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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Biographies

Kim Chaek

James E. Hoare

Kim Chaek was an ally and important counterpart to Kim Il Sung until his death in 1951.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KIM CHAEK (1903-1951). Born in North Hamgyeong Province, Kim Chaek went to Manchuria and joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1925. He became an important associate of Kim Il Sung in the guerrilla fighting against the Japanese in North Korea and Manchuria in the 1930s, but, like Kim, was forced into the Soviet Maritime Provinces during the Japanese offensive against the guerrilla forces in 1940. Again like Kim, Kim Chaek stayed in the Soviet Union until the end of the Pacific War in 1945. He returned to Korea with Soviet forces in August 1945. After Kim Il Sung’s return in autumn 1945, Kim Chaek was one of his strongest supporters. In October 1945, he became the first head of the Military Academy. He also held important party posts. With the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948, he was a vice premier and also minister of industry. At the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, he was one of the members of the Korean Workers’ Party military committee, which was responsible for the conduct of the war. In September 1950, he became a frontline commander of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) and was responsible for organizing guerrilla units to operate behind enemy lines as the KPA retreated following the Inchon landing. He was killed in a bombing raid in January 1951. Kim Chaek City and its ironworks and Kim Chaek University of Technology were named in his memory.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. (Historical Dictionary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by James E. Hoare, published by RLPG Books, appears by permission of the author and publisher).