Kim Il Sung, 1912
, was the chief of state and supreme political leader of North Korea
from its founding in 1948
until his death in 1994
Trained by the Soviets, Kim was a guerrilla leader in the fight against the Japanese occupation forces in Korea in the 1930s. When World War II ended in 1945, the Soviets set him up as chairmain of the People’s Committee of North Korea (later the Korean Workers Party). In 1948, when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was founded, Kim became it's first premier.
Kim's obsession with reuniting Korea under his own communist rule led to the Korean War when his Soviet-supplied army crossed the 38th parallel in June 25, 1950. As supreme leader of North Korea for nearly 50 years, Kim's policies set the tone of paranoid isolationism, repression, and ill-concieved economic policy that still predominate in the nation to this day.
Upon his death, Kim was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il.