The Korean People’s Army, the regular army of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was born on February 8, 1948.
To look back farther, the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army (later reorganized as the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army) was founded on April 25, 1932 by Kim Il Sung, eternal President of the DPRK, when Korea was under the Japanese military occupation (1905-1945). Under his command, the KPRA, without the backing of a state and support of a regular army, waged a bloody guerrilla warfare against the one-million-strong Kwantung Army and liberated the country on August 15, 1945.
Although the country was liberated, it was very difficult to build a modern regular army in the circumstances in which the economy of the country was shattered by Japanese imperialism and it was short of funds.
Building a regular army was an indispensable requisite under the prevailing situation in Korea which was striving to build an independent and sovereign state. Moreover, it emerged as an urgent task, as the United States stationed its aggressor troops in the southern half of Korea after the Second World War under the pretext of disarming the Japanese army in Korea and was manoeuvring to occupy the whoel territory of Korea. Factionalist, great-power worshippers opposed building a regular army, claiming that it was not necessary to build an army before the reunification of the country and a regular army cannot be built without the assistance of foreign countries.
Having set building an army as one of the three major tasks for building a new Korea, along with founding a party and state, Kim Il Sung advanced the policy of founding by Koreans themselves a regular army which would be prepared politically and ideologically by inheriting the traditions of the anti-Japanese armed struggle. And he vigorously carried on the work of building a regular army by enlisting fine sons and daughters of the working masses including workers and peasants with the guerrilla veterans, who had been tempered in the flames of the anti-Japanese armed struggle as its backbone.
The works he published in that period illustrate how hard he strove to build a regular army: On Establishing the Pyongyang Institute, Be Excellent Military and Political Cadres, Let Us Create the Air Force of the New Korea, For the Building of A Revolutionary Army, Immediate Tasks of the Security Officers Training Centre, Let Us Found A True People’s Army, A Modern Regular Army…
In building a regular army he directed close concern to training military and political cadres.
As a result, the Pyongyang Institute was established as the first regular institute of military education and the first base for training political and military officers for the building of a modern regular army, followed by the Central Security Officers Training School in July 1946 for training military and political cadres of different services and arms, an air class, a parent body of the air force, at the Pyongyang Institute in March 1946, and the Naval Security Officers Training School the following year.
As the commanding personnel of a regular army were in short supply, Kim Il Sung enlisted most of the veteran anti-Japanese fighters in building the army, and saw to it that they not only became the backbone of the army but played the pivotal role in training military cadres.
He underlined the necessity for forming core units of the modern regular army, the principle to be observed in forming them, their scale and location, with the result that security officers training centres were set up, and units of different services and corps like air corps, maritime security force and corps of artillerymen, engineers and signalmen were formed.
Though he had to visit many places, he inspected the site of a former munitions factory in Pyongyang before going to visit the Kangson Iron Works, an episode widely known: this clearly shows how close concern he paid to laying the foundations of an independent munitions industry.
Overcoming the dearth of everything for building a munitions factory– technology, equipment, funds, technicians and skilled workers–he had the first munitions production base built from scratch with the plan for arming the regular armed forces with modern weapons and other combat and technical equipment. Thanks to his outstanding leadership, the working class of the country produced by their own effort such modern weapons as submachine guns and hand grenades and built naval vessels. No other country in the world had built simultaneously three services of its armed forces and its own independent munitions industry from scratch, and developed them rapidly in such a short period of time. This miracle was wrought by Kim Il Sung, who firmly believed in his people and gave fullest play to their strength.
At last, on February 8, 1948, a grand military parade was held in Pyongyang, the capital city of the DPRK, proclaiming the birth of the Korean People’s Army as a regular army.
In the Korean war(1950-1953) that broke out after two years, the KPA defeated the US, which was boasting of being the “strongest” in the world, and thus defended the sovereignty and dignity of the country with credit. After the war, foiling the military threats and provocations by the US at every step, the KPA has demonstrated to the whole world its might as an invincible, ever-victorious army.