North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

8 February Army Day to be Commemorated

A sidearm presented in 1940 by Kim Il Sung to his first wife Kim Jong Suk (Photo: KCNA).

The Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Political Bureau publicized a decision on January 22 (Monday) that the Army Foundation Day would be marked on February 8, reverting to the historical anniversary when the Korean People’s Army [KPA] was established. 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the KPA.

According to the Political Bureau’s decision “Feb. 8 Chuch’e 37 (1948) is a historic day when the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army developed into the regular revolutionary armed forces, declaring the birth of the KPA.  After the liberation of the country, President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) set it as essential for the building of an independent and sovereign state to found a strong regular army, and founded the KPA, the Chuch’e-type revolutionary regular armed forces which inherited the anti-Japanese tradition, in less than three years with his outstanding idea on army-building and energetic leadership.”

The Political Bureau decided decided that to “add luster to the revolutionary feats of the President (KIS), “that February 8…when the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng developed the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army into the regular revolutionary armed forces will be marked as the found anniversary of the Korean People’s Army” and “in this regard, April 25 Chuch’e 21 (1932) when he founded the first revolutionary armed forces will be marked as the founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army.”

WPK Political Bureau

The February 8 Army Foundation Day will be marked with a parade through Kim Il Sung Square, which according to satellite imagery has been undergoing rehearsals and preparation since November 2017 at the Mirim Base in east Pyongyang.  Also on February 8 “party organizations at all levels will conduct political-ideological education and significantly hold diverse events for making the servicepersons, Party members and other working people deeply grasp the feats of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung for the building of the regular revolutionary armed forces on the occasion of Feb. 8 every year” and that “the Cabinet and other relevant organs will take practical steps to significantly mark the founding anniversary of the KPA.”

A November 24, 2017 view of military parade preparations at the Mirim facility in east Pyongyang (Photo: 38 North).

The last time February 8 was given the full, proper DPRK treatment as a major holiday was in 1977.  According to a KCNA report from Feburary 3, 1977:

Lecture meetings and explanatory conversations on the Chuch’e-based idea and theory of the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng on the building of the armed forces, his brilliant military strategy and tactics, outstanding methods of war and art of command and the respected and beloved leader’s deep love and solicitude for the People’s Army soldiers are being widely held at industrial establishments, cooperative. farms and schools to imbue the working people and school youth and children with infinite loyalty to the great leader and the glorious party.

With February 8 Army Day at hand, working people and school youth and children of Pyongyang, the capital of revolution, are visiting the Korean Revolution Museum and the memorial of the victory in the fatherland liberation war. And Seminars and study meetings on the reminiscences telling about the heroic struggle of the anti-Japanese guerrillas and fighters of the People’s Army who remained infinitely loyal to the respected and beloved leader are widely organized at industrial establishments, cooperative farms and schools.

At the central report meeting held on February 8, 1977, then-Colonel-General Kim Ik Hyon [Kim Ik-hyo’n] (at that time Vice Chief of the KPA General Staff) said in his report, according to KCBS:

With the founding of the KPA, our people became resourceful people in a full-fledged, independent country with its own powerful regular armed force; they became a powerful and prestigious people capable of reliably defending the revolutionary gains from the encroachment of all class enemies and of victoriously accelerating the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e.

The KPA, which has inherited the brilliant revolutionary traditions of the anti-Japanese armed struggle, is the true revolutionary army of the working class, the glorious army of Comrade Kim Il-so’ng which takes the revolutionary ideas of the great leader as the guiding cause of Chuch’e.  Over the past 29 years since its founding, our People’s Army, deeply aware of its glorious revolutionary mission and its noble historic mission, has remained infinitely loyal to the great leader and performed undying feats for the Fatherland and the revolution.

The respected and beloved leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng has taught: Through its heroic, self-sacrificing struggle, the Peoples Army has acquitted itself well of the revolutionary tasks it assumed before our homeland and people and has added many brilliant successes to the revolutionary history of our party, a history which provides a shining example for generations to come.

Despite various difficulties and trials, officers and men of the KPA have always retained fiery loyalty to the great leader and stubbornly fought along the one road of victory indicated by the leader. Personnel of the People’s Army have thought and acted at any time and at any place as dictated by the idea and wishes of the leader and staunchly defended and adhered to the unitary ideology of the party. Under the slogan “Let us defend the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Kim Il-so’ng with our Lives” our People’s Army firmly guarded the unity in ideology and purpose, and the revolutionary cohesion of the whole ranks rallied firmly around the great leader, smashing the maneuvers of the betrayers of revolution and the anti-party, counterrevolutionary factional elements and resolutely defended the gains of the revolution from the encroachment of all kinds of enemies.

Indeed, the soldiers of our People is Army have always fought resolutely and loyally, politically and ideologically with their lives, carrying out the teachings and orders of the respected and beloved leader and safeguarding the fatherland and people. The unbounded loyalty of the Peoples Army soldiers to the respected and beloved leader and their infinite devotion to the fatherland and people were fully displayed in the arduous fatherland liberation war against the imperialist armed invaders and their lackeys.

February 8, 1978 was marked as Army Day, but was being phased out in favor of the April 25 holiday which had been commemorated as the anniversary of the KPA’s foundation since then.  On February 8, 1978 Rodong Sinmun published the following editorial:

Today is the 50th anniversary of the day when the great leader comrade Kim Il-so’ng strengthened and developed the revolutionary armed force of our people into a regular armed force. We greet this significant day amid majestic circumstances in which the entire party and people are vigorously accelerating a general advance movement to implement the new prospective plan, upholding the letter of the party Central Committee.

It was in 1948 that the KPA, the regular revolutionary armed force of our people, was founded. But our people came to possess their true revolutionary armed force when the great leader comrade Kim Il-song founded the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (KPRA).

The founding of the KPRA by the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng on 25 April 1932, during the most gloomy and arduous era of Japanese imperialist domination, was a revolutionary event which effected a new turning point in our revolutionary struggle. The birth of a revolutionary armed force of Chuch’e-type for the first time in our country made possible the realization of the long-cherished desire of our people to have their true revolutionary armed force. The glorious history of our revolutionary armed forces began at that point.

The great leader comrade Kim Il-so’ng’s founding of the KPA after liberation was the strengthening and developing of the KPRA into a regular revolutionary armed force. Therefore, the founding day of the KPA, which is the direct inheritor of the KPRA, is 25 April 1932.

The strengthening and developing of the KPA into a regular armed force 30 years ago was a new occasion to effect a new turning point in building our people’s revolutionary armed force.

Marking this day, all the people and officers and men of the peoples army extend utmost honor and warmest thanks to the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng who personally founded the KPA and strengthened and developed it into the invincible revolutionary armed force it is today, and who always leads our people and the KPA along the one road of victory and glory. Marking this day, our people extend warm congratulations to the officers and men of the land, naval and air forces and the people’s security, forces of the KPA who have gloriously performed their lofty duty for the Fatherland and the revolution and who reliably defend the safety of the socialist fatherland and the revolutionary gains.

The road which the KPA has traversed since it was strengthened and developed into a regular revolutionary armed force, is a glorious history in which the entire army is firmly armed with the great Chuch’e ideology and has been strengthened and developed into invincible combat ranks. It is a history of the proud struggle to firmly safeguard the fatherland’s independence and national sovereignty and to defend the cause of socialist and communist construction, cherishing infinite loyalty to the party and the revolution.

The respected and beloved leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng taught as follows: The people’s army has gloriously performed its revolutionary mission assigned before the fatherland and people with a heroic and self-sacrificing struggle spirit, and has recorded brilliant achievements in the history of our party’s revolution.

The KPA is the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng’s army, the glorious party is army and a faithful revolutionary army which struggles to defend and brilliantly realize the revolutionary cause created and developed by the leader, taking the great Chuch’e ideology as its leading guideline.

The KPA, which has been strengthened and developed into a regular revolutionary armed force under the wise leadership of the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng, has traversed a militant road of victory and glory and performed immortal achievements and heroic exploits for the fatherland and the nation in the past. In the peaceful construction period, the people’s army smashed the constant provocations and subversive activities by the U.S. imperialists and their stooges and thus reliably defended the revolutionary, democratic base of the northern half of the republic and the creative activities of our people for the construction of a new fatherland.

The burning loyalty of servicemen of the people’s army to the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng and their infinite devotion to the fatherland and people were unstintedly demonstrated in every battle of the past fatherland liberation war against the armed invasion of imperialists, headed by the U.S. imperialists. The brave servicemen of the people’s army gallantly fought, upholding the slogan “for the great leader, party and revolution,” defended the fatherland with blood, gave a fatal blow to the aggressors and thus won a great victory in the fatherland liberation war. .

The historic victory won by our people in the fatherland liberation war was a brilliant victory for the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng’s unique military ideology, outstanding strategy and tactics and extraordinary leadership art. It was also a demonstration of the invincible might of the political and ideological unity and solidarity of our people and peoples army who were firmly rallied around the respected and beloved leader.

In the postwar period, the people’s army firmly defended the fatherland, smashing the constant aggressive schemes by enemies at every stage and reliably defended our party and the peoples revolutionary cause of socialist revolution and construction.

Under the excellent and tested leadership of the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng, our people’s army has been strengthened into a one-beats- a hundred revolutionary armed force which has been tempered politically, ideologically, physically, militarily and technically.

Today the unitary ideological system is more firmly established in our people’s army than ever before, and militant solidarity and self-regulating discipline are firmly established among the officers and men. The officers and men of the people’s army are firmly armed with the finest military science and technology and, as a result, are fully acquainted with Chuch’e tactics. Due to the existence of such iron-like ranks, our people’s socialist construction cause and fatherland’s security have been reliably guaranteed.

In our country today the danger of perpetuating national division is daily increasing and the situation is becoming more tense. The grave situation created in our country today is totally due to the scheme for division and war by splittists within and without. Today the United States is trying to permanently divide our nation by inspiring the South Korean puppets and accelerating war preparations in South Korea.

Under the signboard of troop withdrawal, the United States is building up its armed forces in South Korea and abetting the South Korean puppets in new military ventures while increasing military aid to them.

The Pak Cho’ng-hu’i puppet clique is dashing along the road of treachery, division, fascism and war under the protection of outside forces.

This clique is running wild to freeze the country’s division and to fabricate “two Koreas” by craftily relying upon outside forces while clamoring about simultaneous entry into the United Nations, cross-recognition and the like. Shouting the slogans “all out security” and “smash enemies at the initial stage” and the like, the South Korean puppet clique is also accelerating militarization of the economy, increasing war exercises and thus heightening tension in the country.

As a result, the cause of peace and peaceful reunification in Korea has been threatened. To reunify the divided fatherland without foreign interference, with our people’s own efforts, under the principle of democracy and by peaceful means is the persistent stand and policy of our party and government of the republic.

As in the past, our people will in the future make all possible efforts to smash the splittists’ schemes for fabricating “two Koreas” and for war, and to realize the country’s independent and peaceful reunification.

Today our people and people’s army are faced with the heavy but glorious task of vigorously dashing forward at Ch’o’llima speed, of successfully occupying the heights of the new prospective plan and thus of expediting the complete victory of socialism and the fatherlands independent and peaceful reunification.

The respected and beloved leader comrade Kim Il-so’ng taught as follows: To arm soldiers politically and ideologically is the basic method for developing them as fighters for communism who are loyal to the party and revolution, and for strengthening our army.

First of all, political work should be strengthened in the people’s army, so as to thoroughly dye all members–commanders and soldiers–with the Chuch’e ideology. Thus, they should be brought up as true revolutionary fighters who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the party and revolution, and the fatherland and people.

Soldiers should be deeply indoctrinated concerning communism, class and socialist patriotism, so that they are armed with a revolutionary spirit which enables them to stand on a firm working class platform, to love the socialist fatherland and to struggle against class enemies.

With an alert attitude, all soldiers should effect continuous innovation in political study and in conducting battle training, while pursuing the spirit of revolutionary work, study and life which overflowed from the Paektu forest at the time of the anti-Japanese guerrillas, upholding the revolutionary slogan of ‘training, study and life- all in the manner of the anti-Japanese guerrillas.” .

By vigorously launching the movement to win the red flag of the three revolutions, our combat capability will be strengthened and our fatherland’s defense strength will be made iron clad.

All the people, by enhancing traditional national unity, should love and help members of the people’s army and constabulary as if they were their own sons and brothers–thus enabling them to loyally serve the army without worries.

Our people and the people’s army who are struggling to carry out correct tasks under the wise leadership of the great leader Comrade Kim Il-so’ng are always invincible. ,

Let us vigorously struggle and advance, firmly rally around the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song, to successfully accomplish the magnificent new prospective plan, win a complete victory for socialism and expedite the fatherland’s reunification.


This article was written on 26 Jan 2018, and is filled under 2017 Army Day (April 25), 2018 Army Day, 8 Feburary Army Foundation Day, basic party organizations, Central Committee, Central Military Committee, central party life, corps command, corps commanders, county/city party organizations, DPRK Cabinet, DPRK Civil Defense Forces, Executive Policy Bureau, General Affairs, General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, gsd, gsob, Guard Command, ideological slogans, Ideological Works, Information Section, internal security, Kim Family, Kim Il Sung Youth League, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo Jong, kisyl, KJI Personal Secretariat, KJI/KJU Ideological Works, Korean Democratic Women's Union, Korean People's Air Force, Korean People's Air Force [KPAF], Korean People's Army Supreme Command, Korean People's Internal Security Forces, Korean People's Army (KPA), Korean Workers' Party (KWP), KPA basic party organizations, KPA branch party organizations, KPA General Political Department, KPA General Propaganda Department, KPA General Staff, KPA Large Combined Units, KPA Organization Department, KPA Party Life, KPA supernumerary organizations, KPA Supreme Command, KPA WPK Committee, kpif, Lecture Guidance, Local Party Affairs, local people's committees, Military Affairs, military security command [msc], ministry of people's security, Ministry of State Security, Ministry of the People's Armed Forces (MPAF), MPAF GPB, Navy Command, North Korean press, Organization and Guidance Department, party cells, Party History Institute, party life, Party Life Guidance, Political Bureau, primary party committees, Propaganda and Agitation Department, Provincial Party Committees, Provincial Party System, Provinicial People's Committee, Public Events, Publication Guidance Bureau, Publications, Pyongyang Defense Command, reserve training units, RMTUs, Second Economy Commission, Secretariat, social control, State Affairs Commission, Supreme People's Assembly, uawk, worker peasant red guard, Worker Peasant Red Guard, Workers' and Social Organizations, Young Red Guard.

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