North Korea Facts

North Korea Facts and History


Since 1945 Korea has been politically divided into a capitalist state in the south (Republic of Korea) and the communist-ruled North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).

The government of this country is referred to as part of an “Axis of Evil” by the USA. The absolute rulers of the country were Kim il sung (1912-1994) and Kim Jong-il (1941-2011).

The “Beloved Leader” Kim Jong-il “, who had ruled the country since 1994, passed away on December 17, 2011. Only a few days after the death of Kim Jong-il, his youngest son” Kim Jong Un “(born 1983) as his successor at the head of the state, who

is now the unreserved ruler of the country.

The country’s 1.2 million army has a number of nuclear weapons.

The per capita income in the country was around 4,000 old Wong in 2010, about 6% of that of neighboring South Korea.

However, on the 100th birthday of the “Eternal President”, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, the country wanted to have made the step into a strong and prosperous nation in 2012 – production should have increased by over 30% by then.

The country’s cautious involvement in talks came to an abrupt end when, on November 23, 2010, North Korea killed civilians for the first time by shelling the island of Yeonpyeong in the Yellow Sea.

A total of 4 people were killed and many were wounded in the attack.

Severe political, social and economic consequences arose as a result of the Korean War, which took place from June 25, 1950 to June 27, 1953 with the participation of China and the USA and ended with a ceasefire agreement. There is still no peace treaty. The war cost the lives of around 3 million civilians, 40,000 UN soldiers, 500,000 Korean and 400,000 Chinese soldiers.

On March 8, 2013, North Korea terminated the ceasefire with effect from March 11, 2013. And on March 30, 2013, North Korea declared that it was again at war with South Korea.

On September 2, North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb and thus probably finally ruled out a military solution by the USA

Name of the country Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Form of government People’s Republic
Location On the Korean Peninsula in East Asia
National anthem A ch’im un pinnara
Population around 24 million (Credit: Countryaah: North Korea Population)
Ethnicities 99% KoreansChinese are the largest minority
Religions 15% of North Koreans practice shamanistic cults,15% are followers of the Chondokyo religion.

Small minorities of Christians and Buddhists.

Languages Korean is the official language
Capital Pyongyang with probably around 3.2 million residents
Surface 122,762 km²
Highest mountain Paektusan with a height of 2,744 m
Longest river Jalu Yiang with a length of 790 km
International license plate KP
Currency 1 won = 100 chon commercial vehicles
Time difference to CET + 8 h
International phone code/mobile network + 850
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 60 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .kp

North Korea History

Prehistoric times

Immigrants of unknown origin settled the country between the 5th and 3rd millennium BC. The Koreans descend from the Tunguis branch of the Mongoloid tribes. These people are closely related to the Japanese. Since the 4th century BC The legendary kingdom of Choson can be reliably proven. In 108 China conquered the Choson Empire. The south of Korea was divided into small states. The north fell to the Chinese Empire.

Early empires up to 936

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the declining influence of China resulted in the formation of three empires for Korea: Koguryo in the north, Silla in the southeast and Paekche in the center. Art, science, economy and society were in full bloom. Buddhism and Confucianism dominated religious life. In the years 663 and 668, the Silla Empire, in league with China, attacked its neighbors Paekche and Koguryo and incorporated them. In the ninth century the empire collapsed after the peasant revolts and three empires emerged again. The New Koguryo Kingdom was named Koryo and defeated its neighbors in 936. Koryo is recognized as an independent state from China in 939.

Koryo 936 to 1392

Koryo was run as a state based on the Chinese model. Buddhism was the state religion. Militarily it came into conflict with the Manchurian steppe peoples Kitan and Jurdsches in the 11th and 12th centuries. There was an obligation to pay tribute to the Kitans. In 1231 the Mongols occupied the Korean peninsula. The empire came under the Mongolian control of the Yuan dynasty, who also ruled the Chinese Empire. In 1368 this dynasty perished and Korea sank in a wave of internal unrest. As a result, General Songge overthrew the last king of Koryo in 1392 and founded the kingdom of Choson.

Choson 1392 to 1876

Songge ruled as King Yi Taejo from 1392 to 1398 and made Hanyang, today’s Seoul, the capital of his empire. The state religion was abolished in the 15th century. Together with the Ming dynasty, the Koreans successfully resisted Japanese invasions between 1592 and 1598. It was not until 1627 that the army of Choson was defeated by the Manchu, the descendants of the Jurdschurs. The ally China also came under the sovereignty of the Manchu, which as the Qing dynasty became the Ming dynasty replaced in China. The result was a political self-isolation of Korea in the following years. Christian missionaries migrated from China to Korea in the 18th century. After the Christian communities had grown strongly, the Christians were persecuted in Choson from 1785.

1876 to 1945

In 1876, Choson could no longer maintain the isolation he had chosen because the Japanese forced the opening of Korea to its products. Choson also had to conclude free trade agreements with the USA, England, Russia and the German Reich. Taking advantage of the kingdom’s weakness after civil unrest, Japan and China occupied the country. This led to the 1st Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895. Japan won the war. After the Chinese defeat, Choson attempted rapprochement with Russia. The Russo-Japanese War ended with the Russian defeat and with Korea officially becoming a Japanese reserve. In 1910 the Japanese overthrew the King of Choson and turned Korea into a colony. The Japanese modernized the country’s economy. Koreans were only needed in unimportant positions as cheap labor. After an uprising in 1919, there was a period of reforms until 1931 with the Japanese conquest of Manchuria, repressive politics again prevailed in Korea. The high point was the ban on the Korean language in 1939. Kim Il Sung, who later became the Korean state leader, headed a communist resistance group in the north of the country from 1934 onwards.

After 1945

A decisive event was the liberation from the Japanese, who annexed the Korean peninsula in 1910 and ruled it since then. This liberation struggle under the future ruler of North Korea Kim Il Sung () is represented in North Korea in a downright mythical transfiguration to this day, although it was the result of the defeat of the Japanese against the USA. Shortly before the end of the war, the USA and the Soviet Union had divided Korea into two zones of occupation at the 38th parallel. The result, comparable to the development in Germany, was a southern Korea supported by the USA and a northern Korea supported mainly by China. This development was prevented despite the Allies’ resolution at the Yalta Conference on the country’s independence, not least as a result of the East-West conflict. The 38. Latitude became the demarcation line between the two systems. Nevertheless, on November 14, 1947, the UN took over the mandate for the reunification of the country, which, as is well known, was never realized.

As a result of this situation, the Republic of Korea was formed in South Korea on August 15, 1948, under the leadership of Syngman Rhee, while in North Korea the Communist Party under its chairman Kim Il Sung (1912-1994) established a socialist people’s republic on September 9 of the same year.

The second decisive event was the attack by North Korean troops on June 25, 1950 on the south of the country. This war probably killed about 35,000, but possibly as much as 50,000 Americans and about 3 million Koreans, including numerous civilians, on both sides. At the end of the war on June 27, 1953, which, by the way, was officially ended only by an armistice, both halves of the country were in ruins.

The Korean War

After the US and Soviet troops left the country in 1949, there were more and more conflicts and even skirmishes on the demarcation line.

As already mentioned, on June 25, 1950, North Korean units attacked the south and four days later conquered Seoul against the slight resistance of the completely surprised South Koreans. Without support, South Korea would have been completely overrun within a very short time.

But the UN decided to come to the aid of the country. As a result of this decision, 16 countries sent troops to Korea, nearly 90% of which were US Americans. The American General Douglas MacArthur (1880 – 1964) was in command of the support troops. The UN troops managed to stop the advance of the North Koreans and thus prevent the last South Korean defenders from being destroyed near the port city of Pusan.

After hard and costly fighting, the Allied forces succeeded in retaking Seoul in September 1950. The successes of the Allies made it possible that the North Koreans could be completely driven from the south and South Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel on September 30th. The UN troops were only allowed to do so on October 7th. As a result of this advance, the Allies reached the Jalu River on the border with China (Manchuria) in November of that year. At that point in time it appeared that there would be a reunified Korea under US leadership.

The Chinese, but also the Soviet Union, did not want to accept a Korea under American influence and the loss of part of their sphere of influence. As a result, the Chinese intervened in the fighting with a “volunteer army” of around 400,000 soldiers. On January 1, 1951, the Chinese units, reinforced with around 100,000 North Korean soldiers, began a major offensive against the Allies. As a result of this offensive, the UN units were overrun and repulsed to the south. As a result, Seoul was given up again in early January 1951.

The badly damaged city could only be recaptured about two months later. The UN units were then able to advance slightly beyond the 38th parallel in the following time, where they got stuck. After that there were no notable gains in terrain for either side. It is known that in view of the military situation, President Harry S. Truman (1884 – 1972) planned to use atomic bombs on China as well. But as is well known and fortunately, these plans were not put into practice. It should be noted that Truman removed General MacArthur from his post as Commander in Chief on April 11, 1951 and replaced it with General Matthew Bunker Ridgway (1895-1993).

Although ceasefire negotiations between the warring parties began as early as July 10, 1951 in Kaesóng, North Korea, an armistice agreement was not reached in Panmunjeom until April 27, 1953, not least due to the death of Josef Stalin (1879-1953) on May 5 March conditional. In this agreement, the 38th parallel was essentially set as the border between North and South Korea including a four-kilometer-wide demilitarized zone along the border. To this day, the adversaries have not signed a peace treaty. To illustrate the suffering of the soldiers involved, the German translation of a song by American soldiers is presented as an example:

Boys we die on the edge of the earthAnd even more pathetic than an animal

Harry Truman you betrayed us in Korea

And sacrificed us here.

But we still have one consolation

and it burns our hearts like mockery:

We will definitely escape to heaven,

because we already have hell!


In 1977 the so-called Juche ideology replaced the old Marxist doctrine. It was developed after the liberation from the Japanese in the late 1940s. This ideology is a country-specific further development of the old doctrine of Marxism, including old Buddhist and Confucian elements. In practical politics it meant the state doctrine of complete independence and self-sufficiency of the country, especially in economic terms. It was significantly shaped by Kim Il Sung (1912 – 1994), the founder of the state and long-time leader of the country. After his death and the seizure of power by his son Kim Jong Il, this state doctrine was gradually replaced by the so-called Songun ideology. In short, it means the love for the military as the guardian of the state and society.

After the death of his father Kim Il Sung (1912-1994) in 1994, Kim Jong Il settled the foreign policy crisis caused by the North Korean nuclear weapons program. The conflict with the US intensified in 1998 with the production of long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Since the Iraq war in 2004, North Korea has been suspected of refusing to make compromises in disarmament negotiations.

North Korea said it had launched a communications satellite on April 5, 2009, into orbit. The communications satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 (= bright light) is said to have been brought into orbit with the help of a multi-stage Unha-2 launch vehicle. According to the North Koreans, the satellite was functioning normally and, in addition to sending measurement data, the melodies of revolutionary songs about the deceased “eternal head of state” Kim Il Sung and his son and successor Kim Jong Il to earth. However, many Western experts doubt this representation and suspect the test of a long-range military missile that then disappeared somewhere in the Pacific. Since North Korea is banned from testing long-range missiles according to a UN resolution, the UN Security Council met the following night.

In October 2006 and May 25, 2009 the military detonated an atomic bomb. The 2009 bomb was detonated underground in the northeast of the country near the Sea of Japan and was likely to have an explosive force of around 10 kT (TNT). The UN was even more concerned than when the first bomb went off and strongly condemned the test. Shortly afterwards, the country canceled the 1953 armistice and threatened war. At a special party congress on September 28, 2010, party and state leader Kim Jong-il was unanimously chosen as the country’s further leader. At the Korean Workers’ Party (WPK) congress, his son Kim Jong-un was also appointed four-star general, paving the way for his subsequent takeover. After his stroke in 2008, Kim Jong-il is systematically expanding the succession of his son. Incidentally, the last party congress took place in 1980.

The “Beloved Leader” Kim Jong-il “died on December 17, 2011. Just a few days after Kim Jong-il’s death, his youngest son” Kim Jong Un “(born 1983) was the successor to the head of the state.

Despite the promise to open up the country and reform, he did the opposite:

on March 8, 2013, the armistice was canceled effective March 11, 2013. North Korea and on Mar. 30, 2013 North Korea declared with South Korea back in.

North Korea Facts