The People's Army in the Making

    KPA: The Organization

    The Korean People's Army is designated as the "revolutionary armed wing" of the Worker's Party by Article 46 of the party constitution, with first and foremost loyalties to the party. Also, in light of the elder and junior Kims' personality cults and their paramount status in the party organization, it would not be a great exaggeration to consider the KPA a private army of the Kim clan.

    The institution known as the Korean People's Army was established on Feb. 08, 1948, which was celebrated as Armed Forces Day before it was changed to April 25th in 1978, the date Kim Il-sung is supposed to have formed his band of anti-Japanese guerrillas (later supposedly renamed the Korean People's Revolutionary Army) in 1932.

    Creation of the KPA

    Starting a party, the army, and the country. These were the three things that occupied North Korean communists immediately following the liberation. It was in the interest of the Soviets to establish a communist government in North Korea, and organization of the armed forces was met with wholehearted Soviet support.

    The Soviet 25th Army headquarters in Pyongyang issued a statement ordering all armed resistance groups in the northern part of the peninsula to disband on Oct. 12, 1945. Two thousand Koreans with previous experience in the Soviet army were sent to various locations around the country to organize constabulary forces with permission from Soviet military headquarters, and the force was created on Oct. 21st.

    The headquarters felt a need for a separate unit for security around railways, and the formation of the was announced on Jan. 11, 1946. Then the (CO: Choi Yong-gun) was brought into being on Aug. 15 of the same year to supervise existing security forces and creation of the national armed forces.

    Military institutes such as the Pyongyang Academy (becomes No. 2 KPA Officers School in Jan. 1949) and the Central Constabulary Academy (becomes KPA Military Academy in Dec. 1948) soon followed for education of political and military officers for the new armed forces.

    After basic military organization was established in the ranks, along with creation of facilities to educate its future leaders, the Constabulary Discipline Corps was reorganized into the [North Korean People's Army Corps Headquarters], and the security units now had a formal command center. The semi-official units became military regulars with distribution of Soviet uniforms, badges, and weapons that followed the inception of the headquarters.

    The State Security Department, a forerunner to the Ministry of Defense, was created as part of the Interim People's Committee on Feb. 4th, 1948. The formal creation of the Korean People's Army was announced four days later on Feb. 8th, seven months before the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was proclaimed (Sept. 09, 1948).

    Creation of the Naval & Air Forces

    The history of a naval force in North Korea began with the creation of a Maritime Security Force on June 5th, 1946. Supervision for the force came from its newly-organized headquarters in Wonsan (July 1946). The headquarters were then expanded and moved to Pyongyang for more effective management of seabound traffic, and the forces were renamed Marine Patrols in December of the same year. The Marine Patrol Academy was established in Wonsan in June 1947 in order to train and commission a professional corps of naval officers.

    Initially operating under the Ministry of Interior, commanding authority was transferred to the National Security Department on August 20th, 1949. The introduction of a torpedo squadron into the unit on August 29th, made it formally recognized as a naval force, and the date was commemorated as Navy Day until it was changed to honor the June 5th date in 1993.

    The first air squadron in North Korea was civilian and was formed on Oct. 25th, 1945, and operated under the name Sinuiju Aviators. It was inaugurated as a military unit when the flyers were incorporated into the Pyongyang Academy as its air wing on June 7th, 1945. The Pyongyang Academy Air Wing and the school's aviation cadets were merged into a formal combat squadron and placed under the Army Corps Headquarters. June 7th has been celebrated as Air Force Day since it was first recognized in 1972.