Korea, then and now.

December 28, 1972 – Kim Il Song, acting Prime Minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea, is elected President of North Korea by the Supreme Peoples’s Assembly .  Kim’s family had moved to Manchuria in the 1920s.  The details of his early life are obscure, in part because Kim would embellish them with fantastic stories.  In 1931 he joined the Communist Party of China and was involved in anti-Japanese activities and eventually escaped to the Soviet Union in 1940 and became a Major in the Soviet Red Army.  After the war he returned to Korea after a 26 year absence and barely able to speak Korean.  He quickly consolidated power in North Korea and in 1950 invaded South Korea with backing from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China.  He would remain in power until his death in 1994.  He was succeeded by his son, Kim Jung IL who would drive the country into isolation and economic ruin.  His bizarre behavior is the stuff of legend,   installing a cult of personality that made him a super human and supreme leader who defied the rest of the world.  While amassing a personal fortune, his country continued to deteriorate as he consolidated power by strengthening the military and toying with nuclear weapons.  He dies suddenly on December 17, 2011 and was succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jung Un.  Little is known of this third generation Kim and why he was chosen by his father to succeed him.

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