According to reports, the North Korean government conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test in late July. This missile could have the ability to reach Los Angeles and other West Coast cities, according to specialists. The threat level has increased with the launch of a second long-range missile in the past month, leading the United States and South Korea to conduct a combined missile practice.
Despite being one of the most oppressive, remote, and impoverished countries on the planet, North Korea has developed a sizable army and a stockpile of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that directly threaten the United States and its Asian allies.
So how did it get like this?
1910-1945: Japanese colonization
Japan begins a 35-year period of frequently cruel military dominance over Korea (north and south), colonizing both regions and attempting to eradicate the country’s unique language and culture.
1948: North and South Korea form distinct states
By August 1948, the pro-U.S. Republic of Korea (South Korea) is established in Seoul, led by Syngman Rhee, a staunch anti-communist. Three weeks later, the communist guerrilla leader Kim Il-sung takes over as the head of the Soviet-supported Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), which is based in Pyongyang.
1950-1953: The Korean War
In an endeavor to reunite Korea under Kim Il-rule, sung’s North Korean armed troops invaded the South on June 25, 1950, with assistance from the Soviet Union and China. The United States supports the South. An estimated 3 million people were killed over the three years of fierce fighting, including about 35,000 Americans.
1953–1970s: Building a Stalinist state
North Korea establishes itself as a self-described workers’ state under Kim Il-sung. It practices Juche, a self-reliance philosophy that supports Korean independence.
Late 1970s–1990s: Isolation
In the 1980s, however, North Korea stagnated as South Korea’s economy began to boom; it remained heavily focused on mining and steel production, failing to innovate and diversify its industries sufficiently.
1994 – 2016: The nuclear era
With growing isolation and loss of Soviet protection, Kim Jong-il’s government announced a new policy called “First Army” or “Military First.” It makes the Korean People’s Army the most powerful political and economic state power and the largest recipient of resources in the country.
PIC: HISTORY.COM, KATEHON.COM, National Geographic Society, NASA, Rand Corporation