On February 16, 1948, the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed in Pyongyang. The leader of the Korean Workers’ Party (KAP), Kim Il Sung was inaugurated as the country’s first prime minister.
The story up to independence
According to COUNTRYAAH, the Korean people are a united nation with a language and with an ancient and rich culture. The first ancient state of Korea was founded already in the period 800-700 before our time. Around the 7th century AD, the kingdom of Koguryo existed in the area of present-day North Korea. It had a special way of dealing with foreign enemies. It avoided direct confrontations, but had a formidable military force inside the cities. Since the Second World War, North Korea’s policy towards the outside world has had many similarities to this classic Korean policy. The country has been committed to building a tremendous military force, and remained neutral despite the border with China in the Soviet-Chinese conflict in the 60s and 70s.
At the beginning of the 10th century, the various Korean feudal states were united into a mighty and centralized state that, for 500 years, managed to fight back all foreign occupation attempts before becoming a Chinese-sounding one. Towards the end of the 19th century, Korea became the subject of the imperialist powers’ hunt for colonial territories. Back then, for 250 years, the formerly highly developed Korea had been a Chinese obedient in economic and cultural decay and characterized by total isolation from the outside world.
In competition with the United States, France and Zar-Russia, Japan won the victory. In 1904, Korea was made a Japanese Protectorate, and in 1910 it was formally incorporated into the Japanese Empire. The Korean feudal upper class also this time willingly sold itself to the foreign dominion, and Korea became the raw material supplier and market for expanding Japanese imperialism.
All attempts at national uprising and movements were brutally turned down. The peasants were depleted and largely deprived of their land. The domestic craft was ruined. All national Korean traditions were suppressed. The Japanese language became the only language of teaching and management.
In the 1920s, Korea underwent some industrialization. The Japanese set up textile and chemical companies as well as hydropower plants. The working class, which as late as 1914 numbered only 14,000 workers, reached over 1 million. Marxism gained a strong foothold – both in exile environments and inland – but the first Communist Party, formed in 1925, was dissolved 3 years later by the Comintern due to extreme factional war and Japanese infiltration.
The guerrilla movement built up from 1930 – largely under the leadership of Marxists and Communists – became more important. In 1934, a number of the most important guerrilla groups joined the Korean Revolutionary Army, which for ten years waged active guerrilla war against the Japanese and became a decisive support for the Soviet Red Army when it moved into Korea to defeat the Japanese troops in August 1945..
The allies, during and immediately after World War II – at meetings in Cairo in 1943, Yalta and Moscow in 1945 – agreed that after the war Korea should be rebuilt as an independent nation, that the Soviet and North American occupation of the area north and south of the 38th latitude should be temporary (the United States occupied South Korea in September 1945) and the parties should work together for a democratic joint government for the whole of Korea.