If you ever wondered how North Korea's Kim Jong Il got so crazy, wonder no more. With a father like Kim Il Sung, it is a wonder that Jong Il is not in a straitjacket and commanding a roomful of troll dolls to be his army.
Via The Kremlin
We blame his friends.
Kim Il Sung was the first president of North Korea after World War II, in 1945. His appointment by the Soviets demonstrated exactly how little they cared about the Koreans, because Kim wasn't very Korean at all (he had only eight years of formal schooling, and all of it in China -- he spoke so little Korean that he had to be coached during his first speech). The Soviets didn't realize he was nuts until he started the Korean War, which accomplished nothing beyond destroying half the country. And then, the man went truly apeshit.
He told his people that during WWII, he had taken part in more than 100,000 battles over 15 years. That computes to roughly 20 battles a day. Oh, and WWII lasted only six years. Do we even need to mention that in reality he hardly saw any combat in WWII? He also said that he could turn sand into rice and cross rivers on leaves, believing himself to be some sort of Korean Jesus.
If Jesus had cannons.
Kim then made 20 different "Kim Il Sung Badges" for people to wear, so that different classes could wear different badges. He had someone write a "Song of General Kim Il Sung." The first two bars were used as intervals in Korean radio and television, and in 2005, the Korean space program blasted that song into space, giving warning to aliens about the terribly contagious stupidity we have on Earth. In other words, he came up with the North Korean tradition of making propaganda a priority above food, education and sanity.But don't worry, he got what was coming to him ...
What happened to him?
Oh, wait. Kim died a fat and happy man in 1994.
Kim circa 1946.
Kim after he died.
A 10-day mourning period ensued, and hundreds of thousands of brainwashed Koreans came from all over the country to cry dramatically at the body. Thousands committed suicide, as obviously, there was no more reason to live.
In 1998, Kim Jong Il posthumously made his father the Eternal President of the Republic. Clearly, he could never fill those shoes.
Mao Zedong became leader of the People's Republic of China when it was founded in 1949. We previously explained how he was responsible for one of the most disastrous policies in world history, the "Great Leap Forward." Basically, it entailed pulling all of his people off of farming to have them try to mill steel in their backyards instead. (Note: You cannot make steel in your back yard.) Millions starved.
That is, unfortunately, the tip of the Mao Zedong crazy iceberg.
We know the people in this image are mostly madmen, but check out that dude with the crazy long goatee. What a straight-up badass.
In the wake of that disaster, Mao's power was considerably shaken, so much so that two of his underlings, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, were able to wrest power from him. This, of course, infuriated Mao, who promptly began another disastrous campaign: the Cultural Revolution, which literally was a war against smart people.
Under the pretext that bourgeois elements were permeating a classless society, Mao banished his political opponents, such as Liu and Deng, to the countryside. Soon, however, Mao's definition of political opponents stretched to encompass "anyone who is smart." Universities were closed down, and professors and students were sent to the countryside to be "re-educated" through labor. The word "intellectual" became an insult. The only genius was declared to be Mao himself (people were taught to repeat the phrase, "Chairman Mao is a genius, everything the Chairman says is greatly true; one of the Chairman's words will override the meaning of ten thousand of ours.")
"Also, his image absolutely will not end up littering the floors of vintage shops worldwide."
And then there was Lei Feng. He was a completely unremarkable soldier who died in an unremarkable fashion after getting hit by a telephone pole. But Mao arbitrarily decided to declare him the nation's greatest hero. Various staged photos supposedly depicted him doing good deeds, and stories of his heroics were inserted into textbooks in every school. A diary belonging to him was "found," and it contained nothing but flowery praises for Mao.
Doves and submachine guns. China gets it.
Then Mao recruited high school students to his cause, calling them the Red Guards. Mao tasked these teenagers with correcting the bourgeois elements in society and effectively gave them a legal blank check to do it by whatever means they chose. This went exactly how you'd expect -- they started ransacking people's houses and beating them if they were found to own anything even remotely Western, such as ties.
As he got older, Mao started worrying about his own mortality and subscribing to the Taoist belief that having sex with virgins lengthens one's lifespan. Young girls were brought from all over the country to help him on this monumental task. Mao often had fivesomes or sixsomes and watched nude underwater ballet shows.
Even Enver Hoxha bows to Mao's monumental crazy.
He still died in 1976. We have to be honest, we're kind of surprised that didn't work.
For more insight into North Korea, check out 6 Reasons North Korea is the Funniest Evil Dictatorship Ever. Or learn about some fictional leaders worse than these guys in 6 Iconic Movie Leaders (Who Aren't Fit To Lead A Parade).
The secrets don't stop here, learn more in the brand new Cracked.com book! And once you get that book, make sure you take a picture of yourself with it, then upload it to our Facebook fan page for a chance to win $250!
And stop by Linkstorm to see the crazy leaders or the Internet.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infograpic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!