Kim Il-sung

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The people are the masters of the revolution in each country.
Man is the master of all things and the decisive factor in everything.

Kim Il-sung (15 April 19128 July 1994) was the founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and its supreme leader until his death. With support from the Soviet Union he developed a state and economy based on Marxist-Leninist principles, but later pursued his own Juche theory of Korean self-reliance. The DPRK refers to him as its "Great Leader" and "Eternal President."


  • My God is none other than the people. Only the popular masses are omniscient and omnipotent and almighty on earth. Therefore my lifetime motto is: "The people are my God."
    • Comment to Cheondoist independence activist Kim In Jin (1936), described in autobiography With the Century (1993)
  • The time has come when we Korean people have to unite our strength to build a new, democratic Korea. People from all strata should display patriotic enthusiasm and turn out to build a new Korea. To contribute posi­tively to the work of building the state, let those with strength give strength, let those with knowledge give knowledge, let those with money give money, and let all people who truly love their country, their nation and democ­racy unite closely and build an independent and sovereign democratic state.
    • Victory speech in Pyongyang (14 October 1945)
  • What is Juche [the subject] in our Party's ideological work? What are we doing? We are not engaged in any other country's revolution, but precisely in the Korean revolution. This, the Korean revolution, constitutes Juche in the ideological work of our Party. Therefore, all ideological work must be subordinated to the interests of the Korean revolution.
  • In a nutshell, the idea of Juche means that the masters of the revolution and the work of construction are the masses of the people and that they are also the motive force of the revolution and the work of construction. In other words, one is responsible for one's own destiny and one has also the capacity for hewing out one's own destiny.
    • Mainichi Shimbun (17 September 1972) "On Some Problems of Our Party's Juche Idea and the Government of the Republic's Internal and External Policies"
  • While there are still imperialist aggressors, the state that has no defense power of its own to protect its sovereignty against the internal and external enemies is, in fact, not a fully independent and sovereign state.
    • Mainichi Shimbun (17 September 1972)
  • The people are the masters of the revolution in each country. It is like putting a cart before the horse that foreigners carry out the revolution for them. The revolution can neither be exported nor imported.
    • Quoted in Kim Il Sung, Master of Leadership (1976) by Takagi Takeo
  • The basis of the Juche Idea is that man is the master of all things and the decisive factor in everything.
    • On Juche in Our Revolution vol. 2 (1977)
  • Engels once called the British army the most brutal army. During the Second World War, the German fascist army surpassed the barbarism of the British army. No human brain could ever imagine more diabolic and terrible cruelty then those done by the Hitler gangsters at that time. But in Korea, the Americans have far exceed the Hitlerites!
    • Kim Il-sung to the Swedish communist leader Frank Baude in 1993. Quote and translated fr Mot strömmen, pg. 186: "Engels kallade en gång den brittiska armén den mest brutala armén. Under andra världskriget överträffade den tyska fascistarmén brittiska armén i barbari. Ingen mänsklig hjärna kunde någonsin föreställa sig mer djävulska och förfärliga grymheter än dem som begicks av Hitler-skurkarna vid den tiden. Men i Korea har amerikanerna långt mer överträffat hitleristerna."

Quotes about Kim Il-sung[edit]

  • To a certain extent, all dictatorships are alike. From Stalin's Soviet Union to Mao's China, from Ceauşescu's Romania to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, all these regimes had the same trappings … But Kim Il-sung took the cult of personality to a new level. What distinguished him in the rogues' gallery of twentieth-century dictators was his ability to harness the power of faith. Kim Il-sung understood the power of religion.
  • Stalin and Kim made human idols of themselves because they believed - as utopian idealists always do - in the ultimate goodness of themselves and the unchallengeable rightness of their decisions. There was no higher power and so there could be no higher law. If people disagreed with them, it was because those people were in some way defective- insane, malignant, or mercenary. They could not tolerate actual religion because they could not tolerate any rival authority or any rival source - or judge - of goodness, rectitude and justice.
  • Kim Il Sung not only presided over the birth of a new nation in an old land, he was inextricably bound to the fate of North Korea. Perhaps to a greater degree than any other modern political leader, he may be seen as the full embodiment of the state. Indeed, Kim was more integral to state and society in North Korea than Stalin in the Soviet Union, or Mao in China.
    • G. Cameron Hurst III's foreward to Won Tai Sohn's Kim Il Sung and Korea's struggle: an unconventional firsthand history McFarland, 2003, ISBN 0786415894

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