May 20, 2024

The trouble with comparing North Korea’s chief propagandist to Joseph Goebbels

Likening Kim Ki Nam to Nazi politician ignores how much more centralized DPRK is than Germany under National Socialism

Kim Ki Nam, the former chief of North Korea’s propaganda apparatus, died on May 7. Although some media outlets were quick to compare Kim’s six-decade career to Joseph Goebbels's impact on Nazi Germany, Kim’s trajectory and influence in the DPRK is far more complex.

His first big role was as a charge d’affaires in China back in 1957, just when Kim Il Sung was consolidating power by wiping out opposition and distancing North Korea from Soviet influence. 

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