North Korea’s long ruling dictator Kim Jong Il is finally dead, he was said to be 69-years-old however his real age has long been shrouded in mystery although researchers believe he was born in the Far Eastern region of the Soviet Union on February 16, 1942.
The son of ruler Kim Il Sung, his father founded North Korea with help from the Soviet Union following World War II.
As a young boy Kim Jong Il watched as the Korean War started in 1950 when his communist North invaded the American-supported South. When the war ended with a South Korean victory Kim Jong Il began to preach his father’s “juche” philosophy of self-reliance.
While the two countries have not officially fought in many years they also never signed a peace treaty and for technical purposes they still remain at war with the two countries separated by one of the world’s most treacherous demilitarized zones.
As a young boy Kim Jong Il was met with much tragedy including the drowning death of his younger brother and the death of his mother when he was just 7-years-old.
When his country broke out into war in 1950 Kim Jong Il was sent to Manchuria, returning just three years later when the war drew to a close.
As he grew into his small stature and hysterical hair Kim Jong Il was groomed to take over the country that his father ruled with an iron fist, shutting off the countries borders to outsiders while sending thousands of his own citizens to the equivalent of World War II concentration camps while most of the country continues to live in squaller until this very day.
Kim Il Sung designated Kim Jung Il as his official successor in 1980 when he was given senior posts in the Politburo, the Military Commission and the Party Secretariat. Those roles were transcended in 1991 when he was given the titleof “commander-in-chief” for the countries armed forces. Three years later when Kim Il Sung died of a heart attack at 82-years-old his son took over the post.
With the countries failed relationship with the Soviet bloc and China just several years earlier it was believed Kim Jong Il would lead the country into collapse as the country went for broke with a failing state-run agricultural system that was leading many citizens towards starvation.
When first taking power Kim Jong Il went into hiding only to return soon after with a new feel for his consolidated power while taking the titles of general secretary of the Workers Party and chairman of the National Defense Commission.
Kim Jong Il’s extremist ways with absolute rule eventually led to the the defection of Hwang Jang Yop, the man who invented the juche philosophy. Hwang’s defection in 1997 was the first time a high-ranking official south asylum in South Korea.
By the 1990’s Kim Jong Il seemed more ready then ever to accept alliances with countries around the world, leading to billions of dollars in international aid until the country sent a test missile over Japan in 1999.
In what may be the oddest moment in his iron first rule the man with an obsession for movies kidnapped South Korean actress Choi En-hui and her director husband Shin Sang-ok in 1978, forcing them to direct and act in movies until they eventually managed to escape back into North Korea in 1986. According to the couple while his people lived in squaller Kim Jong Il spent millions of dollars on film productions.
Speaking to a Washington Post reporter the couple said Kim was a “micro-manager” who made every single important decision for North Korea. Shin added that Kim Jong Il had no guilt about his iron fist rule because of his upbringing.
Kim Jong Il will be missed by pretty much nobody.