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Independence Movement

Independence Movement

Independence Movement

During the colonial period (1910-1945), the Japanese pillaged Joseon’s resources, banned the use of the Korean language - even going so far in 1939 as to require Koreans to change their personal names to Japanese style surnames and given names under the Name Order, and conscripted Koreans into their work force or as uniformed soldiers in the Pacific War. Koreans engaged in persistent struggles to regain their independence.

They organized clandestine organizations to fight the Japanese within the country. They also established forward bases for the independence movement in China, Russia, and the United States. In March 1919, Korean leaders announced the Declaration of Independence. Students and ordinary people joined them by staging street demonstrations across the country. These protests continued for 12 months, involving about 2 million people, and were violently suppressed by the Japanese, with many thousands killed and wounded. The movement spread to the Koreans resisting in Manchuria, the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, the United States, Europe, and even to Japan. Following the March 1919 Independence Movement, organizations representing Koreans were established in Seoul, the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, and Shanghai.

Leaders of the Provisional Government .They played a pivotal role in the independence movement between April 1919, when the Provisional Government was established in Shanghai, China, and the country's liberation in August 1945.

Leaders of the Provisional Government .They played a pivotal role in the independence movement between April 1919, when the Provisional Government was established in Shanghai, China, and the country's liberation in August 1945.



The Provisional Government of Korea established in Shanghai was the country’s first democratic republican government; it was equipped with a modern Constitution and a political system that separated the three basic branches (executive, legislative and judicial) of government.

Koreans also carried out armed struggles against the Japanese. In the 1920s, more than thirty Korean independence army units engaged in resistance activities in Manchuria and the Maritime Provinces of Siberia. In June 1920, a Korean independence army unit led by Hong Beom-do dealt a devastating blow to Japanese troops in Fengwutung, Jilin Province, China. In October 1920, Korean volunteers led by Kim Jwa-jin won a great victory against Japanese troops in Helongxian, Manchuria. This is known as the Battle of Cheongsalli among Koreans.

In 1940, the Provisional Government of Korea (PGK) organized the Korean Liberation Army in Chungqing, integrating many scattered volunteer independence fighters in Manchuria. The PGK declared war against Japan and dispatched troops to the front lines in India and Myanmar to fight on the side of the Allied Forces. Some young Koreans received special training from a special military unit of the United States to better equip them to attack Japanese forces in Korea. On August 15, 1945, Koreans finally received what they had looked forward to for so long: the country’s liberation as a result of Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War. U.S. and Soviet troops were deployed to the south and north of the 38th parallel, respectively to disarm Japanese troops remaining on the Korean Peninsula.

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