The Founding of the Armed Forces

    The Nature of the Armed Forces

    The charter of the Workers' Party defines the People's Armed Forces as "the revolutionary armed forces of the party" in article 46. The People's Armed Forces are the characterized as the army of the party and the army of the revolution under the control of the party. Often called "the army of the Great Leader," it also has serves as the private army of the Kims.

    North Korea has observed the day of founding of the People's Armed Forces on February 8 since 1948. But in 1978 in the name of succeeding to the tradition of anti-Japanese partisan struggles, it changed the day to April 25, on which Kim Il-sung allegedly launched the Anti-Japanese Guerilla Corps (which was later developed into the Korean People's Revolutionary Army) in China in 1932, emphasizing the nature of the People's Armed Forces as "the army of the Great Leader."

    The Founding of the Armed Forces

    Right after liberation from Japanese rule in August 1945, North Korea pushed forward the project of founding the People's Armed Forces as part of three major tasks -- "founding the party, the army, and the nation." North Korea's founding of the army was carried out with the full-fledged assistance of the Soviet military, which wanted a Communist government to be set up in North Korea.

    The Pyongyang-stationed 25th Headquarters of the Soviet Army issued a proclamation which ordered the breakup of all the armed forces in North Korea and allowed organization of security forces in cooperation with the Soviet Army headquarters. Under this proclamation, a security force consisting of 12,000 Koreans under the Soviet army was established in individual regions on October 21, 1945.

    Also, the Railway Security Force in charge of guarding the nation's railways, was established on January 11, 1946. As an organ for unitary guidance and command of armed forces including the Railway Security Forces, the Security Cadre Training Battalion (commander: Choi Yong-kun) was set up on August 15, 1946.

    To nurture military and ideological leaders, North Korea founded military academies such as Pyongyang Military Academy in February 1946 (renamed as the 2nd Officer Candidate School in January 1949), and the Central Security Cadres School in June 1946 (renamed as the 1st Officer Candidate School in December 1948).

    After setting up basic military organs and academies, Pyongyang renamed the Security Cadre Training Battalion the North Korean People's Collective Army Headquarters, and equipped the army with Soviet-style titles and modern weapons providing the appearance of regular forces.

    The National Defense Bureau, which later transformed into the Ministry of People's Armed Forces, was established within the North Korean Preliminary People's Committee on February 4, 1948. North Korea proclaimed the founding of the regular armed forces on February 8, 1948, seven months before the founding of the North Korean government, renaming the People's Collective Armed Forces the People's Armed Forces.

    The Founding of the Navy and Air Force

    The North Korean navy was developed from the Maritime Security Force (organized on June 5, 1946) and the Maritime Security Command (founded in Wonsan in June the same year). The headquarters was strengthened and relocated to Pyongyang in August 1946 and the Maritime Security Force was renamed the Coast Guard in December the same year. In June 1947, Coast Guard Cadre Academy was also established in Wonsan.

    North Korea legislated the founding day of the Torpedo Corps (August 29) as the Day of the Navy. But in 1993 the anniversary was changed to June 5, when the Maritime Security Force was launched in 1946.

    The Air Force was developed from the Shineuiju Air Force Academy which was founded on October 25, 1945. The civilian organization was added to Pyongyang Military Academy on June 7, 1946 as its air squadron and developed into a military organ.

    On August 20, 1947, the air squadron of Pyongyang Military Academy and aviation personnel were brought together to launch the regular aviation forces under the People's Collective Army Headquarters. North Korea has celebrated this day as the Day of the Air Force since 1972.