Matt you are kinda right -- Both Germany and Japan had programs to develop nuclear weapons during the war. Obviously our program worked first because of a lot of reasons but the genie was out of the bottle. Throughout history big powers or nations want the latest military toys so that they can keep their power.
When I think of North Korea I look to the parallel with Cuba. Communism took them both back the stone age for their people but the Cubans had the USA next door to keep it sane. During the missile crisis of 62 the Russians finally understood how unhinged Fidel was and they pulled the plug on him, our actions were secondary. The North Korean have the Chinese as their god father, and South Korea was in shambles after their war