Hitler.
- “It is not heroes that make history but history that makes heroes” — Joseph Stalin.
- “In times of difficulties, we must not loose sight of our achievement” — Mao Zedong.
- ” Everything is decided by a person’s thought, and if he is ideologically motivated there is nothing he cannot do” — Kim II Sung.