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North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was founded by Kim Il Sung, who fought the Japanese military as a guerilla fighter during World War Two. The nation sees itself as a self reliant socialist state that follows the Juche ideology created by Kim Il Sung. In an effort to reunify the Korean peninsula that was divided after WWII along the 38th parallel, Kim Il Sung started a military campaign to unify Korea under his leadership. UN intervention headed by the US helped stave off defeat and, by 1953, the Korean War ended in a stalemate along the 38th parallel where the war had begun.

The DPRK survives into the 21st century as a totalitarian state with a people on the edge of starvation, a network of concentration camps where human rights abuses comparable to the Nazi camps take place daily, and a personality cult around the Kim family dynasty. Today, the nation continues to maintain a high level of military readiness with its military first policy, long service times, and a nuclear weapons program.

The objects of the North Korea collection bring attention to the armed conflict that shaped the mentality of the leadership that continues to influence their policies to this day. Since the military is such a major focus, our collection reflects the importance of the armed forces while complementing those objects with civilian material as well.


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