December 07, 2023

How the Kim cult of personality came to dominate North Korean life

The DPRK's leader-worship may be the most pervasive in human history

Kim Il Sung’s cult of personality is perhaps one of the most recognizable things about North Korea. Stalinist in its inception, it was brought to Korea with Kim Il Sung by the Red Army and it blossomed.

In the early decades of North Korean history, there were periods when Kim Il Sung-worshiping waned in its intensity. The first of these periods came, perhaps surprisingly, in the early stages of the Korean War, when the greatness of the Leader became a secondary topic to military successes.