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Born Apr. 15, 1912, in the village of Manggyongdae, near Pyongyang. A leading figure in the Korean and international communist movements, statesman and political leader of the Korean Democratic People’s Republic (KDPR). The son of a peasant.
Kim Il-sung’s father, Kim Heng Jik, emigrated to northeast China to escape persecution by the Japanese colonial authorities for his revolutionary activity. In 1926, Kim Il-sung, who was then a secondary school student in Kirin, joined the underground communist youth organization and became the head of the revolutionary student movement. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1929 for his revolutionary activity. Freed in 1930, he worked as secretary of the district committee of the Communist Youth in Kirin. He joined the Communist Party in 1931 and in April 1932 organized a Korean partisan unit, which subsequently grew into the Korean National Revolutionary Army. Under Kim Il-sung’s command, this army fought against the Japanese occupation forces in northeast China and northern Korea. Under his leadership the Society for the Restoration of the Fatherland (Choguk Kwangbokhwe) was founded in 1936, laying the groundwork for the formation of a united anti-Japanese front.
After the liberation of Korea (1945), Kim Il-sung was elected first secretary of the North Korean Organizational Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea, which merged in 1946 with the New People’s Party to form the Workers’ Party of North Korea. In February 1946 he was elected president of the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea. From 1946 to 1949 he was chairman of the Central Committee of the United Democratic National Front of North Korea. From February 1947 to September 1948 he also served as chairman of the People’s Committee of North Korea. He was chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the KDPR from September 1948, when the KDPR was formed, until December 1972, when a new constitution was adopted and he was elected president of the republic.
Kim Il-sung has been a deputy to all convocations of the Supreme People’s Assembly. In 1949, when the Workers’ Parties of the North and South merged into a single party, he became the chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). He became general secretary of the WPK Central Committee in October 1966 (when the post of chairman was abolished). Since 1949 he has been a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the United Democratic Fatherland Front of Korea. In 1950 he assumed the office of chairman of the Military Committee of the KDPR, which was reorganized in 1972 into the Defense Committee of the Central People’s Committee of the KDPR. He is supreme commander in chief of the Korean People’s Army. In February 1953 the title marshal of the KDPR was conferred on him; in July of the same year, the title Hero of the KDPR; and in August 1958 the title Hero of Labor of the KDPR. In April 1972, Kim Il-sung was honored for the second time with the title Hero of the KDPR. He was also awarded the Order of Lenin in 1972.
WORKSIzbrannye proizvedeniia, vols. 1–5. Pyongyang, 1970–72.
Izbrannye stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1962.