[Reminiscences]Chapter 24 2. The Flames of National Resistance Flare throughout the Country > 회고록 《세기와 더불어》

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 24 2. The Flames of National Resistance Flare t…

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 24 2. The Flames of National Resistance Flare throughout the Country




2. The Flames of National Resistance Flare throughout the Country  


 The great leader evolved a far-sighted plan to integrate the general offensive of the KPRA, a national uprising\and their joint operations behind enemy lines into a unified system for the final showdown with the Japanese imperialists. He put forward this plan as the strategic line for the country’s liberation. His ambitious plan of accomplishing the great cause of national liberation by the general mobilization of the revolutionary armed forces\and the entire nation was an expression of his unqualified trust in\and expectations of our people, who had been awakened to political awareness in the flames of the anti-Japanese revolution.

It was impossible to win national independence relying only on the efforts of a few people with advanced ideas\or of a small force of fighters. This was a historical lesson of the world revolutionary movement as well as of the national liberation movement in Korea.

From the day we started the anti-Japanese revolution we consistently asserted the importance of resistance by the whole people. By this resistance we meant the general mobilization of the entire nation for the anti-Japanese revolution by training them along revolutionary lines. In other words, we meant to liberate the country by means of the\organized\and active resistance of all the people throughout the country against the Japanese.

With regard to national resistance, we held that, in\order to train all the people as revolutionaries, we had to enlighten\and\organize them,\and that in\order to defeat the Japanese imperialists by means of national resistance, we had to fully prepare the enlightened\and\organized elements among the people both politically\and militarily.

We got down to preparations for national resistance when we established our base on Mt. Paektu\and extended our armed struggle to the areas on the Amnok\and in the homeland, while working hard to build the Party, the united-front movement\and mass\organizations under the banner of the ARF. The Ten-Point Programme of the ARF calling for the accomplishment of national liberation through the general mobilization of the entire nation was, in effect, a declaration of national resistance.

I think it was after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War that we advanced the policy of national resistance as an independent line,\and began to take practical measures to that end. We held meetings in the Paektusan secret camp\and also in Caoshuitan\and Sinhung to discuss the matter of national resistance against the Japanese. The September Appeal can be considered an appeal for national resistance.

When we moved to Mt. Paektu I also put forward the idea of\organizing the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army of Northern Korea (AJPGANK).

We\selected a number of people who had been tempered in the local\organizations,\and trained them at the training school on Mt. Kanbaek as the leadership personnel for national resistance, while at the same time putting great efforts into building more paramilitary\organizations in the northern area\and various other parts of the homeland,\and expanding them.

Our political operatives in the homeland also\organized workers’ shock brigades\and paramilitary corps in many parts of the country.

As the day of decisive battle approached, we speeded up the operational preparations for an all-people resistance.

At this moment, the commanding officers of the Korean Contingent held a meeting, at which the discussion was focussed on the preparations for the showdown. All the commanding officers expressed full support for my proposal that we should make every preparation to\organize national resistance against the Japanese\and achieve national liberation by our own efforts.

Later I set out the three-point line for national liberation on the basis of the review of the work of building the Party\and mass\organizations\and the activities by the secret armed\organizations in the homeland. This line was aimed at accomplishing the historic cause of national liberation by means of a general offensive of the KPRA combined with a popular uprising\and joint operations behind enemy lines.

This plan was completely feasible. What made me believe it feasible? My judgment was based upon the feelings of the Korean people, which were all turned to us. Many people were looking up to Mt. Paektu,\and many others were flocking there. There was no shortage of people wanting to join the guerrilla army to become Kim Il Sung’s soldiers. Those, who evaded conion\and the labour draft took refuge in the mountains, built smithies\and made weapons, saying that they would fight to the end against the Japanese.

The public sentiment at that time found expression as follows: “We cannot live under the tyrannical rule of the Japanese any longer. We will rise in revolt\and destroy the Japanese when Kim Il Sung’s guerrilla army pushes into Korea. We must fight a decisive battle with the Japanese at the risk of our lives.”

It was around this time that the Japanese police made a great commotion, alarmed by the appearance of the words, “Kim Il Sung, Commander of Korea’s Independence”, on the ceiling of the steerage of the Koanmaru, a ferry plying between Pusan\and Shimonoseki,\and “seditious scribbling” on the South Gate in Seoul: “Commander Kim Il Sung Will Soon Return to the Motherland in Triumph.”

In the first half of the 1940s, the broad masses of people rom all walks of life entrusted the destiny of the nation to us more than ever, eagerly waiting for us to liberate the country.

It is said that the people’s will is God’s will. The people’s will represents their aspirations\and wishes. If the people’s will is in our favour, we can accomplish anything, no matter how arduous the task.

This was the reality we were counting on. The three-point line of national liberation was based on this reality.

The gist of the operational plan for the final battle was that our main force would make a rapid advance into the homeland\and occupy all the provinces, fighting there on the one hand,\and on the other issuing an appeal to the whole nation in\order to rouse the workers, peasants,\and youth\and students who were hiding in the mountains to rally around armed\organizations\and join the armed popular uprising to destroy the enemy\and liberate the country.

This plan was certain to succeed. If we reinforced the revolutionary army trained in the anti-Japanese armed struggle, the backbone of our armed forces, with the patriotic youths\and people in the homeland\and then launched a determined campaign in all parts of the country, we would be fully able to liberate the country by our own efforts.

The point in question was how to mobilize the people for resistance at the decisive moment. That was not difficult, either. At the time of the March First Popular Uprising, two million people had turned out to cheer for independence. Just imagine how many people would turn out for resistance in case of a decisive battle!

Needless to say, this policy was not readily accepted by all. When we first proposed the line for national resistance, some people shook their heads dubiously, but most of us supported it, confident that the policy was certain to succeed.

Our policy for arming the entire nation astonished the commanding officers of the NAJAA. They asked us how we could propose such a venture when our country was a complete colony\and we were waging the armed struggle mainly outside it.

I told them: “To arm the entire nation for national resistance is not our subjective idea, but the desire of the people themselves. We have simply adopted our people’s desire\and demand as our task.”

In the first half of the 1940s, the Japanese imperialist ruling system was gradually becoming paralyzed. With the defeat of Japan in the Pacific War becoming certain, there appeared various forms of delinquency even among government officials.

Jo Myong Son, who had been to the homeland for small-unit actions gave me the following account: Once he had captured a policeman in a mountainous area. He asked the policeman why he had been wandering around in a forest like an idler in such a period of emergency. The captive replied that he had gone hunting because he was in despair, as he had a foreboding that Japan would collapse before long.

That was the general mental state of the Japanese officials in those days, a sure sign that their ruling system was tottering.

This weakness in the enemy’s ruling system presented an opportunity for our resistance\organizations in the homeland to prepare resistance on a national scale.

Taking advantage of the enemy’s weakness, our political operatives\and the members of the resistance\organizations sent either declarations\or warning notes to the enemy officials irrespective of their positions, ranging rom sub-county officials\and lower-echelon policemen to provincial governors\and the Governor-General in the top strata of the colonial government of Korea,\and even to the Prime Minister\and Emperor of Japan, striking terror into them.

In February Juche 32 (1943), the resistance\organizations in the homeland sent warning notes to Japanese Prime Minister Tojo in relation to the introduction of the conion system in Korea.

The warning note, sent in the name of all the young people of Pyoksong County, reads:

“To your Excellency Prime Minister Tojo, the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, Tokyo City ...

“Korea will become independent.

“Come to your senses, Japan, our enemy. However hard you try to train soldiers through the introduction of the conion system on the peninsula, the day we are waiting for will come soon. Give me arms. The Japanese are our enemy. ...

“Dedicated to our motherland Korea, we will resist our enemy, Japan, to the last, to the last moment of our lives,\and even in our graves. We will ... join the army before anyone else to work off our deep-seated enmity, to resist the enemy, Japan, nay, to destroy her.” (Monthly Report by the Special Political Police, p. 72, Public Security Section, Security Police Bureau, Ministry of the Interior, February Showa 18 (1943).)


Stepping up the preparations for national resistance, we paid special attention to the following points: One was to establish new temporary secret bases while building up the secret bases existing in the homeland into military\and political bases for national resistance; the second was to send more small units\and teams as well as political operatives into the homeland to prepare the forces of national resistance thoroughly for the operations to liberate the country, in keeping with the requirements of the new situation;\and the third was to establish unified leadership over the national resistance forces in the homeland.

National resistance was inconceivable apart rom an armed revolt, nor would it be successful without bases for activities. When formulating the line of national resistance, therefore, I paid primary attention to the work of building in the Rangnim\and other major mountains secret bases that would be used for the operations\and support of the KPRA as well as the strong points of the armed struggle by the national resistance forces.

As a result, many secret bases were established in the northeast region centring on Mt. Paektu, in the northern inland region centring on the area along the Amnok,\and the Rangnim\and Pujonryong Mountains, in the western\and central regions,\and in all other parts of the homeland.

In the early 1940s, in addition to these secret bases, we set up temporary secret bases of various forms\and sizes at vantage points across the country that would be of strategic\and tactical importance in carrying out the operations for national liberation, to meet the requirements of the new situation.

Giving priority to the establishment of the bases, we dispatched many small units, teams,\and political operatives to the homeland. I also advanced deep into the homeland on more than one occasion, leading a small unit.

The small units, teams\and political operatives we had sent into the border areas on the Tuman\and the Amnok, into the central regions of Korea, including Seoul, into the southern regions of Korea, including Pusan\and Jinhae,\and to Japan, carried out brisk political\and military activities, preparing the broad masses of people for national resistance against Japan.

An official document issued by the Japanese, dealing with the activities of the political operatives dispatched by the great leader, reads:

“Arrest of an Agitation Group Leader, Kim Il Sung’s Subordinate

“An agitation group leader surnamed Kim, a faithful subordinate of Kim Il Sung, the leader of the insurgent Koreans in Manchuria who has long since been engaged in anti-Japanese activities, sneaked into Tumen, Jiandao Province, for the purpose of inciting rebellion,\and carried out underground activities until he was arrested\and put under strict investigation by the police authorities there. The objective of his infiltration\and his activities that have been confirmed so far through the investigation are as follows:

“1) Objective of infiltration: To disturb the home front in Manchuria\and Korea in the event of the outbreak of a Soviet-Japan War,\organize a fifth column with Koreans,\and obtain Japanese bank notes.

“2) Activities: Having entered Manchuria rom Khabarovsk on the aforementioned mission as an agitation group leader under Kim Il Sung, he allured about 20 insurgent Koreans in Tumen.

“3) Background: As the fact that the headquarters of the fifth column is in Kyongsong (Seoul) has become clear, a close examination is now under way for detailed information.” (Monthly Report by the Special Political Police, p. 82, Public Security Section, Security Police Bureau, Ministry of the Interior, February Showa 18 (1943).)

Another important task in speeding up the preparations for national resistance was to build a leadership capable of unified control of the resistance movement in the homeland.

After the formation of the Homeland Party Working Committee, groups of Party members were\organized in many parts of the country. They gave guidance to the mass\organizations. rom the late 1930s, area Party committees were\organized for unified control of the groups of Party members\and anti-Japanese mass\organizations spontaneously formed in many areas\and started to function as regional leadership bodies.

For example, the Yonsa Area Party Committee was\organized by Kim Jong Suk.

In the first half of the 1940s, an area Party committee composed of pioneer communists was\organized\and active in South Phyongan Province. This committee had subordinate groups of Party members in Pyongyang, Kaechon, Nampho\and elsewhere, through which it guided the ARF\and the national resistance\organizations within the province.

The Chongjin Area Party Committee\organized in North Hamgyong Province had many Party cells in the Nihon Iron Works\and other factories in Chongjin.

As a result of our active military\and political activities to defeat the Japanese imperialists by means of nationwide anti-Japanese resistance, the forces of national resistance grew quickly in the homeland in the first half of the 1940s. The Japanese imperialists claimed that they had discovered more than 180 anti-Japanese underground\organizations within Korea in 1942,\and that the total membership of these\organizations amounted to 500,000. I think if the\organizations which escaped the enemy’s surveillance were added to this, the number would be much greater.

The common feature notable in the activities of the anti-Japanese\organizations at home\and abroad in those days was that most of them were developing into political\and military\organizations,\and that their major objective was a popular uprising\and armed resistance. In those days many fighting\organizations overtly proclaimed their objectives of national resistance, popular uprising, armed revolt,\and participation in the final offensive operations of the KPRA. They even named themselves either “Kim Il Sung Corps”\or “Paektusan Association”, stressing their direct connection with us.

The “Kim Il Sung Corps” which was\organized in Seoul\and extended its influence over the area around Mosulpho in Jeju Island\and other parts of the homeland\and Japan was remarkable in its objective\and the mode of its activities as a national resistance\organization in the closing period of the anti-Japanese revolution.

I think it was in about June 1945 that this\organization became known to the public. At that time, the police department of Niigata Prefecture got a clue about its activities among the Koreans who had been drafted to work as labourers in Japan,\and made frantic efforts to ferret it out.

The “Kim Il Sung Corps” struggled with the objective of rallying the broad anti-Japanese masses\and preparing them for resistance against the Japanese to participate in the final battle for national liberation, when our revolutionary army would advance to the homeland.

This\organization struck roots in the major munitions factories, harbours, military construction sites,\and other production sites.

According to a secret Japanese document, the corps publicized that the Pacific War would soon end in Japan’s defeat, that Korea would become independent, that Korea would adopt a political system under which all the people would live in equality\and happiness without any discrimination between the rich\and the poor,\and that “Kim Il Sung would be the supreme leader of liberated Korea.”

Quite a few researchers are of the opinion that the large-scale revolt by the Korean workers at an airfield on Jeju Island in 1942 was masterminded by the “Kim Il Sung Corps”. I think there is some truth in that.

Here is an article carried in the American newspaper New York Times, dated July 18, Juche 31 (1942).


“Workers Kill 142 of Air Force in Attack on Quelpart (Jeju Island), at Entrance to Yellow Sea (West Sea of Korea)

“Patriot Uprisings Go On

“WASHINGTON, July 17–Continuing active revolt in Korea against the Japanese resulted in heavy destruction to a Japanese air base on the Island of Quelpart,\or Saishu, late in March. ...

“Quelpart Island is off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula\and commands the Strait of Korea\and the entrance to the Yellow Sea (West Sea of Korea).

“On March 29, according to the reports, a force of Korean workers on the island attacked the air base. They destroyed the wireless station\and set fire to four underground hangars. In the attack 142 Japanese pilots\and mechanics were killed\and another 200 burned\or wounded.


“Two gasoline storage tanks\and sixty-nine planes were also destroyed. The Japanese later killed all of the 400 Koreans who survived the fighting.

“On March 1, the reports said, Koreans dynamited three power plants in Northern Korea.”

The Paektusan Association was\organized in Songjin (the present Kimchaek City), North Hamgyong Province, in the summer of 1942. According to a Japanese police report, the association was\organized under the guidance of a man rom Waseda University. The\organization was said to have named itself after Mt. Paektu which was our base of operations. The document also said that this association had attempted to join the People’s Revolutionary Army\and worked to develop national consciousness, for the purpose of achieving Korea’s independence.

In the Pyongyang area there was a resistance\organization named the Fatherland Liberation Corps, of which my cousin Kim Won Ju was a member.

It was an active resistance\organization with the main objective of rising in armed revolt in response to the operations of the KPRA to liberate the country.

It expanded its ranks among the workers, peasants, youths\and students,\and other people in Pyongyang, as well as in industrial areas\and the countryside in the central\and western parts of our country. The\organization struck roots even in police establishments\and the enemy’s government\and public offices.

Its policy of action was daring\and enterprising. For example, it planned to destroy the\organs that were pressing young Koreans into military\and labour services; it also planned to get in touch with our unit to obtain weapons\and send its elite members to participate in the armed struggle.

It planned to attack police stations\and sub-county offices, take back grain which had been delivered, seize documents on military\and labour draft work, destroy transport facilities\and build a forge on Mt. Kuwol to make swords, spears,\and other weapons. All this shows how ambitious its plan of operations was. The leadership of this corps even elaborated an idea of planting its agents in the Japanese army\and munitions factories.

According to Won Ju, the Fatherland Liberation Corps was\organized at Tudan-ri.

Won Ju was arrested for having snatched a pistol rom the enemy in the closing days of Japanese rule. After his arrest, policemen pounced upon his house almost every day in search of the pistol he had hidden. When they arrested him, the policemen were said to have clamoured that they had captured Kim Il Sung’s cousin.

Among the resistance\organizations in the homeland, the relatively large ones were the secret society formed in the Nihon Iron Works\and the armed-revolt society made up of graduates of Kyongsong Imperial University.

The secret society formed in the Nihon Iron Works was an\organization made up mainly of workers of this factory under the guidance of a political operative dispatched by one of our small units.

It is not accidental that in the early 1940s an\organization for the reconstruction of the Communist Party came into being in the Nihon Iron Works. Quite a few of the leading figures of this\organization belonged to the old generation in view of their backgrounds in the communist movement,\and had been behind bars more than once owing to their involvement in labour\or peasant\unions.

The secret society in the Nihon Iron Works made preparations for realizing its main objective, which was to rise in armed revolt in cooperation with the advance of the KPRA into the homeland. It built a secret base in the Puyun area,\where it stored weapons, food supplies\and medicines,\and printed leaflets\and pamphlets. It\organized action teams in the major industries\and even formulated a concrete action plan that specified the date of\and the signal for the beginning of the armed revolt,\and the places rom which to wrest weapons, as well as the procedure for this purpose.

This society also did a useful job of sabotage to slow down the wartime production of the Japanese imperialists, until it was finally uncovered.

This resistance\organization had a bold plan to capture an anti-aircraft gun of the Japanese army stationed in the vicinity of the factory.

The Anti-Japanese Association in this plant, too, launched a struggle to frustrate iron production at the same time as efforts to stop pig iron rom being shipped to Japan. Thanks to its efforts, ships waiting to be loaded with pig iron were often delayed at Chongjin Port for several days.

The armed-revolt society formed in Kyongsong (Seoul) was a large\and formidable\organization. It included many communists of the older generation as well as a large number of intellectuals. I think it had more intellectual members than any other secret society in the homeland. This\organization was also called the Songdae (abbreviation for Kyongsong Imperial University–Tr.) Secret Society. The incident that was widely talked about as the “Songdae incident” among the people before liberation was the work of this\organization.

The man who masterminded this\organization was one of our operatives. Both Kim Il Su\and So Jung Sok, who formed the armed-revolt society in the Kyongsong area, were veteran communists who had been well-known to me since my days in Jilin.

Kim Il Su had once served as a company commander, along with Ri Yong, the son of Ri Jun, in the Korean Battalion of the Red Guards in the Far East region. I was told he had taken part in several battles to destroy the White army,\and rendered distinguished services. In the early 1920s he had also been a member of the Koryo Communist Party headed by Ri Tong Hui.

He had also engaged in the activities to reconstruct the Korean Communist Party,\and later said that he would never call at the Comintern again with a potato seal, though he still wanted to reconstruct the party, I was told.

He agreed with an open mind to our contention that the party should be built by the method of forming grassroots\organizations first, through work among the masses\and then\organizing the higher echelons, instead of the old method of forming the central body\and declaring its inauguration first,\and then\organizing subordinate\organizations.

Later he had taken refuge in Manchuria\and worked with the East Manchuria Special District Committee, before getting arrested by the Japanese police\and imprisoned for several years.

After serving his prison term, he came to Northeast China\and visited many places in search of our unit, I was told. Failing to meet us, he returned to Korea\and immersed himself in the working class.

Obviously he expunged the mistakes of his past, in view of the fact that he attached importance to the working class.

Both So Jung Sok\and his brother So Wan Sok are old acquaintances of mine.

Originally, So Jung Sok had belonged to the Seoul group\and then transferred to the M-L group. When he was in Jilin he was on intimate terms with Hwang Paek Ha, Hwang Kwi Hon’s father.

It was when he was engaged in youth work in Jilin that I got to know him. Since he was living in the neighbourhood of Jang Chol Ho’s house,\where I was boarding, I became acquainted with him. At that time we had a lot of arguments.

Later, he was said to have given up factional strife. When all others transferred themselves to the CPC, in accordance with the principle of one party for one country, he still stuck to his position to the last, carrying on activities for the reconstruction of the party. Then he was arrested in action\and kept behind bars for several years. He was strong in his convictions\and principles.

Even after liberation the two brothers worked hard for national reunification\and the revolution in south Korea.

The resistance fighters in the homeland who had formed the armed-revolt society in Seoul, expanded the\organization to the Hungnam Nitrogenous Fertilizer Factory\and other factories, mines\and schools in many parts of the country.

The armed-revolt society in Seoul established a secret base for its activities\and carried out a wide scope of activities ranging rom the acquisition of weapons\and the issuing of publications to the collection of military information. It even taught its members how to handle weapons\and gave them military drills.

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