Modern Korea


Modern Korea and Korean National Association

History of modern Korea dating from 1860 is characterized by anti-aggression and anti-feudal struggle that is aimed at repulsing the armed aggression of the foreign forces and opposing the feudal system that stood in the way of social development.

The sinking of US aggressive ship "General Sherman" in 1866 decorated the beginning of the history of modern Korea with a victory. It was followed by a series of successful repulsions of foreign aggressors, including the invasion of French fleet in 1866, US fleet in 1871 and Japanese warship "Unyo-maru" in 1875. However, the conclusion of unequal "Kanghwado Treaty" in 1876 forced by Japanese imperialists and abetted by flunkeyism and submissive behaviour of feudal rulers reduced Korea to a semi-colony. A number of important events such as Imo Soldiers' Uprising in 1882, Kapsin coup d'etat in 1884 aimed at modernizing the country, Kabo Reform and Kabo Peasants' Uprising in 1894 were good examples of Korean people's struggles against the Japanese aggressors and feudal rulers.

However, all the above-mentioned events never succeeded what with the armed intervention and subversive moves of Japanese imperialists and corrupt feudal rulers. The Japanese imperialists colonized Korea by fabricating the unlawful "Five Point Korea-Japan Treaty" in November 1905, and manufactured the "Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty" in 1910. For over a decade around 1910, Korean people staged the movement of Righteous Volunteers' Army and dealt a serious blow to Japanese imperialists. Secret societies, patriotic cultural movements and independence movements abroad all played important roles in Korean people's struggles for independence. The March First Uprising in Juche 8 (1919) that spread across the entire country was another blow to the Japanese imperialists.

The lack of leadership by an outstanding leader was the very reason why the March First Uprising failed. The anti-Japanese national liberation movement of Korean people was finally placed on the right track of development with the leadership of Kim Hyong Jik, father of President Kim Il Sung and an indomitable revolutionary fighter.

On March 23, Juche 6 (1917), Kim Hyong Jik founded the Korean National Association in Pyongyang. The KNA was the largest underground anti-Japanese revolutionary organization of the time at home and abroad. The extending and strengthening of the KNA gave rise to active anti-Japanese struggle of the people and struck Japanese troops with fear.

In Juche (1917), Kim Hyong Jik, who was energetically advancing anti-Japanese patriotic struggle, was arrested by the Japanese police that was tipped by its informants. It was in the prison that he came to hear the news of victorious October Socialist Revolution in Russia. This made him review the lessons learnt in the anti-Japanese movement, during which he was convinced that the only valid way to achieve national independence and win freedom and emancipation for people was to rely on the proletarian revolution led by communism. Upon his release from prison in October Juche 7 (1918), Kim Hyong Jik shifted the arena of anti-Japanese struggle to northern part of the country near the border. Consequently, Kim Hyong Jik arranged for the meetings in Chongsu-dong and Kwanjon where he saw to it that the nationalist movement in the anti-Japanese national liberation struggle were converted to proletarian revolution. The members of the KNA had been actively engaged in a campaign aimed at disseminating progressive ideas among the proletarian masses, organizing the revolutionary forces with workers and peasants as the mainstay and staging armed activities.

The anti-Japanese national liberation struggle that was in the process of changing its guidelines to proletarian ones suffered a great setback with the demise of Kim Hyong Jik in June Juche 15 (1926). The historical task of national liberation was thus to be shouldered by the great President Kim Il Sung.


New History of the Nation

It was President Kim Il Sung who successfully pioneered the victorious modern history of Korea.

He was born on April 15, Juche 1 (1912) in Mangyongdae, Pyongyang. The birth of the President was a great stroke of luck for the Korean nation an event unprecedented in the history of the nation. From then on, a new chapter was opened in the Korean history and the new origin of the Juche era. It represented the beginning of the era of Juche.

Patriotism and love for the nation and people had been long-lasting tradition in the President's family, which has been the most patriotic and revolutionary family for generations. Thanks to the patriotic education and revolutionary influence of his parents, the President grew up to be a great revolutionary with the help of tireless study, first-hand experiences of thecontradictory realities of the contemporary society and revolutionary practice in a struggle against the Japanese imperialists. Being told by his father that the Korean revolutionaries should know Korea well, he was studying in Changdok School in Korea when he heard the news of his father's arrest in January Juche 14 (1925). He firmly made up' his mind not to return to fatherland without achieving the independence of Korea and left Pyongyang for Fusong. The President's journey to Fusong, crossing River Amnok, has been known in history as the One Thousand-ri Journey for national liberation.

The demise of his father on June 5, Juche 15 (1926) was the most severe loss for the President. He summoned up his courage from the idea of "Aim High" and mustering comrades, preparedness for 3 hardships and two pistols--noble legacy left by his father. He firmly resolved to devote his life to the cause of national liberation, remaining true to the behest of his father.

In June Juche 15 (1926), he went to Huadian to explore a new path of Korean revolution. After his admission to Huachengyishu, the President made profound analysis of the previous theories and progressive ideas of the working class in connection with the reality of Korea. He came to draw the conclusion that revolutionaries should have one's own faith and judgment and pioneer the path of revolution by staying among the people and relying on their strength.

The President gave priority to the work of mustering comrades among the students of Huachengyishu who shared the same will--on the basis of his decision that a new and fresh generation of young communists should be raised, that a powerful vanguard organization should be founded with the young communists as the core and that the popular masses must be awakened to revolutionary consciouness and duly organized. As a result of the great President's efforts, the DIU (that stands for "Down-WithImperialism Union") was founded on October 17, Juche 15 (1926) in Huadian. The DIU set forth as its program the liberation and independence of Korea, building of socialism and communism in Korea and struggle for the victory of communism all over the world.

With the foundation of the DIU and revolutionary struggles by the President, the new era of Korean revolution was opened up. This marked the beginning of the glorious revolutionary cause of Juche.


Advancement of Juche-Oriented Revolutionary Line

After the foundation of the DIU, the President moved his arena of activities to Jilin in order to expand the scope of the revolutionary struggle. From January Juche 16 (1927) he enrolled himself in the Yuwen Middle School, Jilin, and launched revolutionary activities. The Japanese troops stepped up their crack-down by the fall of Juche 8 (1929). In an attempt to strengthen their  military presence in northeastern part of China and stamp out the growth of revolutionary forces, the Japanese imperialists instigated the Chinese reactionary warlords to suppress the activities of Korean revolutionaries.

The President was arrested by the reactionary police in that fall. While being imprisoned from the fall to May Juche 19 (1930), he reviewed and analysed the experiences and lessons left by the Korean national liberation movements and communist movements along with experiences of revolutionary movements in other countries and thus discovered the truth of revolution which later became the starting points of the Juche idea.

The President held a meeting for the cadres of the Communist Youth League and the Anti-Imperialist Youth League in Kalun from June 30 to July 2, Juche 19 (1930). In this meeting, he presented a historic report, entitled "The Path of the Korean Revolution". In his report, he clarified the principles of the Juche idea, defined the character and prime task of Korean revolution and gave full illustration of the strategic and tactical issues aimed at the completion of the task. He defined the character of Korean revolution as the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution. He went on to clarify the driving force and targets of the revolution. He further declared that the revolution should be continued even after the completion of anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution so as to build socialist and communist society and carry forward the world revolution. He said that, in order to fulfill the prime task of the Korean revolution, the anti-Japanese armed struggle must be staged, unified anti-Japanese national front should be formed and a revolutionary party must be founded.

Since then, the anti-Japanese national liberation struggle and communist movement in our country entered a new phase of development, being guided by the Juche idea, Songun idea and Juche-oriented revolutionary line.

the first party organization consisting of the new generation communists was founded in July Juche 19 (1930); it was soot followed by the foundation of the Korean Revolutionary Army the political and paramilitary organization.


Foundation of Revolutionary Armed Forces

On September 18, Juche 20 (1931), Japan fabricated "Manchuria Incident" and invaded Manchuria. The abrupt change in the situation called for immediate launching of armed struggle. All the conditions and possibilities for the organized armed struggle were in place.

The President saw the period as providing a golden chance for the launching of armed struggle. Hence, he arranged a meeting at Migyuegou, Yanji for the cadres of Party and Communist Youth League on December 16, Juche 20 (1931), and delivered the historic speech "On organizing and waging armed struggle against Japanese imperialism". He emphasized the need to mobilize all the patriotic forces in the armed struggle and put forth the strategic policy to organize and conduct armed struggle in the form of guerrilla warfare.

As the task and way of conducting the armed struggle, he pointed out that the anti-Japanese People's Guerrilla Army (AJPGA) be formed. For this, he said the armed ranks be organized with the young communists as the backbone who were trained in the hardest time of struggle to involve later the progressive young people, and in this way, the guerrilla units would be expanded. He also said that they should arm themselves with the trophies of the enemy weapons while at the same time manufacturing the weapons by their own hands. He also emphasized that small guerrilla units be organized at every local area to gradually develop them into a large revolutionary forces and that guerrilla bases be formed, massive foundation for armed struggle be built up, anti-Japanese united front be formed between the Korean and Chinese people, and for this, he said party organizations be born, the work of the young communist league be further strengthened and the role of party organizations be enhanced.

With the Mingyuegou meeting as a momentum, anti-Japanese war was declared openly to annihilate the Japanese imperialists under the slogan "arms for arms, revolutionary offensive for counter-revolutionary offensive".

After this meeting, President Kim Il Sung worked hard to found the anti-Japanese People's Guerrilla Army. On the basis of these preparations, the President proclaimed the founding of the Anti-Japanese People's Guerrilla Army, the first revolutionary armed forces at Xiaoshahe, Antu county on April 25, Juche 21 (1932).

The founding was an historical event of bringing about a radical change in the revolutionary struggle of the Korean people. The founding of the AJPGA opened up the new chapter of Songun revolutionary leadership which gave initiative to founding army and lead revolution to victory relying on it.


Setting up of the Guerrilla Bases

As the AJPGA was founded and as the anti-Japanese armed struggle was in a full swing, the work to set up guerrilla bases was conducted in the vast areas along the River Tuman. In accordance with the tasks set forth at the Xiaoshahe meeting in May Juche 21 (1932), this work became more accelerated. Less than in a few months, guerrilla zones were stretched in the vast areas along the River Tuman. The guerrilla zones became the assembling points where a great number of revolutionary people gathered from east Manchuria, home and abroad and different organizations of all strata as well as paramilitary organizations were organized, including party and youth league organizations, Farmers' Association, Anti-Japanese Women's Association, Red Guards, Young Vanguards, and Children's Corps.

True to the policy and lines of President Kim Il Sung at the Xiaoshahe meeting, people's power organs and people's revolutionary government were formed within the guerrilla zones in order to stabilize the life of the people and expand and develop the armed struggle. The people's revolutionary government exercised the democratic reforms and other policies such as land reform all of which were suited to their mission and character. This zone was turned into a new world for the people where they enjoyed political rights and freedom, happy and stable life.

As the guerrilla zones were extended in the wider areas along the River Truman, the Japanese imperialists called them as "cancers of the Orient peace," and they resorted to a punitive operation by putting in huge armed forces to nip them in the bud. The well-known battle in this time was the battle in winter to defend the guerrilla bases in Xiaowangqing between Juche 22 (1933) and Juche 23 (1934). In this punitive operation, the Japanese troops mobilized 5 000-strong crack forces and air units and deployed numerous forces in the guerrilla zones in Yanij, Helung and Hunchun.

However, thanks to the taciturn operation conducted by the President to disturb the enemy from the rear, the punitive operation was crashed into pieces and the defensive battle was crowned with a victory.


Foundation of the ARF

At that time, the movement for the anti-Japanese national united front was conducted in a way that formed the united frontal mass organizations such as mass organizations by class and strata and anti-imperialist unions and later included the various anti-Japanese working people. This resulted in an unaviodable diverse nature in the movement of anti-Japanese national united front.

It is only when one standing united front was formed, it became possible to ensure the sufficient party leadership over the united front work thus to develop this movement in a unified way and further strengthen the massive basis for party foundation by closely combining the anti-Japanese armed struggle and mass movement.

While wisely leading the preparation work for foundation of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, the President left Nanhutou and he personally drafted the program, statute, and declaration for the foundation of the ARF in the whole march to Donggang.

Based on this preparation work, he called the meeting of the military and political cadres of the KPRA at Donggang, Fusong County on May 1-15, Juche 25 (1936). At the meeting, the "10-Point Program of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland", the "Statutes of the Association for Restoration of the Fatherland" and the "Inaugural Declaration of the Association for Restoration of the Fatherland" were made public, all of which were personally drafted by the hands of President Kim Il Sung.

The 10-Point Program stipulated the following issues; overthrowing the Japanese rule, establishing a genuine Korean people's government, organizing a revolutionary army prepared to fight for independence of Korea, nationalization of industry and land reform, 8-hour working system, sex equality, compulsory free education and other democratic policies. The meeting also decided to issue the ARF's monthly organ called "March 1".

On May 5, Juche 25 (1936), the ARF was declared in its foundation and he was highly held as its president.

The ARF was a comprehensive and integral united frontal organization with its own independent system enabling itself to rally the anti-Japanese patriotic forces of all strata and was a strong underground revolutionary organization that could conduct more active anti-Japanese national liberation struggle. And this was also an anti-Japanese national united front in which the party leadership was ensured. 


Pochonbo Battle

In the latter half of the 1930s, a new type of guerrilla bases was formed near Mt. Paektu. As the time drew to late autumn in Juche 25 (1936), in the thick forest of Mt. Paektu, secure network of secret camps were formed. Frontline secret camps were stretched out to the shoulder of Mt. Paektu while rear secret camps were extended to the wide surroundings of Mt. Paektu.

As these secret camps were extended, the Korean People's Revolutionary Army could expand its own military and political activities deep into the homeland based on the camps and the leadership of President Kim Il Sung and party over the Korean revolution at large could be further strengthened and the party founding preparatory work could be further accelerated on a nationwide scale with the anti-Japanese armed struggle.

Being in a great awe and discomfort over the advance of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army into the homeland, the Japanese troops threw in "punitive" troops in the areas of Rivers Amnok and Tuman laying the main stress on Mt. Paektu. Being relied on the superb guerrilla tactics, the KPRA units waged one battle another in the southwestern part of Mt. Paektu ranging from November Juche 25 (1936) to February next year giving a death blow to the enemy militarily and politically.

In the meeting held at Sujiang in March Juche 26 (1937), it was decided that a large unit would launch attack against the Japanese imperialists in Korea. The KPRA thus advanced to the fatherland. The main unit led by the President passed through the heavily-guarded border and launched attack on Pochonbo at night on June 4, Juche 26 (1937).

The KPRA wiped out the enemy's ruling organs including the police sub-station and the sub-county administrative office and instilled in the people a firm confidence in victory. The President delivered a speech to the cheering crowd in which he called for an all-out nationwide struggle against Japanese imperialists; the speech was entitled "Let's fight staunchly for the restoration of fatherland".

The battle of Pochonbo not only demonstrated that Korea was still alive but also placed hope in the hearts of the people that Korea could gain national independence and achieve national liberation if all the people fought for it.  


Liberation of Korea

On July 7, Juche 26 (1937), Japan invaded Chinese mainland, having cooked up the so-called "Lugougiao Incident". In an attempt to finish the Sino-Japan War in the shortest possible period and prepare for another war, Japanese imperialists intensified the fascist oppression the crackdown and exploitation of Korean people as never before

The President wisely led the struggle to check. and defeat the Japanese aggression and accelerate the cause of national I iberation. He presided over the Napaizi meeting late in Juche 27 (1938) in order to tackle the difficulties standing in the way of the Korean revolution and put forward proposals for the continued upsurge in the revolution.

In a strategic move to actively unfold military and political activities near the border around Mt. Paektu, the KPRA units left Napaizi for the area. This march was recorded in history as the unprecedented "Arduous March". The main unit of the KPRA crossed River Amnok and moved into the homeland in May Juche 28 (1939).

Cornered by the KPRA's activities in the Musan area and in the area northeast of Mt. Paektu, the Japanese imperialists mobilized over 200 000-strong army to launch the so-called "Large Scale Punitive Operations". The President proposed the large unit circuit operations to counter the enemy's moves. In response to his order, the KPRA  units launched the large unit circuit operations and dealt a telling blow to the enemies.

The World War II that started with Fascist Germany's invasion upon Poland in September Juche 28 (1939) rapidly spread across the world.Without completing their war on Chinese mainland, the Japanese imperialists were also trying to launch a new war in Southeast Asia.

In August Juche 39 (1940), the President who penetrated deep into domestic and foreign situations, convened the meeting of military and political cadres of the KPRA at Xiaohaerbaling, where he set out the new strategic line of switching over small unit activities from large unit activities to meet the great event of national liberation flexibly, having clarified that the fall of Japanese imperialism was inevitable.

As the final battle drew nearer, the KPRA's small unit operations worked on positively. After the defeat of Fascist Germany, the preparation for the final battle of national liberation was in a full swing. The dawn of national liberation was breaking. On the basis of mapping out the detailed plan for the final offensive operation, the President gave orders to all the units of the KPRA to launch the general attack for national liberation. The KPRA units smashed Japanese imperialists and advanced into the homeland.  

The KPRA small units and political workers who were already dispatched operating in the theatre organized and agitated armed units consisting of people, organizations for the armed rebellion and the popular masses to armed uprising. They mounted attacks on Japanese ruling bodies all over the country, disturbed the enemy's rear and supported the operations of the advancing KPRA units. 

Under the fierce attacks mounted by the KPRA and active nation-wide uprising, Japan declared its unconditional surrender on 15 August, Juche 34 (1945). The heroic anti-Japanese armed struggle of the Korean revolutionaries and people led by President Kim Il Sung achieved a brilliant victory, and thus Korea was liberated.