April 15, 2021

The True Identity of the North Korean Dictator, Hidden Behind the Mask of “Great Leader”

On the occasion of North Korea’s First Dictator Kim Il-sung’s birthday, April 15, 2021

By Kim Myong
Edited by Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK Executive Director

Today marks the 109th birthday of the late dictator Kim Il-sung, revered in North Korea as the “Great Leader” and “Founder” of the country.[1] Whether they dislike him or not, the North Koreans are forced to celebrate Kim Il-sung's birthday as the "Day of the Sun," even after he died at the age of 82 in July 1994.

Kim Il-sung was a tyrannical despot who ruled the northern half of the Korean peninsula for nearly five decades after liberation from Japanese imperial rule to leave his country and people in unendurable agony. Despite this infamous stigma associated with his name, the North Korean propaganda outfits keep saying: “On April 15, 1912, the Great Sun of Juche made an appearance in the universe, enabling Korea to enlighten the whole world, and bringing changes of the century to this land, which had been characterized only by backwardness and poverty.” They inspire a cult of personality of the Great Leader in the hearts of the North Korean people, encouraging them to live with “honor and pride” as citizens of “the glorious Kim Il-sung’s homeland that shines in his name and personal achievements.”

When Korea was liberated, in the wake of World War II, from the 35-year-long colonial rule by Japan, Kim Il-sung returned home, wearing a double mask of “national hero” and “liberator.” In reality, he was a Soviet-backed agent who had been influenced and tamed for Stalin.[2] Enjoying the full support of the Soviet Union,[3] he proceeded with the establishment of a communist regime in North Korea. In June 1950, he invaded South Korea in order to reunify by force the entire peninsula under communism. Due to his reckless belligerence, the Korean people in the South and the North were victimized by the tragedy of a fratricidal war (1950­–1953), which resulted in the loss of millions of lives and the demolition of the fragile economic infrastructure. In the postwar period, Kim Il-sung continued to build his own style of communist dictatorship in North Korea and enslaved his people, who faithfully supported him and the Korean Workers’ Party, an apparatus for realizing the Kim family’s dictatorship. In addition, he opted for a national development strategy giving priority to military buildup over the civilian economy. The end results of his long-lasting politics were economic failure, poverty, and widespread hunger.

After living for a long time as a slave of the Kim family in North Korea, I have finally resettled in the Free World with a fresh mind open towards the world. When I was younger, I used to think: “What if the North Korean army that went down to the line of the Nakdong River during the Korean War had not retreated, but instead, continued fighting and won the war?” And I was inclined to answer: “If so, we would be living a happy life in a paradise built on the reunified land.” That is because I accepted the poverty and misery I was living under as an unavoidable consequence of the national division, and not as the result of mismanagement by the Kim family. Even today, some of my fellow countrymen in the North are reasoning in the same way that I did long ago and continue to obey the authority and power of the Kim dynasty. By unveiling the truth of Kim Il-sung’s identity, hidden behind his mask of “Great Leader,” I want to help them avoid these logical fallacies.

Kim Il-sung was not the Liberator of Korea

Many North Koreans, who are fooled by the regime’s propaganda, continue to believe that Kim Il-sung was the “liberator” of the country. I was one of them before my exposure to the outside world.

The North Korean authorities tell the people that Kim Il-sung initiated the Korean revolution in 1926 by founding the Down-with-Imperialism Union in Huadian, Jilin province, China, and that he led for 20 years the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle for victory by engaging in numerous fierce fights on Mt. Baekdu to accomplish the historical feat of national liberation. Without his armed struggle, Korea would still remain a Japanese colony, and the Koreans would not have escaped the fate of colonized people.

According to North Korean education on Kim Il-sung’s “history of revolutionary activities,” he convened a conference of Korean military leaders in Xiaohaerbaling, China in August 1940, where he put forward new strategic guidelines that the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (KOPRA) should be prepared proactively for the great event of national liberation. Later, in order to preserve and accumulate the force of the KOPRA, he switched over from large-unit operations and movement to small-unit operations, and established multiple secret camps on Mt. Baekdu, from where he issued guidance over the anti-Japanese struggle inside and outside of Korea. When the defeat of Japan drew to a close in August 1945, Kim Il-sung issued an order to launch a final offensive for the liberation of the country, upon which KOPRA started the military operation to defeat Japan and liberated Korea.[4]

North Korea is reluctant to reveal the historical facts surrounding Kim Il-sung’s life from the early 1940s until August 1945. Only a few facts have been presented in a processed format in his autobiographical memoirs, “With the Century,” that covered, partially and from his own perspective, what his life was like in the Far East after the 1940 Xiaohaerbaling conference.[5]

In fact, it was known that Kim Il-sung had been exiled to the Soviet Union’s Far East region in November 1940 to escape the large-scale “punitive” military operations of the Japanese Kwantung Army, and stayed there for five years until Korea was liberated. During this time, he was admitted into the 88th Special Brigade founded by the Soviet Union with a mix of Chinese and Korean guerillas, and received special military training, including Russian-language courses and parachute jumps.[6] However, in his memoirs, Kim Il-sung skipped all the details unfavorable to forging his “glorious” image and wrote that the 88th Special Brigade itself had been established on his own initiative in preparation for Korean liberation. On the other hand, history recorded that there existed several people by the name of Kim Il-sung, who participated in the anti-Japanese independence movement in the 1930s and 1940s, and it turns out that the North Korean leader pasted other Kims’ military achievements into his own biography, which explains how North Korea’s history education on Kim Il-sung’s anti-Japanese armed struggle was actually fabricated.[7] Above all, Kim Il-sung and his guerilla units did not participate in the final offensive for the liberation of the country.

Before the defeat of Nazi Germany, the leaders of the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union gathered in Yalta in February 1945 to discuss the post-WWII issues, including the management of the soon-to-be defeated Nazi Germany. At this meeting, they agreed, among other things, that the Soviet Union would be engaged in defeating Japan after the surrender of Nazi Germany. Consequently, the Soviet forces participated in the Pacific War against Japan in mid-August 1945, advancing from the northern border of Korea and contributing to Japan’s surrender. They occupied the area north of the 38th parallel on the Korean Peninsula to help the North Korean dictator build a communist regime.

Contrary to historical facts, the North Korean propaganda still supports Kim Il-sung’s claim that his guerilla units played a leading role in the liberation of the country, while the Soviet army played only a “secondary” role. In this way, North Korea has made Kim Il-sung the “Savior of the Nation,” who liberated and saved the Korean people from Japanese oppression and occupation, as part of their effort to instill the cult of personality for the Great Leader.

Since the Kim Il-sung era, the governments of the Soviet Union and North Korea have exchanged congratulatory messages on Korean Independence Day, August 15. The North Korean authorities were often reluctant to get the full text of the Soviet message translated into Korean for their population when it contained a sentence saying that “Korea was liberated by the sons and daughters of the great Soviet Union.”

The Korean Liberation Monument, on Moran Hill in Pyongyang, to which limited access was given to a few people, was engraved with the following words on its front and rear walls, depicting a sharp contrast with North Korea’s claim that Kim Il-sung was the liberator of the country:[8]

Front: “The great Soviet people defeated Japanese imperialism and liberated the Korean people. Thanks to their blood shed for Korean liberation, friendship between the Korean and Soviet peoples has ever been strengthened. This Monument has been built to express the appreciation of the whole Korean people. On August 15, 1945.” 

Rear: “Glory to the Great Soviet Army who liberated the Korean people from the Japanese militarists’ occupation and opened the way to freedom and independence. On August 15, 1945.”

These words, prepared for the Soviet people when the monument was erected, tell us how hypocritical the North Korean regime was in forging its Great Leader’s history.

Being so naïve and innocent as to only believe the North Korean propaganda, I thought that these words reflected the vain pretension of the Soviet chauvinists who consider themselves liberators of Korea. Today, when I come to know the truth of history, these words give me a feeling of great disappointment and disgust for the Soviet Union, which converted the northern half of the Korean Peninsula into a field of confrontation between communism and capitalism, and manipulated Kim Il-sung as their puppet to keep North Koreans from entering the path of free and democratic development.

Kim Il-sung Destroyed Democracy in the Korean Workers' Party

In any society, a political party is an organization in which people gather with the same interests or political opinions and to achieve a set of common goals. There may be variation in the methods of achieving a party’s goals. Democracy allows all members of the party to freely express their ideas to contribute to developing and adopting a common political platform. It is inevitable during this process that multiple factions break into smaller groups within the party. As a form of political democracy, the existence of factions should be allowed and their free activities should be respected. This is particularly true in the case of North Korea, which is a one-party state.

Competition among the factions may give rise to some unwanted results, such as mismanagement of the party, inefficiency, and excessive political disputes.[9] However, like a multi-party system that positively impacts the building of democracy and political stability, competition among the factions, if properly managed, may contribute to strengthening of democracy within the party, fostering political elites and encouraging the diversity of policy options. The factions may ultimately expand the party's public support, strengthen its legitimacy, and amplify the likelihood of its adaptation to the existing political environment.[10]

Since the Korean Workers' Party (KWP) was founded through the merger of several pre-existing political parties, there were multiple factions inside the party. This was a natural phenomenon, which provided a good opportunity for it to be developed democratically under the mutual control and influence of those various factions.

The KWP originated from the North Korean Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea,[11] founded in October 1945 and renamed the Communist Party of North Korea (CPNK) in 1946, which became the Workers’ Party of North Korea as a result of the merger of the CPNK with the New People’s Party of Korea. Finally, the current KWP was established in June 1949 when the Workers’ Party of North Korea merged again with the Workers’ Party of South Korea.[12]

Consequently, when the KWP took shape by the end of 1949, there already existed four competing and mutually reinforcing factions in the party—namely, the Guerilla faction led by Kim Il-sung, the Soviet Koreans’ faction led by Ho Ka-i, the Chinese Yanan faction led by Mu Chong, and the Workers’ Party of South Korea faction led by Pak Hon-yong. In the 1960s, the new Kapsan faction led by Pak Kum-chol separated from the Guerilla faction.[13]

For Kim Il-sung, who had earlier planned to take full control of the KWP, the other factions were a thorn in his side that he would have to eliminate as soon as possible. He waited until he could justify his action. From the early 1950s, when the Korean War broke out, to the mid-1960s, he purged and eliminated, one by one, all the leaders and elite members of the other factions, by holding them accountable for failures of the party and state affairs or for making a failed attempt to overthrow him. By the late 1960s, he succeeded in establishing his unique leadership in the KWP (see Box 1).

Box 1: Purges of the factions inside the Korean Workers’ Party, from the 1950s to the 1960s

1. Workers’ Party of South Korea faction:
Unlike other factions that received support from China or the Soviet Union, the Workers’ Party of South Korea faction had no external sponsor and was therefore in the weakest position. Before the end of the Korean War, leaders of the faction, Pak Hon-yong and Yi Sung-yop were arrested and removed from power, charged for spying for the United States and planning a coup against Kim Il-sung. Along with some other members of the faction, they were sentenced to death and executed after the war, while others were sent to forced labor camps. The faction was virtually wiped out in North Korea.

2. Soviet Korean faction: During the Korean War, Kim Il-sung drove from power Alexei Ivanovich Hegai (also known as Ho Ka-i), leader of the Soviet Koreans faction, whom he considered a potential rival, for the delayed repair of a water reservoir. He got rid of him through an alleged “suicide” in 1953. When Pak Chang-ok and other Soviet Koreans challenged his leadership in cooperation with the Yanan faction in 1956, Kim Il-sung convened a plenary session of the KWP in August to expel them from their positions in the Party. The Soviet Korean faction was disbanded and most of the members returned to the Soviet Union.

3. Chinese Yanan faction: Kim Il-sung attacked the leadership of the Yanan faction during the Korean War when he was driven to the Chinese border. He blamed Mu Chong, a leader of the Yanan faction, for the failure of the military operations and expelled him and other military leaders, including Pak Il-u, minister of the interior and personal representative of Mao Zedong, from the KWP. In August 1956, when Choe Chang-il and other leading members of the Yanan faction devised a plan to attack Kim Il-sung, he accused them of being “anti-Party and anti-revolutionary factionalists” and dismissed them from the KWP and their positions. Several leaders fled to China to escape the purges, and Kim Tu-bong, a leader of the faction and nominal head of state, not directly involved in the “August incident,” was ultimately purged in 1958, accused of being the “mastermind” of the plot. He disappeared after removal from power. In the same year, the Yanan faction ceased to exist.

4. Domestic Kapsan faction: During the second conference of the KWP in 1966, members of the Kapsan faction sought to introduce economic reforms, challenge Kim Il-sung’s cult of personality, and appoint their leader Pak Kum-chol as his successor. Kim Il-sung cracked down on the faction in a series of speeches made at party meetings. At a plenum of the KWP in April 1967, he completed the purges of all members of the Kapsan faction, accusing them for poisoning the Party with bourgeois ideology, revisionism and the feudal Confucian ideas. They were executed or sent to political prison camps. By eliminating the last faction that challenged his leadership, Kim Il-sung succeeded in establishing a one-man rule inside the KWP by the end of 1960s.[14]

Today, North Korea has become a one-party state in which the KWP dominates everything.[15] Like his predecessors, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un decides on all the policies issued by the KWP. Democracy exists only on paper. A totalitarian rule has been established inside the KWP where all the party members have no right to be heard, but have the obligation to obey the instructions of the dictator and his policies.

Truth Behind Kim Il-sung’s Legacy on Denuclearization

In the 21st century, North Korea's nuclear weapons program poses tremendous challenges to the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia, and the rest of the world, undermining the foundation of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The development of nuclear technology by this country goes back to the Kim Il-sung era, as early as the mid-1950s, immediately after the Korean War ended. The initial effort to lay the foundation of a national nuclear energy program was covered under layers of “peaceful” purposes as they required technological assistance from nuclear powers, the Soviet Union in particular (see Annex I). Passing through Kim Jong-il’s rule, and in the era of the current dictator Kim Jong-un, North Korea no longer hides its intention to weaponize nuclear technology.

It is no exaggeration to say that the country’s ultimate goal is to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), like India and Pakistan, by possessing as many sophisticated nuclear weapons and various types of vehicles capable of carrying and delivering nuclear warheads as possible.

As the Free World was never ready to accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, Pyongyang declared that denuclearization had been the will of the late Kim Il-sung and claimed that their nuclear development program had been the result of the external environment, such as the United States’ “hostile policy” toward North Korea. Kim Jong-un himself, has not forgotten to recall the same formula in front of a high-level South Korean delegation that visited Pyongyang in March 2018 as well as when he paid his long-awaited first “courtesy call” to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the same month.[16] Fooled by Kim’s rhetoric, the current South Korean government wanted to grant indulgence to the North Korean dictator, who had fanatically tested fired nuclear missiles until the previous year, by advertising loudly that he had clearly shown his “intention” to denuclearize the country.

In fact, Kim Il-sung’s legacy on denuclearization, which no one believes anymore even inside North Korea, was invented in the mid-1990s when US-North Korea bilateral negotiations were underway amid tensions over the country’s suspected nuclear development program. Since then, North Korea has been consistently referring to this rhetoric to mislead the international community, even when they carried out a series of nuclear tests.

Of course, by now, everyone can understand that Kim Il-sung wanted nuclear weapons. If Kim Il-sung had ever affirmed, while he was alive, that he wished his country to remain nuclear-free forever, this “teaching” by the Great Leader would have been upheld and implemented without condition. And if North Korea developed nuclear weapons by overlooking his will, this should have been regarded as evidence of contempt and disloyalty to the Great Leader.

Historically, the “Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” had already been adopted by the two Koreas and entered into force in 1992. This was followed by the confirmed withdrawal of all U.S. tactical nuclear weapons deployed in South Korea. Kim Il-sung knew about this before he died in 1994.

As described above, Kim Il-sung took the initiative of nuclear development in the mid-1950s and consistently pursued the program over the years as an important project of his government. As such, there would be a logical contradiction in the claim that he made a sudden U-turn towards a nuclear-free North Korea before he died. Moreover, given North Korea’s continued progress in its nuclear program in the post-Kim Il-sung era, and its inclination to use the particular terminology of “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” over “denuclearization of North Korea,” it would be more realistic to assume that Kim Il-sung had never wanted his country to be free of nuclear weapons. Instead, Kim Il-sung might have wished for North Korea to continue to develop nuclear weapons to bargain with the United States for its “wish list items”—e.g., lifting of economic sanctions, provision of security guarantees for North Korea, removal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella for South Korea, or the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea.

If Kim Jong-un had again brought up the outdated argument—an argument already dismantled by the international community almost three decades ago, when he made his debut on the international diplomacy stage in 2018—it would have shown that he was under tremendous pressure by the economic sanctions against North Korea.

Kim Jong-un is still hoping to preserve his nuclear weapons as a way of safeguarding the survival of his regime and family, and to forever maintain his family’s dictatorship. As long as the Kim family is sitting on the throne in North Korea, the prospects of its denuclearization seem uncertain and out-of-reach. Nevertheless, an alternative, reasonable way of achieving denuclearization peacefully would be to keep ramping up maximum pressure on North Korea through concerted actions of the international community, including China and Russia, until the day that Kim Jong-un decides to give up all of his nuclear weapons and nuclear program. And this day will come when he admits that his regime can longer survive with nuclear weapons because it will be on the brink of collapse when the costs of nuclear development outweigh the gains resulting from the possession of such nuclear weapons (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Modeling of North Korea's denuclearization based on cost-benefit analysis

The critical moment when Kim Jong-un decides to give up his nuclear weapons will come when the cost of nuclear development are higher than the benefits obtained by possessing nuclear weapons, that is, when the cost-benefit ratio R > 1.0.

Source: Developed by the author.

Explanatory notes:

R = Y1/Y2
Y1 = A + B + C + D + E

R: Cost-benefit ratio

Y1: Total costs of nuclear development

A: Military expenses

B: Economic losses caused by the sanctions

C: Opportunity cost associated with economic development by giving up nuclear weapons

D: Social unrest associated with popular grievances due to economic hardship

E: International isolation

Y2: Total benefits associated with safeguarding of the regime ensuring permanent and hereditary ruling by the Kim family (the value of benefits is considered to be constant)


Yi Sang-hwa,[17] in his poem written in 1926 “Does Spring Come to These Stolen Fields?”[18] deplored his status as a slave living in the country colonized by Japan. Even seven and a half decades after Korean independence, the North Korean people have not encountered a genuine spring of democracy. They still live under the dictatorial rule of the Kim family that passed over three generations starting with Kim Il-sung.

On the contrary, their compatriots in the South, who overturned the decades-long dictatorship of military juntas by paying a high price through their democracy movements, enjoy the warmth of democracy and many democratic springs. Along with other people of the Free World, they sincerely wish that their parents and siblings in the North could enjoy genuine freedoms and rights as human beings, freed from the Kim family’s dictatorship.

A spring of democracy never comes as an accident of history. In North Korea, it can only be witnessed when the North Korean people, awakened and united, courageously initiate and carry out a struggle against the tyranny of the Kim Jong-un regime. They would have to be inspired by and learn from democracy movements in other countries, especially the ongoing protests of the people in Myanmar who risk their lives to restore fragile democracy sabotaged by the military that denied the results of the 2020 general election.

In order to accelerate the day when a spring of democracy blossoms over the North Korean territory, the international community should send more information to the North Korean people, awakening them to the true faces of the Kim family and their regime, and actively support their struggle to understand and put an end to their dictatorship.

Annex I: Timeline of nuclear development in the Kim Il-Sung era, from the mid-1950s to the 1980s

Feb. 5, 1955 - North Korea and the Soviet Union sign a 5-year agreement on S&T cooperation, including in the field of atomic energy.

Mar. 1955 - The North Korean Academy of Sciences decides at its second conference to establish a research institute on atomic and nuclear physics.

Jul. 1, 1955 - In his speech at Kim Il-sung University, Kim Il-sung urges the beginning of nuclear research. Following his speech, a section on nuclear physics is set up under the Faculty of Physics.

1956 - A nuclear physics lab is opened at the Institute of Mathematics and Physics under the Academy of Sciences.

Mar. 1956 - More than 30 scientists are sent to the United Institute for Nuclear Research (UINR) in Dubna, Soviet Union.

Mar. 26, 1956 – North Korea participates as a founding member of the UINR.

Jan. 1958 - The Soviet Union supports the construction of a nuclear training center near Kilju, North Hamgyong Province.

Apr. 1958 – North Korea, through its Ambassador in Moscow, requests the Soviet Union’s assistance in nuclear development for “peaceful” use.

Sep. 1959 – North Korea and the Soviet Union sign an agreement on the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy.

1961 – North Korea establishes the National Atomic Energy Commission.

Nov. 1962 – An atomic energy research institute is established at Yongbyon, North Pyongan Province.

1963 – North Korea starts construction of a pilot atomic reactor 2MWt IRT-2000, completed by the end of 1965. It proceeds with construction of other facilities – e.g. lab of radioactive chemistry and isotope production, K-60000 cobalt equipment, B-25 Betatron, UDS-10 decontamination drains, waste storage, special laundry, and boiler plants that generate 40 tons of steam per hour.

Each year, about 200 nuclear-related researchers are sent to Dubna-based UINR to learn nuclear technology.

1970s - While expanding the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, North Korea focuses on the development of radioactive technology.

1974 – North Korea joins the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the acquisition of advanced nuclear technology.

Late 1970s – North Korea conducts exploration of uranium mines across the country.

1980-1986 - North Korea constructs a 5MW pilot reactor in Yongbyon.

1985 – North Korea begins construction of a radiochemistry lab to extract plutonium from waste fuel rods for nuclear weapons.

From early 1980s to 1990 – North Korea conducts 73 nuclear detonator tests to develop nuclear explosive devices, as part of the preparation for nuclear weapons production.

Dec. 12, 1985 – North Korea joins the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and informs the IAEA of the existence of the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

1989 – The international community suspects North Korea’s nuclear development for military purposes, based on the intelligence released by the satellite images.

Source: Kim Bo-mi (2019). From beginning to development of North Korea’s nuclear program: around the 1950s and 1960s. Research of unification policies (Vol.28-1). pp 183-208; Ku Bon-hak (2015). Evolution of North Korea’s nuclear issues and alternative solutions. Research of unification policies (Vol.24-2). pp 1-31.



[1] Kim Il-sung, whose original name at his birth was Kim Song-ju, is known to have been born on April 15, 1912. He was the eldest son of Kim Hyong-jik (father) and Kang Ban-sok (mother) in Mangyongdae, Pyongyang.

[2] Kim Il-sung landed at the port city of Wonsan from a Soviet warship on September 19, 1945. Prior to his repatriation, he consulted with Soviet party and military leaders about his post-repatriation plan in order to get it approved by them. Source: Shindonga library at: https://shindonga.donga.com/Library/3/05/13/2265440/1 .

[3] The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR, was a federal socialist country that existed until 1991. It was a one-party state governed by the Communist Party, with Moscow as its capital. Upon its dissolution, Russia was recognized as its legal successor.

[4] North Korean publication (2007). Father of Songun General Kim Il-sung (Vol.1). Pyongyang Publishing House.

[5] Kim Il-sung (1998). With the Century (Vol.8). Korean Workers’ Party Publishing House. Source: North Korean online media Uriminzokkiri at: http://www.uriminzokkiri.com/index.php?ptype=cheigo&stype=2 .

[6] The 88th Special Brigade belonged to the Ministry of Interior of the Soviet Union for the defense of the Far East, and was commanded by Andrei Romanenko, the Army General of the Soviet Far East Army at the time. After Japan's defeat, Romanenko served as the head of civil affairs management of the Soviet occupation command in Pyongyang. He played a decisive role in recommending Kim Il-sung to Stalin. Source: Shindonga library at: https://shindonga.donga.com/Library/3/05/13/2265440/1 .

[7] In the 1930s, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung was part of China’s Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, and the Battle of Pochonbo, which he claimed to have organized himself, has been known to have been led by another anti-Japanese independence activist by the same name, who died before liberation. Source: Kim Yong-sam (2018). I tell the truth on Kim Il-sung. Mirae Publishing House.

[8] https://ko.wikipedia.org/wiki/해방탑 .

[9] Carl J. Friedrich (1972). The Pathology of Politics. New York: Harper & Row.

[10] Patrick Kollner and Matthias Basedau. German Institute of Global and Area Studies Working Paper, No.12 (2005). Factionalism in Political Parties: An Analytical Framework for Comparative Studies.

[11] The headquarters of the Communist Party of Korea was in Seoul, South Korea.

[12] Source: Encyclopedia of Korean Culture- Korean Workers' Party, at: http://encykorea.aks.ac.kr/#self .

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Workers%27_Party_of_Korea ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapsan_Faction_Incident .

[14] Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Workers%27_Party_of_Korea ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapsan_Faction_Incident .

[15] In North Korea, there are two more political parties—namely, the Social Democratic Party of Korea and the Chondoist Chongu Party. These parties operate under the guidance of the Korean Workers’ Party and are mainly engaged in the affairs with South Korea.

[16] Source: https://www.mk.co.kr/news/politics/view/2018/03/149120/ ; http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/international/china/838001.html .

[17] Yi Sang-hwa (1901–1943) was a Korean nationalist poet active in the resistance to Japanese rule. The details of his life and work can be accessed at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sang-hwa .

[18] The full text of this poem in the original Korean language can be accessed at: https://ko.wikipedia.org/wiki/빼앗긴_들에도_봄은_오는가 .