North Korean Leader Kim Il Sung

Communist Military Leaders of the Korean War

North Korean Leader Kim Il Sung

"The Great Leader of Revolution Comrade Kim Il Sung, born into a revolution family, embarks early upon the Road of Revolution." Kim Il Sung was born into a poor family at Mangyongdae, Pyongyang on April 15, 1912 and by 1930s, he was actively involved in guerrilla warfare against the Japanese invaders. At the end of the decade, the Manchurian guerrillas, Kim Il Sung among them, had survived the Japanese extermination campaigns and escaped to the Soviet far east. Having trained and influenced in Russia, he would return to homeland after the liberation of the peninsula in 1945 and ruled with absolute authority for over forty years until his death in 1994.

Back to North Korean Leader Choices
Chinese Marshal Peng Dehuai with Kim Il Sung (right)

Kim Il Sung, the North Korean political leader, chief of state of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (1948-94) was originally named Kim Sung Chu. While fighting Japanese occupation forces in the 1930s, he adopted the name Kim Il Sung after a famous Korean guerrilla leader of the early 20th cent. He was trained in Moscow before World War II, and in 1945 he became chairman of the Soviet-sponsored People's Committee of North Korea (later the Korean Workers' party). In 1948, when the People's Republic was established, he became its first premier. Between 1950 and 1953 he led his nation in the Korean War. In 1972 he relinquished the premiership but retained his position as North Korea's leader by assuming the presidency under a revised constitution. Under his rule, North Korea increased its military forces, embarked on a program of industrialization, and maintained close relations with both China and the Soviet Union.