The attitude of the secret service of the GDR on the Ideological path of the DPRK

Both being countries at the outer borders of the 'socialist camp', and both being countries which existed under the circumstances of a divided nation, the German Democratic Republic [GDR] and the Demokratic Peoples Republic of Korea [DPRK] did share a somewhat similar political experience. The importance of the relationship between the two countries was stressed by a visit of the German head of state, Erich Honnecker, to the DPRK in 1977. This was being followed by a visit of the Korean head of state, Kim Il Sung, to Germany, in the year of 1984. Also a project such as the rebuilding of the city of Hamhung, which had been destroyed in the course of the War on the Korean peninsula, by the 'German Working Group Hamhung' [Deutsche Arbeitsgruppe Hamhung] in the 1950s and 1960s is a strong indicator for the importance of the relationship between the two small socialist states.

But despite the fact that both countries were in fact part of the 'socialist camp' during the era of the cold war, they did develope on diverging ideological pathways. A both very interesting and informative historical source [1] in this regard are reports which were written by the Ministry of State Security of the GDR [Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS)] on the topic of the DPRK in the course of the 1980s. These documents were published to the general public by the Federal Repulic of Germany after the collapse of the GDR. The reports cover a wide range of topics. Mainly covering the activities of Korean students and Korean military personnel in the GDR, as well as experiences gained from diplomatic and military personnel of the GDR which were active on the soil of the DPRK. The aim of this short article it focus on the general ideological criticism of the researchers of the secret service of the GDR in regards to the general ideological pathway of the DPRK. This criticism can be found mostly in the 'Country Dossiers' [2] [Länderdossiers], which the secret service of the GDR created in preparation to the visits of different military and political delegations from the DPRK to the GDR.

It shall become visible that the most inner political apparatus of the GDR was convinced and followed the increasingly 'liberal', 'individualistic' and 'globalistic' course of the USSR in the later course of her development.

I will present the results of the Dossiers written by the secret service of the GDR in the following overview. I will divide the relevant statements made in the dossier in positive evaluations and such that express a negative evaluation.


Positive evaltuations found.

  • The DPRK is being decribed as a 'stable socialist Nation'.
  • The strength and effectiveness of the system of ideological education of the DPRK is being acknowledged. It is described as being the most effective system of ideological education in the whole world, not allowing any external ideological influences.
  • The effectiveness of the system of education and of the daycare system of the DPRK is being acknowleged. Further, the effectiveness of the healthcare system is being acknowledged.
  • The authors acknowledge that the workers of the DPRK probably work harder than the workers ofany other country on the world.
  • It is being acknowledged that the general priorities of the population of the DPRK are idealistic and not materialistic. There are very few Material interests in the hearts and minds of the population of the DPRK.
  • The general high degree of organisation of the society is being acknowledged.
  • The citizens of the DPRK are showing a high degree of loyalty to their nation.

„It is very unlikely to receive any information of high intelligence value from them“.


Negative evaluations found.

  • The „ultranationalist turn“ in the DPRK began at the end of the 1950s.
  • Excessive worship of Kim Il Sung is being criticized.
  • The official ideology of the DPRK would make several statements about „the leader“ and „faith“, which are „opposed to socialism“.
  • The concept that the „national organism“ could only live through the leadership of a single leader is being criticized.
  • The „Juche“ Ideology requires the society to be monolithic, just as the party is. This is being critisizded. „Juche“ would not leave any free space for the individual human being. The activity of the individual human being is confined to its task to gain the set of knowledge that is required to fulfill its specific role in the monolithic, collectivist „Juche“ nation-state, and then to fulfill its role. - Philosophical criticism of the „Idealisitic voluntarism“ of „Juche“, which is being described as leading to a „desolate economical practice“, is being expressed. The leadership of the party would make requirements which are impossible to be fulfilled in practice.
  • The Ideology of „Juche" is being described as 'partly undialectic interpretation of MarxismLeninism'. The Authors describe „Juche“ as representing a "wrong evaluation of the current historical stage".
  • A mandatory two hours of study of ideological writings per day are described as lowering the economic potential of the DPRK. In general, the economical development of the DPRK is being described as undynamic.
  • The DPRK is not acknowledging the general trend of relaxation and cooperation between socialistand capitalist countries, which is emering on a global scale.
  • Contact between citizens of the DPRK and foreigners is being „prevented by force“.- The general „blockade of information“, which prevents the citizens of the DPRK to gain any information from foreign countries, is being criticized. The state-media is being described as „excessively uniform and authoritarian-instructive”.
  • The „naive national pride“ of the citizens of the DPRK is being criticized, a „naive belief in the own superiority“. Juche is being described as a „hypernationalistic absolutizing of the own standarts“. Thus, the Ideology of „Juche“ is described as  underestimating the political value of the USSR, since it places too big of an emphasis on the nation, and is not willing to accept the value of such a supra-national construct as the USSR.
  • The „radical concept of autarchy“ is critisized as leading to an inability to learn from others. The will to realize the ideal of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism in reality is strong in the DPRK. This is described to be leading to „severe consequences“.
  • The stress of the DPRK on economical autarchy is described as an obstacle on the way to an „international, socialist division of labour“.
  • There is no means of complaint against the government in the hands of the normal citizens of the DPRK. Also, there is no „democratic discussion“, which would include a „competition of differing opinions“.
  • The DPRK is being described as overexaggerating the threat posed by the capitalist nations on the Korean peninsula.
  • There strong „miliary atmosphere“ in the whole society is being criticized.
  • The style of the implementation of building projects is being criticized. The authors pertain that there would be too big on an emphasis on letting masses of people process masses of raw material in short periods of time, while the actual quality and accuracy of the building structure is lacking behind.


Conclusion and Personal Comment.

Reading the evalutions made by the German secret service shown above, it becomes visible that at least parts of the state-apparatus of the GDR were already on a liberalist and globalist course in the 1980s, just as the USSR was. The general liberalist and globalist course of ideological development would be further enforced by the USSR by its reforms of „Glasnost“ and „Perestroika“ starting from 1986. The secret service of the GDR in his secret report is, in fact, almost writing like a modern western, liberal newspaper [in the 2020s]. The high degree of ideological divergence of the GDR and the USSR in relation to the DPRK becomes very visible here. A materialistic, individualistic and globalist political philosophy is becoming visible to the reader in this secret report.

National pride is being ridiculed at. National economic autarchy is being displayed as irrational and ineffective. The multinational, multiethnical empire of the USSR, carrying out liberal, individualistic and capitalist reforms, is being praised as a guiding example. The socialist, ethnic national state of the DPRK, which is following an idealistic political philosophy, concentrated on the figure of the leader and denying all individualistic excesses, is being criticized. The Ideological disorder of the USSR is being praised, and the Ideological, unified order and discipline of the DPRK is being criticized. And so further and so on.

On the 19th of June 1997, Kim Jong Il published the article „On Preserving the Juche Character and National Character of Construction“ [3]. Herein he offers a clear and distinct criticism of the attitude shown above. As if answering directly to the attitude shown in the secret dossiers written by the German secret service, he is criticizing the wrong concept of Internationalism, which was being pertained by other countries of the socialist camp.

„However, the parties in several countries which were building socialism in the past failed to advance a new theory and a new policy in keeping with the changed new reality and find correct solutions to the problems arising in ensuring the independent development of countries and nations. The parties of these countries regarded the national contingents carrying out the revolution and construction to meet their people's desires and to suit their national characteristics and their countries' specific situations within the world socialist movement as contradicting internationalism, and did not pay due attention to the matter of keeping independence of the countries and nations and sustaining the national characteristics. „

Further, as if answering directly to the criticism of the German secret service, which complained that there would be a „monolithic society“ in the DPRK, Kim Jong Il is writing the follwing.

„The imperialists have cooked up the trend of a "monolithic world" for the purpose of reducing the whole world to the western-style "freed world" and subjugating and assimilating all nations to themselves. All countries and nations must see clearly the danger of the imperialist policy of obliterating nations which is pursued in the name of the trend towards a "monolithic" world and must intensify the struggle to defeat the dominationist manoeuvres of the imperialists. „

Kim Jong Il is shedding light on a very important state of affairs here. In fact, the real danger is not the so called „monolithic society“ created in a souvereign, free socialist, national state such as the DPRK. The real danger is the „New World Order“, i.e. the monolithic world state, or a state of only a few „continental empires“, which dark forces are trying to create now for even more than hundred years. The total annihilation of national spirits and individual national characters by a lifeless „free“ and „modern“ world-society under the leadership of evil forces is their aim.

They complain that the „liberties of the free individual“ would be lost in a „monolithic society“ like the DPRK.  But what is the individual's worth, if all it can do is live a seemingly „free“ life in a monolithic, infantilized prison of radical and lifeless consumerism, that has no connection to his inner routes and his real organic being ? None, I say. 

„In south Korea where our national traits have been seriously trampled upon because of the flunkeyist, traitorous acts of the successive reactionary rulers, the soul of the nation and beautiful customs are now being totally erased by the clamor of the authorities for anti-national "internationalization" and "globalization."

A people that does not want to be a slave to these evil tendencies must build a political movment under the leadership of one determined leader. This is the wisdom and the central philosophical realization of the Juche-Idea. A single leader is needed, because only he can guarantee that no conspirative forces can invade into the ranks of the liberating, revolutionary movement.

Only a single leader can create the unimaginable wonder. Only his single, unified and idealistic will and power are able to create such a reality that is beyond the imagination ordinary man. Only the great man can open up the gates to a new earth and a new heaven. And great men are rare. But Kim Il Sung is such a leader, such a great man, who fulfilled this deed. He had the power, the will and the historical momentum, the blessing of the eternal flow of history. This is why he is a heroic being on the rank of world history.

Kim Il Sung is a hero in the fight against the lifeless and destructive tide of the monolithic „New World Order“. Thus, he is a hero of life. A hero of freedom. A hero of real democracy, a democracy in which the people rules itself directly through the heroic will of its son, the great man.

„Rock-solidly united around the great leader Comrade KIM IL SUNG, the Party and people categorically rejected and frustrated the great-power chauvinism which stood in the way of our revolution.In the past the great-power chauvinists slandered the maintenance of Juche by our Party and people in the revolution and construction as "Nationalism" and "Isolationism" and exerted pressure upon us. However, we fought them without compromise in order to save the destiny of the country, nation and socialism. „

All the people of the nation, the individuals, have to gather around the leader, and follow him unconditionally. Giving all their life and their trust to him.  The nation that is on the way to itself, i.e. a nation on the revolutionary path of the Juche-Idea, has no room for individualist tendencies. This is based on the following philosophical realization: As a human, my real being is not to be found first and foremost in myself, but rather in the larger, organic collective, to which I belong, which bore me, and which educated and loved me. So for all of us, who belong to this collective, in order to find our real being, we must not look for fulfillment in individualistic philosophies. Living a life on the basis of an individualistic philosophies, we will not find our real being, which is the collective. And also, we will very likely fall pray to conspirative forces, that will make use of us. We shall give our lifes to the great being, the great man of our collective. And follow him, when he calls us. Thus, we can become ourselves. Through his will, we can become free. Following him is the way to ourselves. This is a dialectical insight of greatest profoundity.

Being a puppet-state of the USSR and its destructive course, the GDR and its secret service could of course not achive such a state of mind as outlined by me above. They ridicule national pride and the spirit of self-reliance. In their mind, there is already the seed of the „World State“ in the hand of dark forces. It is thus only a logical consequence that such „socialist“ states as the GDR failed. Because they were not socialist. They only showed their true faces by turning into openly globalistcapitalist states. Only a factually socialist state, such as the state of the Juche-Idea which was created by Kim Il Sung, can prevail, because its basis is the organic life of the nation. And not empty words and lies. In the light of what we have said until now, the spirit of real Internationalism, as put forward by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il can become finally understandable.

Internationalism is not building an empire which is containing many nations, such as the USSR.

Internationalism is also not giving up ones factual autarchy and sovereignty for the sake of a „socialist central party“ or of „socialist internatinal division of labour“. Internationalism is also not globalist Cosmopolitainism as it is popular in today's academic cirlces [in the 2020s]. True internationalism is the cooperation of sovereign nations.

„There are many countries and nations in the world, and each country and nation has its own characteristics, but all the countries and nations are equal and independent. International unity and solidarity are the relationships of mutual support and cooperation among the countries and nations which aspire after independence. These relationships can develop as truly voluntary and durable relationships only on the basis of ensuring the independent development of each country and nation and respecting each other's independence. Unity and cooperation based on independence constitute a truly internationalist relationship among countries and nations. When the Juche character and national character are suppressed, and when the independence of countries and nations is trampled upon, inequality and discord occur among countries and nations, and unity and cooperation become impossible. The socialist cause is a national cause and also an international cause, and the world socialist cause advances and is accomplished through the process of victory and development of the revolution in each country. Only when the people of each country carry out the revolution and construction in their country successfully as masters can the world socialist cause advance triumphantly. „


„Those who have the blood and soul of the Korean nation must link their own destiny with the destiny of the country and nation and fight devoting body and soul [...]“ - KIM JONG IL


[1] [Latest access 30.03.2020]

[2] [Latest access 30.03.2020]

[3] [Latest access 30.03.2020]

Category: Juche Idea | Added by: redstartvkp (20/04/16) | Author: Fritz Schmidt
Views: 489 | Tags: Juche, North Korea, GDR, DPRK-GDR relations, DPRK, Korea