President Kim Il Sung, founding father of socialist Korea, was born on April 15, 1912, into a poor peasant family at Mangyongdae in Pyongyang. In those days Korea was under the military occupation of Japanese imperialism (1905-1945).
Kim Il Sung was educated in patriotism by his parents and was under their revolutionary influence from his early years. It was in his teens, early 1925, when he left his native place and motherland with a resolute determination not to return before Korea became independent.
He formed the Down-with-Imperialism Union (DIU) in Huadian in Northeast China in October 1926. The formation of the DIU made it possible for the Korean revolution to break with the preceding generation obsessed with flunkeyism and dogmatism and advance along a new road based on the principle of independence.
In the course of blazing the trail for the Korean revolution, he discovered the truth that the masters of the revolution were the masses of the people and the revolution could emerge victorious only when they were organized and mobilized, the truth of Juche that the revolution should be undertaken on one’s own responsibility in accordance with one’s own belief instead of conducting it after obtaining someone else’s recognition or under someone else’s instructions, and that all the problems arising in the revolution should be solved independently and creatively to meet the specific situation of the country. On the basis of this, he made public the creation of Juche idea at Kalun in Northeast China in June 1930, the gist of which is that the masses of the people are the masters and the driving force of the revolution and construction, in other words, one is the master of one’s own destiny and has the power to carve it out.
The creation of the Juche idea was a significant event that opened up a new era, an independent era, where the masses of the people emerged as masters of their own destiny and of history for the first time in human history.
Kim Il Sung, having also proclaimed at the Kalun meeting the origination of the Songun idea that the revolution is pioneered, advances and wins victory by the strength of the arms, founded the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army in April 1932, thus starting his Songun-based revolutionary leadership. He led the arduous anti-Japanese armed struggle with neither the home front nor support from a regular army, and achieved the country’s liberation in August 1945.
After the country’s liberation, Kim Il Sung put forward the line of building a new independent society following the road of progressive democracy of Korean style. He proclaimed the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, a leading force of the Korean society, in October 1945, and had democratic reforms like agrarian reform, the nationalization of major industries and so on, carried out. Then he established the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the first genuine people’s democratic state in the East, on September 9, 1948.
Immediately after the liberation, he saw to it that the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army was developed into the Korean People’s Army, a regular armed force, thus providing the newly-born country with powerful defence capabilities. Herein lies the key to the historical victory the Korean people gained in the Korean war (1950-1953) which was started by the US imperialists in less than five years after the liberation and less than two years after the founding of the Republic. The Korean army and people fought indefatigably under his sagacious leadership and inflicted the ignominious defeat upon the US aggressors for the first time in history, thus defending the national sovereignty and dignity with honour.
In the ensuing postwar periods Kim Il Sung put forth the line of economic construction for giving priority to the growth of heavy industry while simultaneously developing light industry and agriculture, which was a new line unprecedented so far. He adhered to the line of building an independent national economy by rejecting categorically the pressure from others to force Korea
to join the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (COMECON). He kindled in December 1956 the torch of the Chollima movement, an all-people movement. (Chollima means a legendary winged horse that gallops 400km a day. It symbolizes the revolutionary spirit of the Korean people to make a great upsurge). In the flames of the movement Korea brilliantly accomplished the historic tasks of industrialization in a matter of 14 years (1957-1970), during which its industrial output grew at an average rate of 19.1 per cent.
He set forth the original line of transforming the economic forms along socialist lines prior to technological reconstruction of agriculture and energetically led the work for its implementation. Thanks to his endeavours socialist system was established in Korea in 1958. He also made sure that the scientific and advantageous socialist economic management system was established and,
on its basis, made public Theses on the Socialist Rural Question in Our Country in February 1964, thus showing the correct path for successfully solving the rural question.
Kim Il Sung paid close attention to developing Korea’s socialist system into socialism centering on the masses. Under his warm solicitude, the systems of universal free medical care and compulsory 11-year free education are enforced, and systems of building houses at state expenses and taking care of people’s well-beings established, and tax system is abolished completely.
In accordance with his grand plan of economic construction, Korea carried out with credit several rounds of national economic plans, and thus has possessed great economic potentials capable of manufacturing 10 000-ton press and large-sized oxygen plant by itself and building an 8-km-long barrage.
President Kim Il Sung exerted strenuous efforts to the reunification of the country ever since its division caused by the United States. Always saying that the greatest present he could make for the Korean nation would be the country’s reunification, he laid its fundamental basis by setting forth the three charters of the Korean reunification—three principles of Korea’s reunification, Ten-point Programme of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation for the Reunification of the Country, and the proposal of founding the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo. On July 7, the day before he passed away (July 8, 1994) he read a document related to the country’s reunification and left his last autographic sign. Thanks to his efforts a bright prospect of the reunification was ushered in.
President Kim Il Sung enjoyed an outstanding prestige in the world political circles and boundless respect and admiration of the progressive peoples of the world for his significant contributions to the cause of independence of mankind as well as the Korean revolution. He conducted energetic ideological and theoretical activities and made public a large number of works, all of which have provided political and social figures and progressive peoples of the world with valuable ideological and theoretical nourishment and encouragement.
During his lifetime he met over 70 000 heads of state and party, political and social personages from 136 countries. Out of noble internationalist obligation he also rendered selfless political and material aid and moral support to many countries, including China, Viet Nam and Cuba, in their struggles for national liberation against imperialism and the building of new societies.
He put forth the idea of making the whole world independent, led the people championing independence to unite and struggle against all manners of imperialism and domination, and greatly contributed to development of the non-aligned movement as well as the socialism movement.
His immortal exploits and noble virtues won the reverence and admiration of the world people. He was awarded hundreds of orders and medals, and honorary titles from governments, political parties, social organizations, business enterprises, cities, universities, research institutes of many countries, regional and international organizations, and UN-affiliated organizations. Nearly 200 000 gifts were presented to him by heads of party, state and government, figures of political and social organizations, and international organizations of 170-odd countries and regions. He has been awarded decorations, medals, and honorary titles and presented with gifts even after he had passed away.
The International Kim Il Sung Prize was instituted, over 480 streets, institutions and organizations in more than 100 countries were named after him, and 1 000 Juche idea study groups, including the International Institute of the Juche Idea, are active in 110 countries.
Grand functions in celebration of the centenary of birth of President Kim Il Sung are being held on a worldwide scale.