There is little known about the true inside of North Korea, but what we do know is that yields a powerful dictatorship across its people. This dictatorship all began less than 100 years ago and has a very short history. A brief description of Korea’s history, from History. com, shows how the country split into two completely different countries: Japan annexed the Korean peninsula in 1910, and the country spent the next 35 years under Japanese military rule.
With Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945, American troops landed in the southern part of the peninsula, while Soviet troops secured the area north of latitude 38? N (or the 38th parallel). In this way, communism took firm hold in the north, culminating in the emergence of Kim Il-Sung, who in 1948 would become the first premier of the newly established Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. (Pruitt) The communistic reign on Korea can be traced back through one family, the Kim family. Kim Il-Sung was appointed by the Soviet leader of Russian in 1948 and served as North Korea’s dictator for almost 50 years until he died in 1994.
Kim Il-Sung was worshipped like a god in North Korea and even referred to as “Great Leader, Heavenly Leader and even the Sun” (Pruitt). The love and respect that Kim Il-Sung received, was immediately transferred to Kim Jong-Il when he came to power in 1994. Kim Jong-Il’s reign was one that scared the whole world and involved much terror and abuse of power towards many countries and towards the whole North Korean population. Throughout the rest of this essay I will refer to Kim Jong-Il as Kim and anyone else by their full name.
Kim was more than a dictator of North Korea but a tyrant of the world and with use of his power he abused the use of nuclear weapons, worker camps and deprived his country of food and medical attention. Kim was Korea’s idol and though upon as highly as God to Americans, Allah to Muslims and Buddha to Buddhists. It was well known that Kim loved the power and attention, which is why there was reason to believe his research and experimentation of nuclear weapons was not only become a more powerful country but also a strive for attention. Nuclear tests began around World War II and were then experimented by all countries with advanced militaries.
The Soviet Union, being a communist country, helped North Korea with nuclear experimentation and advanced them far enough to allow them to conduct their own experiments. Allowing North Korea to have the ability to create such disaster and or even another World War is like giving a kid matches or a gun. During World War II America drop two nuclear bombs on cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to Visual News “15 kiloton Little Boy and 21 kiloton Fat Man” the two bombs the Americans used, “The two Japanese cities were leveled in seconds, killing hundreds of thousands from the initial blast and later radiation poisoning” (Starr).
These nuclear weapons posses such powers that’s could demolish cities and states in the matter of seconds and they cannot be contained when detonated. Weapons like these are dangerous and poses threats to countries everywhere when having this much power. Americans displayed the power of nuclear weapons in World War II and demonstrated the raw damage that it could create. Russia, who was in support of communist North Korea after the world war, sought to create weapons with more power than Americans and succeeded. The Russians created something more massive than anyone could have though.
Benjamin Starr explains the true power the Russians possessed: The pinnacle of nuclear bomb development came with the aptly named Tsar Bomba, which the Russians nicknamed the Kuz’kina Mat (roughly translating to “we will show you”). The behemoth bomb tipped the explosive scales at a frightening 50,000 kilotons — 3,333 times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. When the weapon was released over Russia on October 30th 1960, it produced a mushroom cloud 40 miles high, or almost 8 times the height of Mt. Everest. The resulting fireball would have produced third degree burns 62 miles away and it even broke windows in Finland and Norway. Starr)
This display of nuclear power by the Russians, in 1960, proves the true power of what the North Koreans could have achieved by now. With Kim’s power and technology available to him, it would not be surprise that Korea has already accessed weapons of this power. Would anyone want this type of physical power to be in the hands of someone who is a tyrant/dictator? It is scary to think that 1-ton of TNT, which is a powerful explosive device, is only 1/1000 of a kiloton. The “Little Boy” (Starr) and “Fat Man” (Starr) were equal to 36 kiloton, while the “Tzar Bomba” (Starr) weighed in at 50,000 kilotons.
Kim could poses nuclear weapons of this degree hidden in North Korea underground. If North Korea detonated nuclear weapons there is no doubt Seoul, South Korea and America would be the first targets. Pruitt’s research provides insight on Kim’s insistent pursuit of nuclear experiments: Though Kim Jong Il’s government initially pledged to abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), by the early 21st century reports had surfaced of underground nuclear facilities and ongoing research into the production of highly enriched uranium.
North Korea withdrew from the NPT in 2003 and openly resumed nuclear research at a facility in Yongbyon. In 2006, after multi-national nuclear talks stalled, North Korea announced it had carried out its first underground nuclear test; a second, more powerful test went ahead in May 2009. (Pruitt) In this quote, we see three different cases of Kim abusing his power as the dictator of North Korea. His access to nuclear research and ability to control it all at his will allowed him to hide nuclear weapons and conduct these tests.
His withdrawal from the NPT was a blatant sign his desire to continue research and development of nuclear weapons was more of an importance to him than growing relations with other countries. Kim’s greed and powerful ways are a scary thought to think of when talking about nuclear powers. The need for nuclear weapons is North Korea is one that Kim Il-Sung engaged in during his reign and Kim Jong-Il supported till his death in 2011. This overwhelming desire to produce nuclear weapons and deprived the whole nation of basic supplies like the food and medical treatments.
In 1994, famine hit the country and it teetered on the brink economic collapse, so international nuclear monitors were permitted to enter North Korea in exchange for huge food and oil shipments from the US. Aid agencies reckon that up to two million people have died since the mid-1990s because of food shortages caused by natural disasters and desperate handling of the economy. (Coonan) The North Korean people have been in dire need of a strong leader to help rebuild their economy. This would effectively help reduce the famine by providing jobs to citizens and ultimately helping the country strengthen their physical health/standards.
The population of North Korea during these famines was estimated to be around 22 million, which means that more than one tenth of their population died from the lack of food. Ten percent is a large portion of the population especially when Kim is “head of the world’s fifth-largest military, the 1. 1 million-strong People’s Army” (Coonan). Kim’s yearn for power and strength has devastated the whole country of North Korea for the betterment of himself. Not only did the powers that Kim possessed scare the world, but they scared him as well.
This is why Kim sought out to have one of biggest militaries in the world, having around five percent of the population in his force. The reign of Kim was destructive and aimed to please his need of power: Kim Jong Il instituted the Military First policy, which prioritized national resources to the military. Thus, the military would be pacified and remain in his control. Kim could defend himself from threats domestic and foreign, while economic conditions worsened. (Bio. ) Kim’s view of the world and the way to rule were was the scariest parts of his regime.
He deprived the whole nation to allow for the enhancement of his military and securing his safety. Kim is the true meaning of a dictator and cannot even supply his own nation with the necessary needs like medical attention and food. His commanding dictatorship on North Korea has only lead to disasters and deaths towards his own people. “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korea has had to turn to China for support and it relies heavily on foreign aid to feed millions of its people” (Bio. ). In this biography the reader sees through the eyes of Kim and experiences his ability to leech off of others.
Communist countries like the Soviet Union and China will do just about anything to help support communism. Kim is a fairly intelligent man and uses his ability to bargain to receive help for supplies from other countries. Sacrificing the North Korean’s needs and disobeying nuclear weapon regulations with other countries was the beginning of his destructive ways. Without any doubt Kim’s reign from 1994-2011 was scary and had a great effect on the world and the nation of North Korea particularly. No only did Kim seem to threaten to whole world with his nuclear advancements but he also endangered North Korea with his selfish ways.
The nuclear tests and experiments, along with the famine, weren’t even as severe as the punishments that North Koreans were receiving in the labor camps throughout North Korea. These labor camps were housing for citizens who disobeyed the law as well as their families. The families housed in the worker camps were made to do forced labor like slaves. “Hundreds of thousands of North Korean citizens are believed to be held inside the camps. People who have seen the camps say the conditions are terrible. They say prisoners are often killed, tortured, raped or used for slave labor” (Kelly).
In this interview hosted by Jean Kelly, she explains the situation in these labor camps. They were more than just a forced way of life and labor, just like prison, these labor camps traced their every move. Prison sounds like a royalty compared to the treatment of these labor camps. Kim’s power, had force over every little thing that was in North Korea. Although everyone worshipped Kim, he had no problem being strict and controlling to the point of death. Blaine Hardin, who is a journalist, wrote a book about life of Shin Dong-hyuk.
Shin is the only person ever to be born in a labor camp and escape to tell his tale. Mr. Shin was born in Camp 14 where escape or plan to escape would ultimately lead to the execution of the accused and their family. This is kind of camp were it is almost every man for themselves. Shin Dong-hyuk describes to Jean Kelly the memory of his older brother and mother, “When he was 13, he heard his mother and his older brother talking about escaping from the camp…So he told the guards about his mother and his brother’s plan. They were shot in front of him” (Kelly).
This savage cruelty is a disgusting representation of how humans are treated. Kim’s total disregard to the brutality happening within these labor camps, as well as the isolation of North Koreans from the help of food and medical attention from other countries. Just like the force that Kim has shown towards other countries, he has abused his power as the leader of North Korea. This quote from Kelly’s interview is a perfect explanation of the horror Kim has produced, “The book also tries to show how human rights abuses are part of North Korea’s military strategy.
Those abuses do not get as much attention as North Korea’s actions like the threat in March to attack the United States and its allies” (Kelly). Kim’s abuse of power is one that enslaved his own nation, threatened the whole world and deprived North Korea from food and the essentials it needed. Without hesitation America has shown its displeasure when it wants something to be changed. During the American-Indian wars, America expresses its resentment towards the Indians that were not adapting to the American way. We have shown this kind of resentment towards mostly all the North Korean leaders, but especially towards Kim Jong-Il.
In “Haunted America: America’s Haunted History”, written by Patricia Limerick Nelson, she argues the concept of how history is written by the winner of the wars and how misconceptions and miscommunications from the two sides causes more problems than what actually started it. Limerick depicts how the Americans felt when the American-Indians tried to take back the land that they lived on before the Americans arrived, “If Indians tried to terrorize settlers into leaving contested territory, whites instantly saw themselves as the innocent victims and Indians as the guilty aggressors” (Limerick).
Just like America did to the American-Indians, we wanted Kim out of power and especially the communist reign over North Korea. America, and many other countries, wanted Kim out of power just like the American-Indians wanted all the American settlers to leave. Although the situation in which was presented is different than the state and affairs America had towards Kim and North Korea but yields the same motive and desires described by both. Throughout this essay I have discussed many points about North Korea and about Kim Jong-Il.
The short history of North Korea is easy to traced and read back to around the time of World War II. With the power of dictator being past from Kim Il-Sung to Kim Jong-Il, the world and mainly North Korea has experienced a reign of terror and destruction. The martyr like respect and love that Kim Jong-Il, and Kim Il-Sung, received from the nation of North Korea was a major support of the abuse of power Kim used. Kim disobeyed nuclear regulations and treaties, which restricted the use of experimenting and research of nuclear weapons.
After word was out Kim then pull out of the treaty and continued. His implication of the Military First policy as well as the neglect to negotiate trades with foreign countries for help with food and medical attention dampened the lives of North Korea. Famine which killed around 2 million people under Kim Jong-Il’s reign plus the use of worker camps throughout North Korea are just the tip of the iceberg when listing the disasters Kim produced. There is little known about the true inside of North Korea, but what we do know is that yields a powerful dictatorship across its people.
Kim was more than a dictator of North Korea but a tyrant of the world and with use of his power he abused the use of nuclear weapons, worker camps and deprived his country of food and medical attention. Although most of the world has access to news and technology to learn and educate themselves on these events, the North Korean people are the ones who are truly suffering the most and deserve to be educated about their own situation as well as the lives of others.