KIM IL SUNG
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FOUNDING OF
THE KOREAN PEOPLE’S ARMY
Speech at a Review of the Korean
February 8, 1948
Comrade officers, noncommissioned officers and men of the Korean People’s Army,
Dear fellow countrymen,
In celebrating the second anniversary of the People’s Committee of North Korea, the organ of genuine people’s power, we today proclaim the founding of the Korean People’s Army, the first regular armed forces belonging to the people in the history of Korea. The Korean people, who had been subjected to all manner of persecution and suppression under the bayonets of the Japanese imperialists, took power into their own hands after liberation and set out to create a new, happy life. And now they have their own full-fledged regular army to defend the country and nation.
Expressing the great national pride and joy of the liberated people of Korea, I wholeheartedly hail the creation of the People’s Army.
All the people of north and south Korea can now show their pride before the whole world in having their own modern, regular army to fight for the freedom and honour of the country.
We have founded the People’s Army today to promote the complete independence and sovereignty of the country on a democratic basis.
Our people have laid the political, economic and cultural foundations for building an independent and sovereign democratic state in north Korea in only a little over two years after liberation. With the establishment of people’s power and the enforcement of democratic reforms we have brought to realization the age-old, ardent national desire of the broad masses of the people, thus opening up broad new vistas for social advance. Last year, we drew up a national economic plan and fulfilled it successfully, thus making our first great contributions to laying the base of an independent national economy. With the currency changeover, our people now possess their own currency and have consolidated the foundation for our country’s financial independence. The draft Provisional Constitution of Korea has been drawn up which will legally validate the results of the democratic reforms and the building of democracy in north Korea and provide the legal foundations for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to be set up in the future.
But until now, we did not have a regular army of the Korean people to defend all these gains by force of arms.
Any independent and sovereign state has its own army. It goes without saying that no state can be completely independent and sovereign without its own army. Our country was occupied by the Japanese imperialists because the Korean people had no army of their own strong enough to defeat the Japanese imperialist aggressor army.
Therefore, if our country is to become a completely independent and sovereign state it is indispensable to have a mighty people’s army capable of defending the country and the nation and of repulsing any enemy invasion. The need to create their own army became very urgent and vital for the Korean people, particularly in the serious circumstances whereby our country’s reunification, independence and sovereignty have been held back for more than two years since liberation as a result of the vicious manoeuvrings on the part of the US imperialists and their lackeys to split our nation and turn our country once again into a colony.
Our people can neither remain mere onlookers while the US imperialists and their stooges carry out their policy of national division, nor can we wait for someone to come along and give us independence and organize an army for us. The Korean people must build an independent and sovereign democratic state entirely by their own efforts and must themselves make all preparations for setting up a unified government. They must organize their army on their own, thereby promoting the building of a unified, independent and democratic country.
It is not by chance that a People’s Army has been created in north Korea. This is because it is only in north Korea, where the people have become masters of the state, that it has been possible to create a People’s Army to defend the country and the nation. It is inconceivable to found a genuine national army of the Korean people in present-day south Korea which is under US military government and where the pro-Japanese elements and traitors to the nation have taken “power” and are training their terrorists.
Our people, who are courageously blazing the path for the whole of Korea to follow by carrying out democratic reforms and successfully building up the economy and making cultural advances in north Korea, will, through the organization of the Korean People’s Army today, strengthen the might of the democratic base in north Korea and lay a solid foundation for the armed forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to be set up in the not too distant future. The people in south Korea, who are immensely encouraged and inspired by the building of democracy in north Korea, will regard our People’s Army founded today as their own army and their own strength. So, the founding of the People’s Army will give mighty encouragement to our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in south Korea, now groaning under the oppression of the US military government and the reactionary, traitor clique, in their struggle for the reunification and independence of the country along democratic lines.
Furthermore, we have created the People’s Army to defend the democratic base of north Korea and the fruits of the democratic reforms—the groundwork for the establishment of a unified Democratic People’s Republic—from enemy encroachment, and to guarantee the security and happiness of the people in north Korea.
As is known to all, the US imperialists, the pro-Japanese elements and the traitors to the nation in south Korea, are not only given to slander and false propaganda in their attempt to hamper our democratic development and peaceful construction. They are also making every attempt to destroy our precious state property and throw the life of the north Korean people into confusion by sending in large numbers of terrorists engaged exclusively in murder, arson and subversion. As a matter of course, these enemy activities are fully exposed and frustrated at every step by our people’s united strength and high revolutionary vigilance. However, the firmer the democratic base of north Korea and the greater the victories of our people, the more frenzied the US imperialists and the reactionaries in south Korea become and the more viciously the enemy attempts to destroy the fruits of the democratic reforms and economic construction in north Korea.
Therefore, we must found the People’s Army to firmly defend the democratic system established in north Korea and the happy life of our people, and prevent any reactionary forces and subversive elements from spoiling in the slightest degree all the precious results gained by the north Korean people in their struggle since liberation for the independence, sovereignty and democratization of the country.
We must remember that only when we are strong and the democratic forces prevail can genuine peace be preserved, freedom of the country and the people guaranteed, and the enemy will not be able to attempt any reckless attack on us. Therefore, far from presenting the threat of fratricidal civil war as stated in the reactionaries’ vicious propaganda, the strengthening of the democratic forces and the founding of the People’s Army in north Korea will prevent US imperialism and the reactionaries in south Korea from starting civil war.
Comrade officers, noncommissioned officers and men of the Korean People’s Army,
Dear fellow countrymen,
The People’s Army we have founded today is an army of a new type, fundamentally different from that of a capitalist country.
The army of a capitalist country is organized to defend and maintain by force of arms the system of oppression and exploitation of the working people—the vast majority of the population—in the interests of a handful of capitalists and landlords and to attack other nations and invade the territories of other countries. We saw this kind of army vividly in Hitler Germany and militarist Japan, and we see it now in all capitalist countries. In particular, the US army that after the war entered countries such as China and Greece, which were not defeated nations, and interfered in their internal affairs, and enforced military government in south Korea, refusing to withdraw, has become the prototype of the predatory imperialist army of today.
In contrast, the army we have created today is a genuine people’s army made up of the sons and daughters of the workers, peasants and other sections of the Korean working people, which fights for the liberation and independence of the Korean nation and for the happiness of the masses against the imperialist aggressive forces from abroad and the reactionary forces at home. Therefore, should any enemy attempt to infringe upon our country’s freedom and destroy our people’s happy life, our People’s Army men will fight to the last drop of their blood to defeat him, and they will defend the country and the people to the bitter end. This is the most important feature of the People’s Army we have founded.
Another specific feature of our People’s Army is that its backbone is composed of true patriots of Korea who devoted their all in the past to the anti-Japanese armed struggle for the liberation of the country and the people in the face of brutal Japanese imperialist suppression.
After the Japanese imperialists occupied our country, the true patriots took up arms at home and abroad and waged arduous guerrilla warfare against Japanese imperialism. When the pro-Japanese elements, now acting as flunkeys of US imperialism in south Korea, were oppressing and exploiting the Korean people in league with Japanese imperialism and went so far as to drive the young men and women of Korea so dear to us to the battlefield to further Japan’s aggressive war, Korean patriots formed anti-Japanese armed units and waged a protracted, bloody struggle against the Japanese imperialist army of aggression which far outnumbered them, thereby stoutly defending the pride and honour of our nation. Our People’s Army is created today with these patriotic revolutionaries as its backbone and on the basis of the rich experience they accumulated during the long-drawn anti-Japanese armed struggle.
Therefore, though our People’s Army is established today as the regular army of democratic Korea, it is, in reality, an army long rooted in the past. It is a glorious army inheriting the revolutionary traditions of anti-Japanese guerrilla warfare, invaluable battle experience and indomitable patriotic spirit. Our army, thus equipped not only with weapons but also with the combat experience, ardent patriotism and noble revolutionary spirit of our revolutionary forerunners, is an army of iron that will beat back any enemy invasion and always be victorious.
The fact that our people have founded such a superb and glorious People’s Army once again demonstrates to the world that the Korean nation is fully capable of building a rich and strong independent country on its own and of raising its country to rank among the advanced states of the world. The fact that we have built such an excellent army by ourselves also shows clearly that we Korean people will not, and cannot, leave our destiny in the hands of the US imperialists and their tool, the “UN Temporary Commission on Korea”, nor ever recognize a “government” or an “army” rigged up by them.
In proclaiming to the world today on behalf of the entire people the founding of the Korean People’s Army, I solemnly declare once again that the destiny of the Korean nation can only be shaped by the Korean people themselves, and that the Korean question can never be solved by the US imperialists and their aggressive tool, the “UN Temporary Commission on Korea”.
Comrades and friends,
The founding of the People’s Army fills our people with great pride and signifies another brilliant victory for them. But, although we have the People’s Army, we must not allow ourselves to rest content or to be carried away by the victory. The creation of the People’s Army is only the first step towards building up the powerful, modern armed forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which must be established in the future. It means that only the skeleton has been built. That is why all the people, as well as all military personnel, must do everything in their power to strengthen and develop the People’s Army founded today and ensure that its invincible might is demonstrated to the world.
The men, noncommissioned officers and officers must first arm themselves firmly with boundless love for the country and the people and with the spirit of devoting their all to the struggle for the freedom of the country and the happiness of the people.
Our People’s Army should not forget for a moment that it has been born of the people and serves the people, and that it can be victorious only when it cherishes the people and enjoys their support and affection. In particular, it must consistently protect the interests of the entire working people headed by the working class, the main force in building our country. Only when the army is filled with ardent patriotism and the spirit of serving the working people can it defend the gains of the democratic reforms in north Korea, firmly safeguard our country and people from any enemy invasion and promote the complete independence, sovereignty and reunification of our country.
We must vigorously conduct political and ideological education among the servicemen so that they will emulate the lofty patriotism of their revolutionary forerunners who took part in the anti-Japanese armed struggle, cultivate the spirit of loving, respecting, trusting and uniting with each other, foster the trait of acting bravely and taking the lead in doing things, and build up an iron discipline in the army.
The men, noncommissioned officers and officers must zealously devote themselves to military training and the study of military science. All men and noncommissioned officers must become proficient in handling weapons and be well versed in their military assignments. Officers must master the art of command and methods of educating and training the men under them.
Our People’s Army cannot be strengthened merely by the efforts of the men, noncommissioned officers and officers. The active support and assistance of the entire people are required to make our army more efficient and capable of honourably fulfilling the important mission of defending the country and the people. The workers must ensure timely and adequate production and supply of good weapons, uniforms and daily necessities, and the peasants must supply the army with provisions. The people must love their army, hold the men and officers dear and exert themselves to turn our People’s Army into a strong and excellent army of which we can be proud before the world.
Dear comrades, men, noncommissioned officers and officers,
Dear fellow countrymen,
By founding today an army which is genuinely our own, our people have registered another historic victory for our nation. The entire Korean people greet this happy occasion with boundless emotion and rejoicing, and all our friends the world over extend congratulations on this new victory of the Korean people in their fight for the freedom and independence of their country.
Let us all march vigorously forward, with an unshakable faith in victory and ever greater national pride, for the establishment of a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, for new victories!
Long live the Korean People’s Army, the true armed forces of the Korean people!
For the establishment of a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea!