Kim Il-sung
Historical Figure
Nationality: North Korea (born in Japanese Korea)
Date of Birth: 1912
Date of Death: 1994
Cause of Death: Myocardial infarction
Religion: Atheist, formerly Presbyterian
Occupation: Soldier, Politician
Spouse: Kim Jong-suk (died 1949)
Kim Song-ae
Children: Kim Jong-il
Kim Man-il
Kim Kyong-hui
Kim Kyong-jin
Kim Pyong-il
Kim Yong-il
Relatives: Kim Jong-un (grandson)
Military Branch: Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, Red Army (World War II)
Political Party: Workers’ Party of Korea
Political Office(s): Prime Minister of North Korea,
President of North Korea
Turtledove Appearances:
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Throughout
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Novel only
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Political Office(s): Leader (title unknown) of Korea
Kim Il-sung (born Kim Sŏng-ju; 15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994) was the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea, for 46 years, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death. He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea from 1949 to 1994 (titled as chairman from 1949 to 1966 and as general secretary after 1966). He authorized the invasion of South Korea in 1950, triggering the Korean War. A ceasefire was signed on 27 July 1953.

His tenure as leader of North Korea was autocratic. Inspired by Joseph Stalin's example, he established an all-pervasive cult of personality around himself. From the mid-1960s, he promoted his Juche variant of communism, which gradually replaced the Marxist and Leninist versions as the ideology of the state.

His son Kim Jong-il became his formal successor at the 6th WPK Congress, and succeeded him in 1994. The North Korean government refers to Kim Il-sung as "The Great Leader" (위대한 수령, widaehan suryŏng) and he is designated in the North Korean constitution as the country's "Eternal President". His birthday is a public holiday in North Korea and is called the "Day of the Sun".

Kim Il-sung in The Hot WarEdit

Kim Il-Sung's decision to invade South Korea in 1950 became the catalyst for World War III. While North Korean forces managed to drive far into South Korean territory in its initial surprise attack, UN forces, under the command of U.S. general Douglas MacArthur, had succeeded in pushing the North Koreans back, and had even driven up towards the Chinese border.[1] However, in November, 1950, Chinese troops cross the Yalu River and came to Kim's aid. In late November, the Chinese forces thoroughly destroyed three divisions of American forces between the Chosin Reservoir and Hungnam, the worst defeat American forces had seen since the Battle of Bataan during World War II.[2]

In response, the United States used atomic weapons in Manchuria on January, 1951.[3] The Soviet Union, China and North Korea's ally, attacked Britain, France, and West Germany, and in short order, World War III was underway.[4]

With China's help, Kim's forces were able to move south again. In April 1951, the U.S. launched a substantial bombing raid on Kim's capital, Pyongyang, in an effort to kill Kim himself.[5]

After those events, the war quieted down until May,[6] when the melting snow led to an the beginnings of another push by Kim's forces and those of his allies. NATO's efforts were hobbled by the long logistics chain between Korea and the U.S. after the attacks on the U.S. west coast, and the Panama and Suez Canals.[7] While many hoped that the U.S. atomic attacks on Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk would slow down supply lines to the Chinese and North Korean armies, others had doubts.[8]

The lines stalemated south of Chongju, with the Americans and the Chinese intermittently taking shots at one another throughout June and July, 1951.[9] This was broken when the Soviets dropped atom bombs on Pusan and Chongju in South Korea in August,[10] Chinese and North Korean troops poured through the hole the Soviet's had created,[11] driving UN troops south to Kaeryong,[12] where their stubborn resistance stabilized the lines once gain.[13] Soon, the situation for the U.S. sufficiently deteriorated such that the U.S. Army recruited South Korean soldiers to fill out the lines.[14] While the line had stabilized again with the arrival of winter,[15] with the spring thaw, the Reds advanced and successfully took Kaeryeong in April 1952, and UN forces set up a new line just south of the town.[16]

Kim Il-sung in Joe SteeleEdit

Kim Il-Sung was made ruler of the former Japanese colony of Chosen by Leon Trotsky's Soviet Union, although in truth, Kim's Democratic People's Republic of Korea was no more independent than Father Tiso's Slovakia had been under the Nazis during World War II. [17]


  1. Bombs Away, see, eg., pg. 7, ebook.
  2. Ibid, pg. 5, ebook.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 55-57.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 65-70.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 283-287.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 311-315.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 357-360.
  8. Ibid., pg. 382.
  9. Fallout, loc. 197-268.
  10. Ibid., loc. 2152-2213.
  11. Ibid., loc. 2302.
  12. Ibid., loc. 2503.
  13. Ibid., loc. 2562.
  14. Ibid., loc. 3371-3422.
  15. Ibid., loc. 5157-5231.
  16. Ibid., loc. 5535.
  17. Joe Steele, pg. 314.