How Nationalism Impacts North Korea Politically
There are many nations in the world that have warring political parties, or nationalistic ideas that help shape the political system of the country, but North Korea is not like that. Instead the political system uses nationalism to help shape the views of the people in the country on what it is and what it should be like. In an interesting turn of events, the political system in North Korea is the cause of nationalism, and not the other way around, but it is this system that keeps North Korea in the favor of the people in the nation. This isn’t necessarily widespread love and acceptance, as many people in North Korea do not enjoy living in the country, but it does help solidify the fact that North Korea has a long standing political system that will not change, and people must find some way to express their love and acceptance of the nation whether they agree with it or not. The promotion of nationalism through the political system of North Korea has shaped the nation in a number of ways. It has led to a unique military system, eternal leaders, and a form of expression that constantly pushes the views and philosophies of the Korean people in a unique way.
The concept of North Korean nationalism is known as Juche or the Juche Idea. This idea promotes three key factors. These factors are Independence in politics, self-sustenance in the economy, and self-defense in national defense. It is this idea that promotes North Korea and it promotes nationalism in the country. There are no fighting parties in North Korea, there is simply one party, and it is that party that promotes absolute control over the nation. Through the implementation of its Juche Idea and propaganda, the political system of North Korea remains relatively unchanged, and it has a strong impact on the people around it. Using the Juche Idea, North Korea remains under communist rule, and it has held onto that political system since its original institution. It was their initial resistance and freedom from Japan that led to the doctrine and political viewpoint of North Korea. It was and still is run by a small group of people that fought in the Japanese resistance. By the time the 1960s came around the Juche ideal had come into play, and it led to the people of North Korea being constantly fed the idea of self-sustainment. This idea help promoted the North Korea political structure today, and more importantly the nationalism that exists in the country today. Through the use of these ideals, and the forceful manner of the political structure of the government, a manner that promotes self-sustainment and patriotism, the political system is not so much structured by nationalism, but it has been allowed to remain intact due to the strong sense of nationalism by the people. Being as it that nationalism is something that is promoted constantly by the government it is clear that the end goal of the group is that being self-sufficient is the best way to be successful.
North Korea constantly uses sources of propaganda and other forms to promote the Juche idea presented by the government so long ago. Because of the fact that it is run solely by the government, there are no competing groups. Being a country founded by socialism and communism, there is no opportunity for there to be competing groups. If a group were to compete against the government, it would be fighting against the rules of the government and in turn it would soon be destroyed. Nationalism is used for one main purpose, and that is to keep the people of North Korea knowing and believing that the policies of the country are not only effective, but they are what’s best for the nation. It is this belief that propels North Korea to work in the manner that it does without any opposition from its people. In fact, all expressive aspects of the North Korea have some sort of Juche touch to it that helps promote the nationalistic views of the nation. North Korea, dominated by the communism and socialism, uses its arts and literature to help legitimate the thoughts of Juche and what the government believes. The artistic activities in the country are based on the Juche Thought of socialism.
There are many reasons as to why North Korea continues to push nationalism in the country. The nation has followed suit with communism and socialism despite it failing in many nations in the late 1900s. It is this nationalism that preserves the support of the people of the nation. This nationalistic view also allows North Korea to preserve its unique political system. The political system of this country focuses on centralization. Although the people of North Korea do have their basic human rights, it comes at a cost. When it comes to freedom of expression, the people do not have the ability to express themselves openly. In fact, people are watched very closely by the government. The Worker’s Part of Korea is the one and only political party that is legally allowed to exist, in essence there isn’t really a political party just one political system that cannot be argued against or contested by the people of North Korea.
This party has been in place since North Korea first existed in 1948. It is this concept of nationalism that has kept Korea from failing despite its many negative aspects. More importantly is the fall of the nation’s economy and the subsequent famine that occurred after the cold war. From 1994 to 1998 there was a severe food shortage, and several people died and experienced malnutrition. North Korea was heavily reliant at the time on Soviet Union aid, but when it collapsed, the North Korean economy collapsed as well. Without the fast response of the government, the North Korean economy continued to drop. Men, women, and children were facing malnutrition. Even the military, who received the military first treatment, were unable to get any rations, and if they did it was of the very basic amount. This lead to one of the most severe famines in the world, which concluded with an estimated three million people dying from starvation, but despite this famine the North Korean nation, still remained strong, and there was no talk or dispute of whether or not the nation would undergo any change. There was still strong nationalism in North Korea that helped hold up the nation and people’s view of the nation even during this time when there was constant starvation amongst the people of the country. Even today, after receiving constant aid from other nations, North Korea still stands at the precipice of widespread famine, and people still have trouble getting food.
The way that nationalism is strengthened in North Korea is through propaganda. People are constantly being shown pictures and videos that demonstrate what the leaders of the nation are doing or how they feel about the country or how they plan on helping out others. During the food shortage mentioned earlier, there were pictures of Kim Jong-il choosing to eat the same meals as other people in North Korea. In fact, the entire famine was called a food shortage that was due to bad weather and a failure for people to implement the teachings of Kim, but still stated that the situation was better than being outside of the nation. There were even attempts to urge people to eat things that were non-nutritious and harmful to the body. Everything about the North Korean culture has some sort of propaganda aspect to it. The art features militaristic themes usually, and it helps promote the military first ideals of the country. Music involves songs being dedicated to the leaders of the nation. Korean films have the central theme of showing how good Korean life is, and how bad western life tends to be.
Nationalism is a strong driving force in North Korea. It serves as a way for people to keep their faith in the nation, no matter what situation may occur. It did not just lead to the institution of the current political system, but it also has kept that political system alive, even in recent years as the nation experiences issues in malnutrition and economic problems. North Korea has received a lot of bad publicity and press within other nations, which include South Korea and the United States, but the propaganda and growth of North Korea in terms of nationalism and pushing its Juche ideas have continued to rise. Even now, the country has created social network accounts and media in order to reach out to more people and promote the belief and ideals of North Korea for its people. It is these accounts that promote the state of North Korea whether it is doing well or doing poorly, and it helps keep the political system alive, by force feeding the people in the country specific view and ideals.
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