Some comments on the history of North Korea: - As far as I know, Kim Ilsung was never member of the Soviet Army - The Korean war began in 1950, whereas in 1948 South Korea did invade the border town of Kaesong. - The policy of Juche and the absurd personality cult date from the '70ies as a final result of the break between the S.U. and China - North Korea has been an economically backwards contry only since the late '80ies, when the economic and political relationship with the Soviet Union and the COMECON began to dissolve. Until then, it was regarded as relatively successful.
Kim Il-Sung (1892-1976) was a Communist revolutionary and leader. After taking part in various anti-Japanese efforts and serving in the Soviet Army, he came to power in the Soviet-controlled northern half of Korea in 1945. Though he started the Korean War in 1948 in an effort to conquer the rest of Korea, he failed, being left with his original portion of that nation.
He imposed a policy of juche or self-reliance on North Korea, thus making that nation a "hermit kingdom", and one with a very backward economy. He established a personality cult of himself that went beyond those of Stalin and Mao; he credited himself with miracles like turning sand into rice and crossing a river on a little leaf.
His son Kim Jong-Il has continued that tradition, fabricating a story of himself being born on Mt. Paektu in Korea; he was actually born in Vyatsk, near Khabarovsk, Russia. His birth and childhood acquired numerous other fabricated details, like:
- "At the time of his birth there were flashes of lightening and thunder, the iceberg in the pond on Mt. Paektu emitted a mysterious sound as it broke, and bright double rainbows rose up."
- "At the age of 4 he smeared a Japanese map with black ink, then a stormy rain poured down on Japan."
- "By a touch of Kim Jong-il's hand the sea turned into a fertile land and a deep valley into a paradise."
- Several of his family members had a distinguished history of fighting the Japanese occupiers of Korea.