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Era of Shanghai (1919~1932), People are the masters of the nation

Following the military occupancy of Korea by Japan in 1910, there were assertions to establish a democratic republic system equipped with government and national assembly. Such assertions secured historical legitimacy through the March 1st Independence Movement ‘Korean National Council’ of Noryeong (territory of USSR), the ‘Provisional Government of Republic of Korea’ in Shanghai and the ‘Hansung Government’ in Seoul were the organizations that put this assertion into implementation. Through discussions under the principle of inheriting the legal traditions of the Hansung Government from May 1919, Noryeong and the Provisional Government in Shanghai were merged into a single organization.

 


Government building No. 4 in Bogyeongri was used last from 1926 to 1932 during the era of Shanghai

 

Only the places circled in yellow were used. The government building No. 4 was restored into the Provisional Government of Republic of Korea Memorial Hall in Shanghai by securing additional lands on what was left and right of the building. Both the Korean and Chinese governments jointly held a completion ceremony of the Memorial Hall on April 13th, 1993 and opened the facility to the general public.

The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was established by declaring the ‘Provisional Charter of the Republic of Korea’ with the ‘Republic of Korea’ as the official name of the country on April 11th, 1919 at the Provisional Assembly, which is equivalent to the National Assembly today. The Provisional Government was established in the concessional district of France in Shanghai, an international city with advantages for foreign diplomacy, propaganda activities and transportation, etc. Although the Provisional Government pursued its activities by structurally forging links with various organizations in Korea through secrete communication network and transportation bureau in the early part of the era of Shanghai, it suffered difficulties when the organizations in Korea were uncovered by Japanese forces. Thereafter, the Provincial Government deployed and engaged in an extensive range of independence movements including patriotic battles by organizing Korean Patriotic Corps.

Prolonged period of hardship during the era of frequent transfers (1932~1940)

Following the occupation of Shanghai by Japanese forces and patriotic deeds of Yoon Bong Il in 1932, the Provisional Government had to move out of Shanghai after 13 years of presence, thereby putting an end to its era of Shanghai. It was initially moved to Hangzhou and Zhenjiang. However, with the expansion of the war fronts due to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, it had to be moved again to Changsha, Guangzhou, Liuzhou and Qijiang. Until the Provisional Government eventually settled in Chongqing, the wartime capital of China, in September 1940, it had to endure 8 years of the era of frequent transfers.

Although the independence movement in the 1930’s attempted unified movements of the political parties, organization of a single unified political party did not materialize. As such, independence movements were carried out with the division into Federation of Korean Liberation Movement Groups, which is an allied power of the right wing groups, and the Federation of People’s War Fronts of Joseon, an allied power of the left wing groups.

Joseon Volunteer Corps organized in October 1938 was a military organization under the Federation of People’s War Fronts of Joseon while Korea youth underground fighters of independence restoration warfront, organized at the end of 1938 was a military organization of the Federation of Korean Liberation Movement Groups. They independently and separately pursued military activities in alliance with the Chinese Armed Forces, and supported independence movements of Korea by working in the Chinese Armed Forces individually.

 


Route of the movement of the Provisional Government of Republic of Korea, Provisional Government Memorial Hall in China

 

Era of Chongqing (1940~1945), path of integration and resistance

The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea arrived in Chongqing in 1940, in which the 2nd World War that broke out in 1939 following the Sino-Japanese War was in full swing. The era of Chongqing was the period in which the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was pursuing activities by having equipped itself with the most powerful organization and system in its 27 years of history. The Provincial Government established the Korean Liberation Army in 1940 to assertively participate in the warfronts against Japan and declared war against Japan upon the breakout of Pacific War in 1941.

 


The 4th and the last government building used by the Provisional Government of Republic of Korea after its transfer to Chungqing in September 1940

 

In June 1994, the Independence Hall of Korea and the External People’s Friendship Association of Chongqing City entered into agreement for restoration of the government building of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Chongqing. As such, restoration was completed on August 11th, 1995 and the Exhibition Pavilion of the Historical Remains of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Chongqing’ was opened to the general public.

The Provisional Government disclosed the plans to reconstruct a sovereign nation following the liberation of Korea by declaring the ‘Doctrine for the foundation of the Republic of Korea’ in 1941. Moreover, unification of the right and left wing independence movement forces was achieved at this time, thereby composing a left and right coalition

government in April 1944 finally by pursuing unification with the left wing parties such as the Joseon People’s Revolution Party that pursued activities separately from the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. Thereafter, while the Provincial Government was pursuing unified warfront in alliance with the Joseon Independence Alliance in Yanan, China, Joseon Foundation Alliance in Korea and the armed independence movement forces in the areas of Maritime Provinces of Manchuria, Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces in the 2nd World War.

Return to the home land (1945~), Our hope is complete autonomous independence

The day of liberation longed for by the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea through the process of having to transfer its locations to various regions in China over the period of 27 years for the independence of Korea finally arrived on August 15th, 1945. The Provisional Government announced a ‘notice to all Koreans at home and abroad’ on September 3rd and disclosed ‘imminent policies of the Provisional Government to be implemented’. Although the Provisional Government delayed the time of return to the home land due to the demand of the US Army Military Government in Korea to return as private individuals, they eventually had to comply with such demand in November of the same year.

The key personnel of the Provisional Government returned home in 2 groups with the 1st group returning on November 23rd and the 2nd group on December 1st. The US Military Government did not announce that the personnel of the Provisional Government were returning home to the people of Korea. However, people sincerely welcomed the triumphant return of the Provincial Government to their home land at the ‘Ceremony for respectful welcoming of the returning of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea’ with open arms held on December 19th.

 


Key personnel of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea taking commemorative photographs for their return to their home land after 27 years of life in exile (Yeonhwaji Government Building in Chongqing (1945.11.3.)

 

With the defeat of Japan, the Korean Peninsula was divided into 2 with the USSR and the USA occupying each half of the Peninsula with the 38th parallel as the boundary of the division. Agreement for trusteeship by 4 powers, namely, the USA, England, China and the USSR, was reached at the meeting of the Tripartite Foreign Ministers Meeting held in December of the same year in Moscow. However, the Provisional Government led the campaign to oppose the said trusteeship agreement and succeeded in invalidating it. Notwithstanding the efforts of the Provisional Government to prevent the division of the country under the cold war system increasingly becoming more powerful, separate governments were established in both South and North Korea in 1948, thereby dividing the people of Korea until now.