Kim Il-sung (김일성 ; 金日成) (April 15, 1912 - July 8, 1994) was the autocratic Communist ruler of North Korea from 1948 until his death. To this day, even after his death the North Korean government continues to recognize him as the nation's "eternal" president.
He was born Kim Song-ju (김성주; 金成柱) in Pyongi (변경 ; 邊京?) or Mangyongdae (만경대 ; 萬景台) near Pyongyang, Korea.
After following his father to Jilin, China in 1925, he studied at Fusong Number One Elementary School (撫松第一小學) for a year, then spent four years in Yuwen Middle School (毓文中學). It is during this period that he organized an anti-imperalist society. He was a founding member of the Young Communist League of Korea in 1927. In 1930, he founded the Korean Revolutionary Army, a guerrilla group that fought the Japanese. In 1931, Kim left to join a Chinese Communist guerrilla group fighting in Manchuria. It was during this time that he assumed the pseudonym Kim Il Sung. In 1941, forced to leave Manchuria, Kim went to the Soviet Union. There he remained until he returned to Korea in 1945 to form the Central Organizing Committee of the Communist Party of North Korea.
Kim worked, with Soviet support, to unify Korea under Communism. On September 9, 1948, he founded the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and became head of the Korean Workers' Party and President of the new country. In late 1949, with the support of Stalin, Kim made the decision to launch a major military campaign to unify Korea - the stalemate of the Korean War 1950-53.
After the war, Kim accelerated the trend towards dictatorship. He constructed an austere and regimented society that was required to revere him as the "Great Leader". A vast personality cult was founded, and his image soon appeared everywhere, including a mandatory framed portrait in every North Korean home. As his rank continually improved from Premier of the Cabinet of the DPRK and President of the DPRK, he added General Secretary of the Party Central Committee and Generalissimo of the DPRK. He also received the title of Hero of the DPRK three times and the title of Labour Hero of the DPRK. In 1972 he relinquished the premiership but retained his position as leader by revising the constitution.
He developed the idea of juche (주체 ; 主體), self-reliance blended with Marxism. He begun to build concentration camps in Haengyong and Chunbong. North Korea was devastated with famine.
Kim Il Sung died on July 8, 1994, in Pyongyang. He was succeeded by his son Kim Jong Il. The North Korean media reported supernatural sightings of even animals crying, reporting "Many animals wept."
The Great Leader's works have been compiled into Kim Il Sung's Works, Volume 1 to Volume 38 and Kim Il Sung's Selected Works, Volume 1 to Volume 9.