Kim IL Sung was the first ruler of North Korea. He is still revered by North Koreans who refer to him as their "Great Leader." After his death, the government of North Korea commissioned this portrait of him. It is online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
North Korea's political philosophy (popularized by its leader Kim il Sung since about 1955) is known as chuch'e (frequently referred to as juche).
It is, in theory, the application of Marxism-Leninism to the North Korean experience. It is, in practice, living one's life in a totally self-reliant country which is totally loyal to the country's leader. And it is impossible to even begin to understand life in North Korea without grasping what juche is all about.
The country's newspapers make the point. Kim il Sung came to power in 1946, at the height of Stalin's authority. (It is sometimes said that North Korea is the last remaining Stalinist state in the world.) By the spring of 1981, Kim il Sung was so firmly entwined in the daily production and fabric of North Korean society that its press published the following quotes:
Kim Il Sung ... is the great father of our people....Long is the history of the word father being used as a word representing love and reverence ... expressing the unbreakable blood ties between the people and the leader. Father. This familiar word represents our people's single heart of boundless respect and loyalty.... The love shown by the Great Leader
In North Korea, Kim il Sung is still regarded as the uniting force of the country and its people:
His heart is a traction power attracting the hearts of all people and a centripetal force uniting them as one.... Kim Il Sung [here people are in line to see his birthplace] is the great sun and great man ... thanks to this great heart, national independence is firmly guaranteed.
How did the country's leader respond to such effusive statements? His 1992 New Year's message is a good summary:
I take great pride in and highly appreciate the fact that our people have overcome the ordeals of history and displayed to the full the heroic mettle of the revolutionary people and the indomitable spirit of chuch'e Korea, firmly united behind the party . . . No difficulty is insurmountable nor is any fortress impregnable for us when our party leads the people with the ever-victorious chuch'e-oriented strategy and tactics and when all the people turn out as one under the party's leadership.
When Kim il Sung was no longer able to run the country, his son - the late leader, Kim il Jung - took over. Even though no formal succession had been established (because of Kim il Sung's popularity and national adulation), Kim Jung il remained firmly in control during his lifetime. He also enjoyed the benefits of juche (chuch'e), until he died in December of 2011.
Now Kim Jong-un, the son of Kim Jung il, has been named the latest member of the Kim dynasty to lead North Korea. One is left with no reasonable doubt that Korea's current leader, like his father and grandfather before him, intends to make sure North Korea has the battle power it needs to wage war both offensively and defensively.