Quote by Christopher Hitchens

Even in former days, Korea was known as the 'hermit kingdom' for its stubborn resistance to outsiders. And if you wanted to create a totally isolated and hermetic society, northern Korea in the years after the 1953 'armistice' would have been the place to start. It was bounded on two sides by the sea, and to the south by the impregnable and uncrossable DMZ, which divided it from South Korea. Its northern frontier consisted of a long stretch of China and a short stretch of Siberia; in other words its only contiguous neighbors were Mao and Stalin. (The next-nearest neighbor was Japan, historic enemy of the Koreans and the cruel colonial occupier until 1945.) Add to that the fact that almost every work of man had been reduced to shards by the Korean War. Air-force general Curtis LeMay later boasted that 'we burned down town in North Korea,' and that he grounded his bombers only when there were no more targets to hit anywhere north of the 38th parallel. Pyongyang was an ashen moonscape. It was Year Zero. Kim Il Sung could create a laboratory, with controlled conditions, where he alone would be the engineer of the human soul.

Even in former days, Korea was known as the 'hermit kingdom'


This quote explains the historical isolation of North Korea, particularly after the Korean War and the armistice in 1953. Describing the country as a "hermit kingdom," the quote highlights how North Korea was geographically bounded by the sea, the impregnable DMZ, and China and Russia as its primary neighbors. Furthermore, it emphasizes the devastating impact of the Korean War, with General Curtis LeMay's claim that much of North Korea was destroyed, leaving Pyongyang in ruins. This desolation served as the foundation for Kim Il Sung to cultivate a controlled, isolated society where he wielded complete control over the people's lives and beliefs.

By Christopher Hitchens
Liked the quote? Share it with your friends.

Random Quotations