On August 15 1945 Korea was liberated from Japanese imperialist colonial rule thanks to the arduous armed struggle waged by the anti-Japanese partisans led by the great leader comrade KIM IL SUNG . Cheers reverberated the length and breadth of the land of the Morning Calm! Japanese imperialist rule which had appeared so strong and permanent crumbled virtually in an instant. On August 15 1945 Korea was liberated at last from Japanese imperialist rule. 36 years of oppressive rule by the fascist Japanese and their decadent Samurai culture vanished in a twinkling.
In the northern part of Korea people’s committees , organs of popular rule were established by the people. The old oppressive Japanese ruling machinery was destroyed. the Provisional People's Committee of North Korea (PPCNK), a new type of government, was established on February 8, Juche 35 (1946). The entire Korean people elected Comrade KIM IL SUNG, the peerless patriot and national hero, Chairman of the PPCNK . Many vitally important democratic reforms were carried out soon after liberation , within 7 months of liberation the historic Agrarian reform which eliminated feudal exploitation was carried out rapidly . Nationalisation of basic industries was carried and progressive legalisation on workers rights and sexual equality was enacted. The Labour Law enacted in 1946 even give workers and office workers free medical treatment on an insurance basis , some 2 years before the NHS was created in Britain.
In contrast to this progress in the northern half of Korea , reaction reigned in south Korea . Tragically Korea had been divided . A US colonel had simply drawn a line with a ruler across a map of Korea at the 38th parallel , thus 5000 years of history as a unified nation was destroyed by the stroke of a pencil and the destiny of small nations trifled with by big powers. The US imperialists fixed the 38th parallel as the demarcation line and occupied south Korea on the pretext of "disarming the Japanese troops in the south of the 38 degrees north latitude". They reigned over it as colonial rulers, throwing a grave obstacle in the path of building a new society by the south Korean people.
It needs to be clear to a wider audience that the US played no part whatsoever in the liberation of Korea , their troops did not arrive in Korea until 3 weeks after liberation, indeed they were in no position to advance to Korea. There was also no need for them to go into south Korea as Korea had already been liberated. I would like to draw the audience's attention to one fact . When I first visited the DPRK in 1992 I went to the Korean Revolution Museum. There I saw a map of the anti-Japanese revolutionary armed struggle led by President Kim Il Sung . Some were surprised to see that this struggle had been waged not only in north Korea but in the south as well. Someone asked why wasn't a unified Korean government set up as there were progressive and revolutionary forces in the south as well. The guide replied “the US imperialists , did terrible things , they divided Korea “.
As the great leader President KIM IL SUNG said
“The US imperialists occupied south Korea, reactionaries from home and abroad,and the former stooges of Japanese imperialism became lackeys of US imperialism and opposed the Korean people. We were confronted with the aggressive policy of the US imperialists who were not only opposed to the Korean revolution and the building of an independent unified state by the Korean people but were also seeking to extend their influence to north Korea”
US imperialism had coveted Korea for a long time. In 1866 they sent their pirate ship the General Sherman up the Taedong River. Later they concluded the so -called Friendship Treaty with Korea. Now in 1945 they seized one half of Korea.
Prior to the entry of their armed forces into south Korea, the US imperialists, under the pretext of "maintaining public peace in south Korea", kept intact the government-general in the period of Japanese imperialist rule and retained the defeated generals of the Japanese army, war criminals, in their posts.
The US imperialists, therefore, denied the liberated south Korean people freedom of all political activities for building an independent and sovereign country and issued one "proclamation" after another, forcing them to "submit" to the colonial rule by the governor-general of Korea.
On September 2, 1945, in his "proclamation" entitled "To All People in South Korea", John Hodges, former commander of the US 24th Army Corps, announced that "proclamations and orders issued to the people shall be made public through the existing government offices"(meaning organs of Japanese rule and that "orders" from the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers "shall be strictly followed and executed, and any person who unfortunately disobeys them shall suffer punishment".
The successive "orders" and "proclamations" of the US imperialists were aimed at preventing, with the help of Japanese imperialism, the establishment of an independent government by the Korean people themselves before the landing of their troops, trampling upon the democratic rights and freedom of the south Korean people and creating conditions favourable to their occupation of south Korea and colonial rule in it.
Having completed the preparations for the occupation of south Korea, the US imperialists landed the "advance contingent" of the 24th Army Corps in Inchon on September 7, 1945. The following day, on September 8, two-division forces of the 24th Army Corps 45,000 strong started occupation of south Korea under the direct command of Hodges. Hordes of US Gis, ghastly gum chewing creatures , swarmed into south Korea. Right from the start they committed atrocities and barbarities against the Korean people.
Simultaneously with this, MacArthur successively made public his proclamations Nos 1, 2 and 3 dated September 7, which were dropped from planes all over south Korea.
In "Proclamation" No. 1 MacArthur announced the institution of a military occupation system in south Korea, preservation of the property of landlords and capitalists and prohibition of free political activities. Moreover, he declared that inhabitants in south Korea were duty bound to unconditionally obey his orders and that "acts of resistance to the occupying forces or any acts which may disturb public peace and safety will be punished severely", and forced the use of English as the official language for all purposes.
These "proclamations" constituted flagrant violations of the sovereignty of the Korean people. They were a prelude to the enforcement of a cruel military government which the US imperialists could not bring into reality even in vanquished Japan. They were also a declaration to the whole world of the US occupation of south Korea and the beginning of their colonial rule. . An American journalist Mark Gayn wrote "We were not a liberation army. We rushed there in order to occupy it, in order to watch whether the Koreans obey the conditions of surrender. From the first days of our landing we have acted as the enemy of the Koreans."
Under the pretext of military administration a governor-general-ruling-system was virtually established. Along with the establishment of the "Military Government Office," the so-called "court-martials" were set up in Seoul and all provinces and a "military court" in each county to restrict and suppress the free activities of the Korean people.
President Kim Il Sung said:
"While professing themselves to be ‘champions of democracy’ in Korea,the Americans practically established the US governor-general-ruling-system in place of the Japanese one, under the signboard of the military administration."
As a result, a signboard of the "US Military Government Office" was hung out on the former building of the Japanese "Government-General Office," the old fascist machines and ruling methods were retained and inherited and colonial sovereign power was transferred to the US imperialists. . It is relevant to point the US imperialists became the colonial exploiter in south Korea as it seized Japanese property in south Korea which accounted for about 80 per cent of property in south Korea. The US imperialists renamed in February 1946 the "Oriental Development Company", the former Japanese agency for plundering land and grain, as the "New Korea Company" and expropriated the total arable land of south Korea. At that time, the total property held by the "New Korea Company" reached the sum of 1,250 million dollars; it owned 286,767 jongbo of cultivated land to which more than 554,000 farm households, or 27 per cent of the total farm households of south Korea, owed their existence. This meant that through the "New Korea Company" the US imperialists became the biggest landlord in south Korea who had acquired nearly one-tenth of over 2,670,000 hectaresof the arable land and 27 per cent of the farm households in south Korea
In this way, the history of colonial rule of US imperialism started in south Korea, replacing that of Japanese imperialism. From that time south Korea began to be reduced to a US imperialist military base for a new war.
US imperialist occupation of south Korea spelt the greatest national misfortune to the liberated Korean people. It was the root cause of a calamity of territorial bisection and national division which the Korean people had never experienced during their long history of five thousand years. It gave rise to a hotbed of a new war in Korea, and the US imperialist policy of turning south Korea into a military base entered the stage of full-scale realization.
From the first day of their occupation of south Korea, the US imperialists followed colonial enslavement and military base policies on the strength of their military government.
President Kim Il Sung said:
"The US army set out on a policy of colonial enslavement as soon as it occupied south Korea. In the first place, it adopted two basic policies to attain its goal. Politically, it smothered all the initiatives towards democracy of the liberated people, who set themselves against its policy of colonial enslavement,
and suppressed all the democratic forces. At the same time, it gathered and fostered the reactionary forces to use in the implementation of its aggressive policy aimed at splitting the Korean nation and turning Korea into a US colony. Economically, it pursued a policy of hampering the development of Korea’s national economy and industry and subordinating them to the economy of the United States." (Kim Il Sung, Works, Eng. ed., Vol. 4, p. 176.)
In its policy of political enslavement aimed at turning south Korea into US colony, the "US Military Government" put the main stress on the suppression and liquidation of the democratic and patriotic forces of the Korean people by arms and the rallying and fostering of the reactionary forces, so that it might consolidate its political foothold for the establishment of colonial rule in south Korea and the domination of all Korea.
In fact, all the policies adopted by US imperialism toward south Korea, including that of establishment of the "US Military Government", were, without exception, related to its aggressive design to convert south Korea into a colonial military base and use it as a stepping-stone for the conquest of the whole of Korea.
In carrying out its plan of aggression on Korea, US imperialism considered it most important of all to stamp out the sovereignty of the Korean people and place them under its domination. As an initial step towards this, it had to suppress and dissolve through the "Military Government" the People’s Committees at the point of the bayonet and prohibit the political activities of patriotic democratic forces in all walks of life. In October 1945, Hodges announced: "The Military Government is the sole government of Korea." The Communist Party and other progressive forces were suppressed. As famous US writer and journalist Edgar Snow remarked “When everything has been said about our occupation of Korea, probably the most significant thing is that we stopped a revolution here”.
The US imperialists and their stooges in south Korea carried out fascist terrorism not only against workers and peasants but against political figures . Mr Ryo Un Hyong leader of the south Korean Peoples Party and a respected nationalist was assassinated on the 19th of July 1947 and even assassinated Kim Gu , a right wing conservative figure who had come out against the US occupation of south Korea and for peaceful reunification.
US direct military rule in south Korea was basically colonialism and was opposed by the south Korean people . In September 1946 there was a general strike of south Korean workers. The US imperialists felt the need to create a puppet regime to camouflage their rule in south Korea . They put in power the elderly Syngham Rhee , a Korean who had lived in the US and was trained by the US over many years. Syngham Rhee had also embezzled funds of the nationalist movement . The Syngham Rhee puppet regime was charactered by one famous US Asia expert Prof Owen Lattimore as follows “ “America, which has in China complained of the bad luck of having inherited the Kuomintang through no fault of its own, has in Korea manufactured its own Kuomintang. To support our proclaimed policy of world-wide opposition to police states, we have in South Korea created a weak and unreliable police state of our own.”
The south Korean people fought against the Syngham Rhee puppet regime and the US imperialists . In April 1948 the people of Jeju island rose up against separate elections but this was put down by the US imperialists and Sygnham Rhee puppets , who killed between 33,000 and 70,000 people (33,000 being an official estimate what was very conservative ).
Numerous shackling and aggressive agreements , pacts and treaties such as the ROK-US Mutual Defence Treaty of January 1950 , were concluded. South Korea became an advance military base of the US and a bullet shield.
Basically the Syngham Rhee regime emerged as a neo-colonial puppet regime armed and controlled by the Americans , an instrument of US domination It was also basically anti-reunification regime and a regime for carrying out US imperialism's aggressive policies in Korea and Asia.
KFA UK Official Delegate