Kim It Sung, Prime Minister of North Korea since 1948, celebrates his sixtieth birthday on April 15.
Kim It Sung, Prime Minister of North Korea since 1948, celebrates his sixtieth birthday on April 15. For the past decade he has been the nation's absolute ruler. In the west, little nowadays is heard of him--but to his own people he is a revered here who has led them through two bitter wars, directed their nation's industrial reconstruction and guided them on a delicate, independent course between the two great Communist powers. In recent months, pamphlets on his political philosophies have been published, aimed at building an even stronger personality cult around him.
SYNOPSIS: Kim Il Sung, Prime Minister of North Korea since 1948, nowadays enjoys the full fruits of power. For the past decade he has been the nation's absolute ruler - a revered hero whose childhood home, just outside the capital Pyongyang, is a national shrine. It was from here that his father took him to Manchuria around 1925 to escape the japanese occupation. Kim became a Communist Guerrilla, fighting the Japanese from the Chinese border. But in 1940 he turned up in the Soviet Army. And when the Russians liberated North Korea in 1945, he became the leader of the newly-created Communist state.
The Korean War confronted Kim, now Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief, with the full power of America and her United Nations allies. For both sides, the outcome was neither victory nor defeat. It left Kim Il Sung with an abiding hatred for the Americans, whose military endeavours he has described as "the most barbarous and terrible of all imperialism in modern times". The war almost totally destroyed North Korea's industrial capacity.
After the war, Kim joined Indonesia's Head of State, Dr. Sukarno, in fostering the Third World alliance. But at home he was having trouble with pro-Chinese Communists. In 1956 he defeated their attempt to oust him at a Party Congress. But by 1968, when President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania was seeking bi-lateral relations, he had turned back to the Chinese after a dispute with the Russians over the Cuba crisis. Meanwhile, his bitter confrontation with the American-backed republic of South Korea has burned on. And the South had reacted just as bitterly.
Kim Il Sung's major achievements have been the post-war reconstruction of North Korea, and steering the country on a delicate, independent course between the Russians and Chinese. With the help of Prime Minister Kosygin he has patched up his quarrel with the Soviet Union. And although he is now said to be ??? to Chinese thinking, he has condemned both Moscow's socialist revisionism and Peking's dogmatism. As a Communist leader, Kim Il Sung has been overshadowed by men like Mao Tse-tung. But in recent moths, pamphlets on his political thoughts have been published., aimed at building a stronger personality cult.