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Feb. 6 marks the 100th birthday of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Few political figures in recent memory have matched the Gipper's charisma or enduring appeal. We look at other world leaders whose legacies have stood the test of time
Kim Il-Sung, the father of communist North Korea, began his political life by fleeing Japanese rule of his homeland. After some Soviet training and membership in a local communist party, Kim returned to Korea during World War II and established a communist government in 1948. For the next half-decade, Kim ruled North Korea with a brutal iron fist. While promising great wealth for his country, Kim suppressed his people and fashioned a militaristic society. In 1950, he instigated the Korean War following an attempt to reunify the peninsula. (He was rebuffed by U.S. and UN forces.) After the war, the state-run economy, based on Kim's philosophy of "self-reliance," grew fairly rapidly but stagnated in the 1990s. When Kim Il-Sung died in 1994, his son Kim Jong-Il naturally succeeded him, continuing many of his father's heavy-handed policies. Today, the country is now desperately poor and heavily reliant on aid from China. While Kim Il-Sung's presence is still widely felt some two decades after his death, he is also still seen. Some say that the presumptive heir to lead North Korea, Kim Jong-un, looks eerily like his grandfather.