(Korean War History) The Division of Korea, 1945-1948. Post # 9

in koreanwar •  18 days ago

by Katherine Weathersby

김일성 사진.jpg

We’ve seen that as the war against Japan ended, the Soviet government was determined to create a reliable security buffer in their zone of Korea, regardless of what might happen in negotiations with the United States over the final political settlement for Korea. Consequently, they moved very quickly to establish the political structures needed to secure long-term control.

Red Army officials first created a Soviet Civil Administration and a separate communist party organization for the North. Then, on October 17 Chistiakov received an order approved directly by Stalin to create a civil government in the first half of November. This government was to be composed of 25-30 persons drawn from the “democratic elements of the Korean population,” meaning people from the lower classes who had not collaborated with the Japanese. It was to have nine departments, paralleling the structure of the Soviet Civil Administration, and must “be under the constant control of the Soviet Military Command.”

Just as communist party members had resisted the formation of a separate party structure for the Soviet zone since doing so suggested a permanent division of the country, non-communist political leaders in the North resisted the creation of a separate governing structure. According to one report, in mid-November the Democratic Party leader Cho Man-sik tried to persuade Kim Il Sung to travel with him to Seoul to establish a central government for the whole country, to prevent the occupation from permanently dividing the country.

Few documents from this period have been released thus far, so we do not know how wide-spread the opposition to Soviet actions was and what actions the Red Army took to deal with it. We do know, however, that by the end of November a Five Provinces Administrative Bureau was formed, based on the people’s committees that Korean political activists had formed throughout the country as soon as Japan surrendered. Soviet authorities placed Cho Man-sik at the head of the pyramidal structure of people’s committees, since at that period Moscow’s policy was to maintain a “united front” with certain non-communist parties. However, Soviet advisers attached to each department of the Bureau had the final voice on all decisions.

Taking action quickly, the Five Provinces People’s Committees approved plans drafted by Soviet advisers to create trusts for the coal mining industry and the electrical power plants, to form a Korean Post and Telegraph Administration, and to divide the railroads into two railway administrations, directed by a North Korean Railroad Administration. To process the financial credits Moscow would extend to North Korea and to issue currency, Soviet officials established a Central Bank, founded on the Pyongyang branch of the Choson Bank.

While the Red Army hastily established governing structures for its zone in October and November 1945, Moscow and Washington continued to negotiate over the control machinery that would be created for Japan. Stalin assumed that if the United States had exclusive power to determine the nature of the future Japanese society and government, the result would be a remilitarized Japan that would again threaten the Soviet Union. Foreign Minister Molotov therefore persistently tried to secure veto power for the Soviet representative in whatever council the allies would establish for the occupation of Japan. The Americans held firm, however, insisting that the Soviet representative would be able to advise the American commander but that the US, as the sole occupying power, would be free to make decisions on its own.

While these negotiations over Japan continued, Moscow refrained from taking any public stand on a political settlement for Korea. They also made sure Korean communists refrained from harsh criticism of the United States. While they criticized a State Department statement that Korea must be placed under trusteeship because her enslavement by Japan had left her unprepared for immediate self-government, Haebang Ilbo declared that “the ideals of the United States, the leader of capitalism, and the Soviet Union, the fatherland of the proletariat, are to be expressed in Korea without contradiction.”

In the next post we will look at how the Soviets and Americans finally reached an agreement on Korea at the Moscow Conference of Allied Foreign Ministers in December 1945 and the reasons this solution would lead to division.

[Sources: Jeon Hyun Soo, “Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskie preobrazovaniia v severnoi Koree v pervye gody posle osvobozhdeniia, 1945-1948”; FRUS 1945, Volume VI; Eric van Ree, Socialism in One Zone, Stalin’s Policy in Korea, 1945-1947 (Oxford, New York, and Munich: Berg Publishers, 1989); Chong-sik Lee, Materials on Korean Communism]

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War is never a solution to any issue. We need to avoid it at any cost.

I am just sad how big powers like Russia and the US used Korea for their own sovereign might but I am glad that south Korea didn't fall for the communists. Now I hope reunification will going to happen and communist North would at least be more open like China and Vietnam. @slowwalker

This is a very interesting post, I learned a lot I never knew and heard before.
It's funny how Superpowers in our world try to shape it as they will in order to make it (ultimately) a better place, and end up causing more complications and troubles than they had intended (i.e. the US and Iraq, for a counter-example).
Thank you!

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Yes, that's because superpowers are not necessarily really interested in the well being of humanity but are often driven by interests, be it economical, political or otherwise.
Actually I really think that projects like Steem will get us a step closer towards a future when people will REALLY be able to choose what they want and how to live their lives.

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Oh, that would definitely be nice. However, many people have the notion of "right" and "wrong", and they apply it for others too, no matter what their opinion is on the matter. See, for example, all sorts of religion wars, discriminating laws, etc.
It's true that if people can choose for themselves what is right for them and what they want to do, this world would be a much cooler and nicer place to live. However, if someone chooses to preach or to outcast another for their gender, belief, looks, religion, ethnic origin, sexual preference, etc., that makes things more complicated, and gives back the power to groups over the individual - and the larger the group, the more power it has, etc. Won't this simply start this vicious cycle all over again?

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When I said that people will be able to choose how to live their lives I was referring in part to democracy. When you go on election day to vote, you're usually only presented with 2 choices, which is extremely limiting. And besides that, many laws don't make sense whatsoever and are only political in nature. For instance cannabis being outlawed in many parts of the world while the much worse cigarettes and alcohol are perfectly legal. I do not believe that most rational people would willingly vote for such a nonsensical imbalance.
I do however agree with you that we shouldn't let discrimination, hate, violence, etc. rule the land. I'm not an anarchist, I do believe in being vigilant and aggressive towards criminals. But projects like Steem allow us to police as a community. If someone here on Steem were to propagate a truly malicious argument or thesis, Steemians would vote down that post into oblivion. This is real democracy while at the same time maintaining freedom of speech.

Wow, this so brilliant task done bro. Because of you a could learn to read more about Korean history and other related news about the world of communist. You are really good at writing in English. You are good with using words.

Hello friend, please permit me to share this post in korean form, i am a korean person interested in history in my country and i want korean community all know about korean history. Thank you....

Interesting Facts. Thank you for sharing them. Good luck to you and Love.

Интересные факты. Спасибо, что поделились ими. Удачи Вам и Любви.