Cheers of the Whole Nation Mural

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Pyongyang, North Korea
Cheers of the Whole Nation Mural - Kim Il-sung’s Oct 1945 Speech – Extract
Cheers of the Whole Nation Mural - Welcome Home Kim Il-sung
Cheers of the Whole Nation Mural - Introduced to their New Leader – Kim Il-sung
Cheers of the Whole Nation Mural - Cheers of the Whole Nation – Mural

Cheers of the Whole Nation Mural Pyongyang Reviews

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Welcome Home Kim Il-sung Feb 12, 2017
On 14 October 1945 over 100,000 people gathered here, beside the present day Kim Il-Sung Stadium and the Arch of Triumph, to celebrate the liberation of Korea, by the Russian army, from the evil clutches of Japan which had occupied the country for 35 years.

The event was organised by the Russians and was used to introduce the people to their new leader, one Kim Il-sung. Kim Il-sung, an unknown Korean officer of the Red Army personally selected by Joseph Stalin, was introduced as the legendary guerrilla leader who had fought the Japanese for 20 years in Manchuria and Korea. There was apparently some disbelief when a suave, good looking man in his early thirties moved to the microphone.

The crowd had expected a battle wearied man in his fifties. Kim Il-sung in a poorly translated speech originally written for him in Russian outlined Stalin’s (whoops his!) plan for the development of a strong independent Korea. He announced:

“The time has come when we Korean people have to unite our strength to build a new, democratic Korea. People from all strata should display patriotic enthusiasm and turn out to build a new Korea. To contribute positively to the work of building the state, let those with strength give strength, let those with knowledge give knowledge, let those with money give money, and let all people who truly love their country, their nation and democracy unite closely and build an independent and sovereign democratic state.”

As they say, the rest is history. Kim Il-sung took control.

Even Stalin could not have imagined that this obscure officer, this no-body, would create a cult of personality even greater than his and set up an iron fisted imperial dynasty which he would personally lead for almost 50 years before his son and then his grandson would succeed him and still maintain control 70 years later. Not only that, but that history would be rewritten such that Russia’s role in the liberation of Korea would be removed and the Great Leader himself would personally assume all adulation as liberator of Korea. A similar rewriting of the history of the Korean War would later almost remove the critical role played by China and its Peoples’ Liberation Army in that war.

While Stalin, Mao, Hitler and many others have been forgotten, or worse, in their countries, Kim Il-sung who died in 1994, continues to be worshipped and lives on in the hearts of North Koreans. In fact, he remains the official and Eternal President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

This “ Cheers of the Whole Nation” mural, the largest mural I saw during my trip, shows a cheering crowd welcoming Kim Il-sung back to Pyongyang after his 20 years of struggle to liberate the country from 35 years of Japanese occupation. Take note that, big and detailed as the mural is, surprise, surprise, there is not one Russian or reference to Russia to be seen anywhere therein.

The large granite block to the left of the mural (as you look at it) contains an extract of Kim Il-sung’s October 1945 speech.

As you look at the mural, behind you (as you will have noticed) is the Arch of Triumph (separate review), Kim Jong-il’s 70th birthday present to this father, more formally celebrating his father’s role in liberating Korea from Japanese rule.
Cheers of the Whole Nation – Mur…
Introduced to their New Leader –…
Welcome Home Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung’s Oct 1945 Speech …
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