Freedom for Korea

November 1, 1945

Report Outline
Military Occupation of Liberated Korea
Korea Under “Father Nation” China
Rise of Japan to Dominance in Korea
Capacity of Koreans for Self-Rule

Military Occupation of Liberated Korea

Allied Promises of Independence for Korea

Korea is the one country of Asia that received a promise of independence from the Allies during World War II. Before the surrender of Japan it was said that Korea would be the testing ground for Allied policy in the Far East after the war. Since the victory, liberated Korea has become another potential trouble spot in the unsatisfactory relations already existing between the two most powerful of the Allies—Soviet Russia and the United States.

The first promise of self-rule for Korea was given by the United States, Great Britain and China some 20 months before Russia entered the Pacific war. In the Cairo Declaration of Dec. 1, 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill and Chiang Kaishek stated that—“mindful of the enslavement of the Korean people”—they were “determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.”

The Potsdam ultimatum, in which the United States, Great Britain and China set out their terms for settlement of the war in the Pacific, July 26, 1945, included a specification that “the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.” In Russia's declaration of war against Japan, Aug. 8, it was stated that the Soviet government joined “in the declaration of the Allied powers of July 26,” Russian approval of the terms laid down at Potsdam seems to have been the basis for President Truman's statement, Sept. 18, that “the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union …are agreed that Korea shall become free and independent.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 19, 2017  North Korea Showdown
Jul. 05, 2011  North Korean Menace
Apr. 11, 2003  North Korean Crisis
May 19, 2000  Future of Korea
Aug. 12, 1977  Relations with South Korea
Apr. 24, 1968  Divided Korea
Jan. 27, 1960  Korea: Problem Protectorate
Aug. 24, 1951  Rehabilitation of Korea
Nov. 01, 1945  Freedom for Korea
Cold War
Conflicts in Asia
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
War and Conflict