North Korea Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Michael Gott

Mike is a veteran of the New Hampshire public school system and has worked in grades 1-12. His role has varied from primary instructor to special needs support.

North Korea was formed in 1945 with Kim Il Sung ruling the country at every level. After his death his son then grandson took control of the country. Kim Il Sung's family have worked to ensure that the people of North Korea know nothing beyond what they tell them.

The Kim Family's Control of North Korea

Imagine if reading these words were illegal and if you were caught you and your family would be sent to prison forever. Would you try to learn, or be too afraid? Remember this as we study North Korea. North Korea is one of the least free countries in the world. Since its founding in 1945, one family has had total control of the country. The Kim family that controls the country brutally punishes anyone who asks certain questions. This creates a climate of fear for North Koreans.

Formation After World War II

During World War II Japanese forces invaded and controlled the peninsula of Korea. A peninsula is a small piece of land that is surrounded by water on most sides, but still connects to a mainland. The Korean peninsula is connected to China. When the war ended Japan was forced to give the land to America and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union wanted to create a dictatorship in Korea, and the Americans wanted to create a democracy. In a compromise, Korea was split in two. The Soviet Union established a dictatorship in the North placing Kim Il Sung in absolute control. His son Kim Jong Il would take control of the country after his death in 1997. After Kim Jong Il's death in 2011, his son Kim Jong Un took control of the country.

Kim Il Sung
Kim Il-Sung NK Lesson for Kids

The Korean War

Kim Il Sung believed that he was not in control of just North Korea, but the rightful ruler of all of Korea, including the South. On June 25, 1950, North Korean soldiers invaded South Korea in an attempt to take control of the Korean peninsula. The Korean War lasted three years and on July 27, 1953, an armistice was signed between North and South Korea. An armistice is different from a treaty. A treaty is a statement that two countries are not at war. The armistice between North and South Korea says they will not fight, but they are still at war. The armistice established a two mile border between the two countries. This two mile stretch of land is covered in bombs and is one of the most dangerous places in the world. The border between North and South Korea is marked by the 38th parallel. Parallels are imaginary lines on a map running east to west to help measure northern or southern directions.

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