Kim Il-Sung
Timeline: 6-2-5 Upheaval

Kim Il-Sung
Portrait of Kim Il-Sung

Prime Minister of North Korea
September 9, 1948- November 1, 1951

Predecessor Office Established
Successor Office Disestablished

Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of North Korea
28 August 1946 – 30 June 1949

Predecessor Office Established
Successor Office Disestablished

Chairman of the North Korea Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea
17 December 1945 – 28 August 1946

Predecessor Kim Yong-bom
Successor Office Disestablished
General Secretary
Born 15 April 1912
Mangyŏngdae, Heian-nandō, Japanese Korea
Died ???
Spouse Kim Jong-suk (Died 1949)
Political Party Workers Party of Korea
Religion Atheist
Profession Politician
Kim Il-Sung (Korean: 김일성) was the Prime Minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 1948 until the DPRK (North Korea) was reunited with the Republic of Korea as a result of the Seoul Treaty, signed in November of 1951.

Kim Il-Sung is notable for initiating the Korean War, called the 6-2-5 Upheaval in Korea, in which his forces managed to defeat the South Koreans under Syngman Rhee, but ended up unable to hold off the UN-backed invasion of his nation.

Early Life

Kim Il-Sung was born to parents Kim Hyŏng-jik and Kang Pan-sŏk, in 1912 in the then-Japanese colony of Korea. According to his own account, he was raised in a lower-middle class family, and was raised Presbyterian.

Resentful of the Japanese occupation, the Kim family moved to Manchuria in 1920, when Kim Il-Sung was only eight years old.

World War II

Prior to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Kim Il-Sung began to be involved in local Communist politics. Kim, whose education was poor, managed to gain enough reputation to secure command over a small company of 160 men, which were under the command of the Communist Party of China, when Manchuria fell to the Japanese.

After being promoted, he led the most successful guerrilla raid of Korean partisans during the war, and the Japanese began to think of him as a threat. In 1940, Kim and his troops fled into the Soviet Union, where he was trained and promoted to Major.

Korean Politics

When Stalin took Korea at the end of the Second World War, he was advised by Lavrentiy Beria to put Kim Il-Sung in charge of the North Korean branch of the Communist Party of Korea.

Kim Il-Sung then established the Korean People's Army, which was aligned with the Communist Party, and was engaged in training former guerrillas in Soviet methods and equipping them with Soviet equipment.

Prime Minister of the DPRK

While the UN had planned to unite Korea through pan-peninsular elections, Kim Il-Sung declared the DPRK in 1948 with heavy Soviet backing. Prior to the Korean War, Kim had united his nation behind himself and Communism, and eliminated most opposition.

Mao-Kim 1954

Kim and Mao (From left)

Korean War

See Main Article: Korean War

Kim Il-Sung prodded both Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin into action, triggering the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950. He made immense gains in the early months, pushing the South Koreans back to Pusan, but the absence of the Soviet Union at the UN led to allied involvement, culminating in MacArthur's amphibious invasion at Inchon. 

Upon intervention by Mao's China, the US retaliated using an atomic bomb upon Teng Sha Ho Military Base, in Liaoning, China. After this, and the subsequent Chinese withdrawal, it was clear that the DPRK would lose the war.

When Chongjin fell to UN forces on June 8, 1950, Il-Sung fled to Vladisvostok, the Soviet Union, where he was received by the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Vyshinsky (Molotov had been fired by Stalin over a personal debate in 1949).

Life in Exile

Kim Il-Sung Portrait

Kim Il-Sung, 1990

From Vladivostok, Kim Il-Sung flew to Moscow, where he was greeted by Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria. Kim Il-Sung was then placed in charge of the approximately 75,000 Communist Korean expatriates who fled to the Soviet Union and the PRC following the war.

These partisans, who were viewed as highly dedicated to the Communist cause were awarded the Heroic Medal of Communism, and then were provided for by the Soviet Union in Manchuria, specifically set up in Shenyang, Liaoning.


Kim died in on July 8, 1994, (at the age of 82) in ????, ????? of complications related to a heart attack.