Kim Il Sung: Facts You Didn't Know About The Ruthless Dictator

By | October 11, 2020

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Premier Kim Il Sung of North Korea. (Getty Images)

If you were asked who the current President of North Korea is, you'd likely answer Kim Jong Un, the current ruler of the Democratic People's Republic (though it is neither a democracy nor a republic). That would be understandable, seeing as he is a world-famous dictator known for his tyrannical rule, major nuclear proliferation, and strange affinity for Dennis Rodman. But what if we told you that the true President of North Korea is actually a man named Kim Il Sung, a Communist fighter who rose to power in the late 1940s and still holds the position despite the fact that he died in 1994?


Why would the President of North Korea be a dead man? To figure that out, we have to understand just what the state of North Korea is and how it came to be. For the majority of history, the Korean Peninsula existed as a geographic region consisting of several different and often competing tribal states which would eventually consolidate in the Three Kingdoms Era and even later reform into Dynasty rule. However, it was the ongoing conflicts with neighboring Japan that transformed Korea into what we understand it as today. Korea began having major problems with the Land of the Rising Sun back in the 1500s, when Japan attacked the peninsula during the Joseon Dynasty. Although their several attempted invasions failed, they nonetheless exerted some influence over the peninsula, thanks to the growing globalization of trade in the 1800s.

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The Allied Reoccupation of the Andaman Islands, 1945. (Lemon A E (Sergeant), No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit/Wikimedia Commons)

Korea Under Japan

By the 1900s, dynasties had given way to the Korean Empire, and Japan claimed full control after they won the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. No country likes to be occupied, especially when thousands of their young women, A.K.A. "comfort women," were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military. As so, tensions between the Korean people and Imperialist Japan hit a fever pitch.

You would think that the Axis Powers losing World War II would mean that Korea was finally free from foreign rule, but unfortunately, there were still more woes to follow. Although they were free from Japanese rule, the United Nations came up with the less-than-brilliant idea to divide Korea trusteeship between longtime frenemies Russia and the United States. A few years later, there was a North Korea, the Soviet-backed, socialist, one-party system of government, and a South Korea, the U.S.-backed, capitalist, multi-party system.