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North Korea: The Rogue State Essay

1883 words - 8 pages

At 40° N and 127° E there is a country apprehensively referred to as "the Hermit Kingdom". While the rest of the world noisily goes about its affairs, this country lurks quietly. The black sheep in a global network. By the hand of Kim Il-sung and his sons, North Korea has become an nation that struggles with a myriad of issues including the blatant abuse of human rights. However, nations never find themselves in the midst of these problems just out of chance. North Koreas political background has created an environment in which civilians have no idea that the nation they live in is a world apart from anywhere else.
Kim Il Sung's intentions and ideals serve as the foundation of North ...view middle of the document...

Around 1940, Japan would wipe out most of the guerrilla groups and Kim Il Sung and one-hundred and twenty other people would flee to the Soviet Union (Martin 46). This is where Kim Il Sung was prepared to become a leader. In October of 1945 Kim Il Sung gave a speech to the Korean people that had been drafted by Soviet occupation officials (Martin 52). The public regarded him as a "Soviet stooge" and a fake. The people had been expecting an old time-worn war veteran, however at this time Kim Il Sung was thirty-three and fresh-faced (Martin 53). In hopes to change the public's mind, the Soviets created a large propaganda campaign in order to convince people that Kim Il Sung was a virtuous young war-hero who will give "everlasting prosperity to the people". In February 1946 Kim Il Sung became chairman of the Interim People's Committee and remained in the most powerful position in North Korea until his death in 1994 (Martin 56).

In between the years of his presidency, Kim Il-sung formed a centralized socialist country that was founded on the ideology of juche. Juche is an ideology of Kim Il-sungs own development that takes communist principles and intermingles it with nationalism so that civilians will feel attached to their country and its leaders. In his own words, Kim Il-sung defined juche as:
...being the master of revolution and reconstruction in one's own country. This means holding fast to an independent position, rejecting dependence on others, using one's own brains, believing in one's own strength, displaying the revolutionary spirit of self- reliance, and thus solving one's own problems for oneself on one's own responsibility under all circumstances. (Sung qtd. in Lee 1)
This ideology is the basis on which the entire society runs. It creates an environment in which the isolation of North Korea is justified by stressing the importance of avoiding "flunkeyism"(sadejuui) which is contemporarily defined as sub-ordinance to a foreign power (Savada 49). In the 1970's Kim Jong-il even elected that his father's ideology should be renamed to Kim Il-sung chuui which literally means Kim Il-sungism. North Koreans believe that it is the ultimate system of thought (Savada 69). Another important element of juche is a person's self-sacrifice to, not his or her family, but to the revolution and the great leader. By having a "revolutionary spirit" juche says that anyone can accomplish whatever they want to. Because of its prominence, juche has almost taken over as the primary religion in North Korea (Savada 70). It is easy to observe then, that juche is almost a sort of religious model and in that fashion it has installed a mentality that has taken over the minds of people in North Korea.
In order to better grasp the style of Kim Il-sung's leadership, it helps to think of past communist leaders such as Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. The things all of these leaders have in common is what is referred to in sociology as " a cult of personality". A...

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