[Reminiscences]Chapter 22. Let Us Keep the Revolutionary Flag Flying for Ever 1. At Xiaohaerbaling > 새 소식

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 22. Let Us Keep the Revolutionary Flag Flying for Ever  1. At Xiaohaerbaling









1. At Xiaohaerbaling 
2. Looking Forward to a Bright Future
3. On Receiving a Message rom the Comintern
4. The Autumn of 1940
5. My Memories of Wei Zheng-min

1. The Khabarovsk Conference
2. The Revolutionary Kim Chaek
3. Greeting the Spring in a Foreign Land
4. The Days of Small-Unit Actions
5. Trust\and Treachery
6. Formation of the International Allied Forces
7. With My Comrades-in-Arms of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army
8. Fighters rom Northern Manchuria
9. Nurturing the Root of the Revolution

1. In Anticipation of the Day of Liberation
2. The Flames of National Resistance Flare throughout the Country
3. The Breakthrough in the Operations against Japan
4. The Spirit of the Nation
5. For Unity with the Anti-Japanese Patriotic Forces
6. Across the Korea Strait
7. The Final Campaign
8. The Triumphal Return


Chapter 22. Let Us Keep the Revolutionary Flag Flying for Ever

1. At Xiaohaerbaling 



 The meeting at Xiaohaerbaling was a historic conference that adopted a new strategic policy of hastening the ultimate victory of the anti-Japanese revolution\and making full preparations to take the initiative to greet the momentous occasion of national liberation.

This conference was the culmination of the unremitting efforts\and unquenchable enthusiasm the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung had devoted to overcoming difficulties in the national liberation struggle\and the communist movement in Korea,\and to turning misfortune into blessings, at a time when the anti-Japanese revolution was undergoing trials.

Here, we recollect what the great leader said on many occasions about the preparations for\and the proceedings of the conference.

After destroying the “Maeda punitive force” at Hongqihe, we gathered in the forest of Hualazi to sum up the lessons\and experience of the struggle of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (KPRA). We called it a review of a march of 200,000 ri. We had, in actual fact, made a march of 50,000 miles.

In\order to consolidate the successes we had achieved on the long march\and open up a new phase in the revolutionary struggle, we had to do much more work\and tread still further along a thorny path. So I stressed, “The basic factor in our success on the long march lay in our political\and ideological superiority\and our tactics of guerrilla warfare. This is the core significance of our march of 50,000 miles. The present situation is more threatening than ever. Let us apply a variety of guerrilla tactics\and techniques with the utmost efficiency in keeping with the prevailing situation\and terrain conditions. We must go deep among the people\and step up political work among them. We must be resolved to make a longer march than we have already made for the ultimate triumph of the revolution. Let us keep the revolutionary flag flying with a strong determination\and unshakable confidence in the victory of the revolution. In future, too, as in the past, we must take the initiative\and strike the enemy hard.”

In the spring of 1940, the “Nozoe Punitive Command” was mounting an even more frantic offensive against the KPRA than ever before, deploying more troops\and planning “punitive” operations down to every last detail to destroy the revolutionary army.

Nevertheless, we were determined to take the initiative. We had pressed upon the enemy always with the initiative in our own hands,\and we were set on maintaining the initiative no matter what changes took place in the situation.

What did we rely on in our determination to maintain the initiative? Our mental power\and tactics. In terms of manpower reserves\and weapons\and equipment, we were inferior to the enemy, but we were far superior in terms of mental power\and tactics. The point in question was which side had the advantage in tactics;\and we had it.

Until we moved into the valley of Hualazi, the “Nozoe punitive force” had been occupying the local mountains. All the paths that might be taken by the revolutionary army were guarded tenaciously by the enemy.

Although we emphasized the initiative, our situation was extremely unfavourable. Suspecting that his forces in eastern Manchuria were not strong enough, Nozoe was said to be bringing reinforcements rom Tonghua. According to O Paek Ryong, the reinforcements had already arrived in the vicinity of Liangbingtai on the border of Yanji\and Dunhua Counties. It was also reported that a fresh contingent of reinforcements in the name of a working party had come rom the direction of Changbai.

What was to be done to counter the enemy’s attempt at stepped-up “punitive” operations?

The enemy’s initial, large-scale “punitive” operations, staged in the name of the “special clean-up campaign for maintaining public peace in the southeastern area”, had been foiled by our large-unit circling operations. How should the enemy’s more frenzied\and more tenacious new offensive be thwarted? Should we repeat the large-unit circling operations because these had been effective?\or should we adopt some other tactics? The flames of war unleashed by Japan\and Germany in the East\and West, respectively, would envelop the whole world sooner\or later,\and involve all the major powers\and small nations in the conflagration. In anticipation of these developments, we had to rack our brains for a new strategy.

We were faced with the challenge of working out tactical measures to defeat the enemy’s “punitive” operations now under way,\and also evolving a new strategic line capable of coping with the rapidly-changing situation.

I got down to working out a tactical scheme for overcoming the difficulty that had been created after the Battle of Hongqihe,\and also decided to elaborate a new strategic plan.

At that time the enemy had massed all his forces in mountainous areas. The only way to take the initiative in these circumstances was to disperse our forces\and slip away into the foothills.

Because the enemy forces were massed in mountainous areas, leaving walled towns\and internment villages to be guarded by police forces\and Self-defence Corps units, it would be most advantageous for us to harass the enemy behind his lines\and compel him to disperse his “punitive” forces.

On the basis of this tactical calculation, the main force of the KPRA slipped away rom the secret camp at Hualazi in mid-April 1940,\and launched a final campaign to smash the enemy’s “special clean-up campaign”. We first made simultaneous raids on Dongnancha\and Yangcaogou, large internment villages by the Xiaosha River, destroyed the pursuing enemy in the valley of Shujiefeng,\and then vanished in the direction of Chechangzi.

The units that had been operating under the command of An Kil\and Choe Hyon in the Yanji\and Wangqing areas began to harass the enemy in these county centres in response to the movement of the main force.

We fired on several villages, but the enemy showed no tangible reaction. It was necessary to tempt the enemy with bigger bait to make him disperse

his forces. We launched a simultaneous attack on three villages to the east of the Antu County town–Nanerdaogou, Beierdaogou\and Xinchengtun .


This time the enemy took the bait. The units of the Kwantung Army, which had been staying put on the southern border of Antu\and Helong Counties, rushed to the Antu County town, fearing its immediate fall. The Korean-Manchurian border guards joined them.

Our efforts to lure the enemy forces into the heart of Antu County were aimed at scattering them\and spreading the flames of the armed struggle into the homeland, taking advantage of the movement of the Japanese forces encamped along the Tuman River.

At that time Kim Il’s 8th Regiment was on a mission to advance into the homeland. I\ordered the 8th Regiment to move slowly to the border area, in dispersed formation,\and moved the 7th Regiment\and the Guard Company to the northern part of Antu County. rom that time on, we struck at the enemy every day.

Kim Il, in command of a small unit, infiltrated the homeland. He moved to Samjang Sub-county, Musan County, in mid-May, launched a surprise attack on the enemy’s border guards\and did political work among the local people for two days.

The daring combat action of the small unit of the KPRA\and its audacious political work among the people in the homeland at a time when Governor-General Minami was\ordering the border guards to prevent the intrusion of even a single guerrilla into Korea were notable successes in the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle in the first half of the 1940s.

In support of the successful advance into the homeland, we intensified strikes on the Tuman River\and in central\and northern Antu County, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.

Thus, the new “punitive” operations of the “Nozoe Command” suffered heavily at the outset. His “Punitive Command” had its subordinates–the “area punitive force”\and “small-area punitive force”–on the carpet almost every day,\and the subordinates were swift to clamour that the blame lay with their neighbouring units. Nozoe was busy constantly issuing new guidelines for the “punitive” operations.

When we were making preparations for new operations, Han In Hwa came to us rom southern Manchuria, bringing with him 50\or 60 men, the survivors of the 1st Route Army. He said they had been sent by Wei Zheng-min\and wanted to join our unit. He was a staff officer of the 1st Route Army\and political commissar of the Guard Brigade.

We decided to boost their morale through joint operations with them.

In June the same year we attacked Dongjingping\and Shangdadong, only to find that Dongjingping was in a defenceless state. Its defence had been neglected because it had been raided only ten days before,\and the enemy thought that we would not attack it again so soon. In the subsequent days, we launched simultaneous attacks on a few other villages.

On the day following the raid on the lumber mill at Gudonghe, we had a sumptuous feast with the comrades rom southern Manchuria in celebration of the Tano festival, using food supplies we had captured rom the enemy in the battle.

When he had drunk a few cups of liquor, Han In Hwa squeezed my hand, saying, “Commander Kim, I now understand why Wei Zheng-min sent me to you. The situation in Jiandao is much more threatening than in southern Manchuria,\and the enemy’s ‘punitive’ forces seem to be moving as if on your\orders, not on the\orders of Nozoe\or Umezu.”

He had got so strong an impression rom our operations that he exclaimed that the 2nd Directional Army was Number One,\and that Commander Kim’s army was invincible! He said he was now confident about the future of the struggle,\and would go to visit Chen Han-zhang in Emu\or in Dunhua\and Zhou Bao-zhong in Ningan\and then fight in high spirits.

The daring actions of the main force of the KPRA threw the Japanese completely off their balance.

While the enemy was on full alert throughout Jiandao to turn the tide of the unsuccessful “special clean-up campaign” in his favour, an unexpected incident took place in our ranks. Lu Bo-qi, political chief of the directional army, who had been receiving medical treatment in a secret camp near Damalugou, was captured by the enemy\and forced to spill all the secrets of our unit.

We decided to cope with the difficulty caused by his capture\and surrender by ceaselessly attacking\and by adopting a variety of tactical changes.

In the first place, I made up my mind to divide my unit into a number of small units,\and to regroup the directional army into many small units to fight an audacious\and elusive war of attrition. The small units would be mobile in action, capable of slipping through the enemy’s tight network of outposts with ease\and throwing him again into confusion.

The small units would be able to hide quickly even after they had been discovered by the enemy.

Therefore, we regrouped the directional army into many small units without delay,\and started a war of attrition.

As you can see, we did not flinch rom the Japanese offensive, but faced up to it\and countered it.

What would have become of us if we had cowered in the face of the enemy’s massive offensive\and avoided the enemy, looking for safe places? Needless to say, we would have suffered a heavy loss. We were able to triumph because we maintained the initiative\and struck the enemy time\and time again, throwing him into confusion.

Even the enemy admitted that the KPRA had been victorious in the spring\and summer campaigns in Juche 29 (1940).

“The bandits, who skillfully parried the spearhead of the spring\and autumn punitive offensives, have been operating in full swing everywhere on the strength of the thriving season. Especially over the past few months, they have been audacious enough to raid villages behind the second\and third lines, inflicting heavy losses upon us. This is a matter of great chagrin for us all. We have tens of thousands of troops, namely, the Japanese\and Manchukuo armies, gendarmerie, police forces, railway guards, members of the Concordia Association,\and so on. No matter how unfavourable the season\and terrain conditions may be, it cannot be denied that we all, particularly I, the commander of the punitive forces, should be held responsible for permitting the bandits to demonstrate such power. A detailed analysis of the recent situation, however, impels me to feel acute pain\and regret at the realization that many glaring weaknesses\and defects in the harmony\and unity of the punitive forces in particular,\and the other related organizations,\and in their activities have impeded the clean-up campaigns\and resulted in allowing the bandits to run rampant.” (Documents concerning the Clean-up Campaigns, Nozoe Punitive Command, Showa 15 (1940).)

We gained a lot of experience in the small-unit actions during the spring\and summer operations in 1940. Previously, we had engaged mainly in large-unit operations, although the situation occasionally required small-unit actions.

During the summer of 1940, however, we frequently employed versatile tactics of continuous strikes, repeated strikes\and simultaneous strikes by small units. In the course of this, we acquired new\and valuable experience, learning that the more the enemy reinforces his strength\and the tighter the network of encirclement, the smaller should be the combat units employed in guerrilla warfare. This helped greatly towards establishing the strategic task for the next stage\and evolving the fighting methods to implement the task.

If I had not gained this experience, I would have been unable to propose the switch rom large-unit operations to small-unit actions at the conference held at Xiaohaerbaling in August that year. Because we were experienced in this tactic\and convinced of its advantage, we adopted small-unit actions as the major form of fighting in the first half of the 1940s,\and in consequance, were able to maintain the initiative.

Some people think that we engaged in only large-unit operations in the years before that conference,\and only small-unit actions after the meeting. But that is not true.

Guerrilla warfare is characterized by adapting the tactics to the prevailing military\and political situations\and other circumstances. Small-unit actions had been considered important\and employed, when necessary, during the latter half of the 1930s, when large-unit operations were the main form of fighting.

The dispersed small-unit action that was prevalent in the experimental stage in the first half of 1940 was adopted by all the guerrilla units after the conference at Xiaohaerbaling.


What I have said above is the story of the events that took place after the large-unit circling operations. Today I have taken time to explain this because historians have said they felt there were many blanks in the study of this period.

If we view the conference at Xiaohaerbaling as a landmark, our activities in the spring\and summer of 1940 may be regarded as preparations for the conference.

It was when the war that had broken out in Europe was spreading quickly that we came to think of changing our strategy in keeping with the trend of the developments.

The Japanese imperialists were making frantic efforts to spread the flames of war to Southeast Asia in\order to realize their ambition of creating the “Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere”, even though they were still engaged in aggression on the mainland of China. They were making every effort for the “security of the home front”.

Their tenacious, large-scale “punitive” offensive I mentioned above,\and their unprecedentedly brutal fascist oppression\and plunder of our people were products of the furtherance of their aggressive policy.

We considered, however, that with the expansion of their aggressive war the Japanese imperialists would be further isolated at home\and abroad\and find themselves in a deeper political, economic\and military predicament.

The general situation indicated that the downfall of Japanese imperialism was certain\and imminent,\and that the day of our national liberation, the historic cause of our people, was near at hand.

That was why I summed up the successes\and experiences in the ten years of the anti-Japanese armed struggle,\and evolved a new line of preserving\and expanding our forces in\order to deal with the great occasion of national liberation on our own initiative, in keeping with the rapidly-changing situation.

Making full preparations for the momentous occasion of national liberation was the logical requirement for the development of our revolution at that time.


The transition to a new strategic stage did not permit us to see only the change in the objective situation one-sidedly\and follow it in a passive way, but required us to take the lead in the struggle at all times on the basis of the calculation of the motive force capable of speeding up the ultimate victory, as well as the analysis of the past course of the struggle.

I first went over the strategic tasks of the preceding stage to see whether they had been carried out.

I examined the strategic tasks that had been defined at the Nanhutou conference,\and found none of them outstanding. I came to the conclusion that these tasks–the laying of the\organizational\and ideological foundations for Party building, the formation\and expansion of the anti-Japanese national united front, the advance to the border area,\and the extension of the armed struggle into the homeland–had all been carried out.

Another important matter that must not be overlooked in defining the strategic stage of armed struggle is the change in the balance of forces between friend\and foe.

In terms of numerical strength, the enemy was far superior to us. In those days, they said that we were a “drop in the ocean”. In these circumstances common sense undermined the validity of the traditional military term “estimate of the balance of forces”.

Our estimate of the balance of forces was not arithmetical. I calculated that one of my men was a match for a hundred\or even a thousand foes.

After the Nanhutou conference, the KPRA quickly developed politically, ideologically\and militarily. This army, though smaller than the enemy in number, had always taken the initiative,\and always triumphed over the enemy that was scores of times\or even a hundred times superior in terms of numerical strength. In the course of this, it had grown up into a strong army that had acquired the tactical\and strategic skills capable of coping with whatever situation cropped up.

The KPRA was a special, new-type revolutionary army that carried out both military\and political missions at the same time.

In retrospect, the armed struggle against the Japanese imperialists, the established leadership position of the KPRA in the overall Korean revolution\and its increasing role as the hard-core force patently proved that we were absolutely correct in adhering to the principle of concentrating on the building of the revolutionary armed force by giving it priority over all other matters.

In general, in the struggle of the communists to seize power, the principle was to\organize the party as the political leadership first\and then build the revolutionary armed force.

However, in view of the decisive role of the revolutionary armed force\and violence in the revolutionary struggle, in the national liberation struggle in the colonies in particular,\and in consideration of the specific situation in our country, I chose the method of giving priority to building the armed force,\and then building the party.

We\organized the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army, the first revolutionary armed force, in April 1932\and developed it into the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army. By relying on this army we not only ignited the armed struggle against the Japanese imperialists\and led the overall national liberation struggle to a fresh upsurge, but also successfully pushed forward the laying of the\organizational\and ideological foundations for party building, the formation of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland (ARF), the development of the united-front movement\and the preparations for all-out national resistance under the leadership of the KPRA\and its armed support.

We can say that the KPRA, which played the role of the backbone\and hard core during the revolutionary struggle against the Japanese imperialist aggressors, gave the struggle political leadership\and provided an armed guarantee for the national interests, was, in fact, our Party\and our government as well as our armed force.

All this meant that our own hard-core force capable of carrying out the tasks of the new strategic stage had been prepared.

Many successes had been achieved in awakening the popular masses to ideological awareness\and\organizing them to get them prepared politically and ideologically. In those days the membership of the ARF amounted to 200,000.

In the homeland there were many paramilitary\organizations, such as workers’ shock brigades\and production guerrillas. These\organizations served as parent bodies for the formation of armed units for all-out national resistance.

The political climate among the unorganized masses also was very good. Around that time Kim Il’s small unit was on a march towards the Tuman River, on their way back rom the homeland after giving the enemy hard blows.

Suddenly, they spied a lame peasant hobbling after them. The man warned the guerrillas not to cross the river at the point to which they were heading. He said that the area was crawling with the enemy.

Kim Il was not sure whether he should believe this man\or not, because he was a stranger.

Seeing that the guerrillas were hesitating, the peasant produced a newspaper report of the battle in the Musan area in May 1939. The man was so proud of his countrymen’s feat that he had been carrying the clipping with him ever since. Kim Il decided to trust him.

The peasant said he would guide them, adding that although there were guards on the route, these people would help the revolutionary army.

The small unit crossed the river in safety that night, with the help of local villagers who had been forced to stand guard, who guided the guerrillas to a safe crossing.

The growing politico-ideological awareness of the people\and their invariable support for the KPRA gave a strong impetus to the development of the armed struggle against the Japanese.

Changes in the enemy’s strategic aims are another question that has to be taken into consideration in defining the strategic stage of armed struggle.

In the summer of 1940, we captured a Japanese engineer officer at a road construction site in Huanggouling. Through interrogation we got to know that the enemy was undertaking a large project to form a road network in the wide area of Jiandao\and southern Manchuria. The prisoner said that roads were under construction not only in Helong, Yanji, Dunhua, Huadian\and Fusong, centring on Antu County, but also in the homeland\and in the steep, inaccessible valleys in the area northeast of Mt. Paektu.

The progress of military road construction was reported every day to Kwantung Army headquarters through the “Nozoe Punitive Command”. The prisoner said that Commander Nozoe would soon inspect the roads, which were being built to increase the mobility of the “punitive” forces in the campaign against the KPRA. These roads would be used by the enemy to mass forces in the theatre of our operations rom various parts of Korea\and Northeast China.

In addition, many aeroplane landing-strips had been constructed around us. The prisoner said that more landing-strips would be constructed in the three provinces in the southeast on Nozoe’s top-secret\orders. He revealed the locations of the landing-strips that he knew, saying that the aircraft would be attached to the “area punitive forces”\and even “small-area punitive forces”.

If the prisoner’s statement was true, we would be as good as surrounded by the enemy’s landing-strips.

About that time, the “Nozoe Punitive Command” was going to be moved rom Jilin to Yanji,\and the headquarters of the “east-area punitive force” rom Yanji to Tumen.

Our Headquarters continually received information rom reconnaissance parties\and other sources that enemy reinforcements were ceaselessly moving towards the theatre of our activities. It seemed that the enemy was seeking a final showdown before long at any cost.

It seemed impossible to deal with the rapid change in the enemy’s situation using the previous strategic measures. A drastic change in our strategy was imperative.

For this reason, I put forward the strategic task of preserving\and increasing our revolutionary force through actions on our own initiative while avoiding losses rom inadvertent combat, regarding this task as most important for the revolution.


The strategic policy of taking the initiative to greet the momentous occasion of national liberation was adopted at the conference held in Xiaohaerbaling in August 1940.

When we reached the border between Antu\and Dunhua Counties, Ri Ryong Un, the commander of the 15th Regiment,\and Company Commander Im Chol came to see us with several bodyguards.

I explained to Ju Jae Il the purpose of calling the conference of military\and political cadres in Xiaohaerbaling,\and told him to summon company commanders, company political instructors\and higher officers to the meeting. They were to arrive by August 9,\or the 7th of the seventh month by the lunar calendar. An Kil\and Choe Hyon, who were operating around Wangqing\and Dongning, were to be informed of the results of the conference later,\and the 13th\and 14th Regiments were to send only their company delegates who were fighting not far rom us. Since Ri Ryong Un\and Im Chol were already with us, there was no need to notify the 15th Regiment.

The conference lasted two days, rom the tenth to the eleventh of August. The major issue at the conference was whether to define the next strategic stage as the period of a great revolutionary event, in other words, whether we could liberate the country in the next stage.

I said, in short, that we could. I explained that the Japanese army was crumbling, though it still was strong, that the outbreak of mutiny in the air corps of the Kwantung Army, its crack unit, foreboded its imminent collapse, that the enemy was hard pressed to stop his men deserting\and surrendering time\and again on the battlefield in China, that there was no need for further explanation,\and that the day of Japan’s defeat was not far off.

Some time earlier, Japan had issued what it called the “special volunteers” decree to force Korean youths to serve as its cannon-fodder. This decree was being enforced in Taiwan\and Manchuria as well.

For Japan to have to resort to procuring cannon-fodder even rom among the young people of her colonies who hated her, her shortage of military manpower must have been serious indeed.


During the period rom the September 18 incident1 to the July 7 incident2, the Japanese army lost nearly 200,000 troops in Manchuria alone. In the Sino-Japanese War, Japan was said to have suffered even greater manpower loss in a single year.

Japan’s strategic material reserves were nearing a critical point.

In the days immediately before the conference at Xiaohaerbaling, the Japanese used ammunition that had been produced later than 1939,\whereas at the time of the Battle of Jiansanfeng they had used ammunition produced in the 1920s. This meant that their ammunition reserves were exhausted.

Meanwhile, Japan’s political situation was very complex. The Cabinet changed once almost every three days,\and polemics raged ceaselessly. The military also was full of contradictions. Because the senior officers were divided into different factions\and wrangled with each other, they could not ensure the unity of operations\and cooperation. On top of that, the contradictions between capital\and labour, between the military\and civilian sectors of the population,\and between suzerain\and colonies were reaching the point of explosion. Secret agents had to be planted even in the villages of Japan itself to gag her own people.

At the conference, therefore, I summed up Japan’s state policy as an overt indication of her attempt to occupy Southeast Asia, taking advantage of the outbreak of war in Europe,\and laid special emphasis on my consideration of the prospect that if Japan advanced into Southeast Asia, it would amount to digging her own grave.

To proceed, the conference discussed the strategic task that should be carried out pending the great event of national liberation.

At the time, we defined a new strategic task of preserving\and accumulating the force of the KPRA, the backbone of the Korean revolution,\and training its officers\and men to be able political\and military cadres in preparation for greeting the great event of national liberation on our own initiative.

The great event meant a final decision into which the opposing sides would throw all their political\and military capabilities. To win the decisive battle, each of our men should be prepared to perform the duties of ranks several grades higher than his present one. After the country was liberated, these men were to play the pivotal role in the building of a new Korea.

The decisive battle\and the building of a new country were a strategic challenge that would mean the making of a new history of our country\and bringing about a dramatic change in the fate of our people. It was a task that could not be carried out by any foreigners. The KPRA\and the Korean people had to carry it out themselves.

We had to rely on the force we ourselves had prepared through many years of revolutionary struggle against the Japanese. It would be welcome if other people helped us in the decisive battle, but we must fight in our own right. So I asked my men if they could raise their qualifications by a few grades,\and they answered yes with confidence. I again asked if they could arm all the people\and mobilize them in resistance,\and again they answered in the affirmative.

In\order to ensure the success of the strategic task, we put forward a new fighting policy on switching over rom large-unit operations to small-unit actions.

Certainly, there was some argument about this idea. Some comrades were apprehensive of the possibility of small units being defeated piecemeal in an encounter with large enemy forces, which would attack us rom all quarters.

“The heyday of large units is gone,” I said to these comrades. “This is no time for noisily moving about in large units. If we continued with large-unit operations when the enemy is trying to surround us with large forces\and destroy us at one stroke, it would mean falling into the enemy’s trap\and ending in self-destruction. Figuratively, it would amount to covering our heads with pumpkins\and crawling into a pigsty. If we move\and fight in small units\and conduct political work among the masses, it will be easy to obtain food supplies\and manoeuvre with freedom. How many comrades have been killed by the enemy on missions to get food! Even the food supplies that had cost their lives soon ran out because they had to be shared out among large units. Small-unit actions will scatter the enemy forces to the maximum. This was proved in the whole course of the small-unit actions carried out during this spring\and summer. Our intention should be to minimize the enemy’s targets.”

We re-emphasized the need to develop elusive small-unit military actions in the wide areas of Korea\and Manchuria, conduct intensive political work among the masses, quickly\organize the work of improving the military\and political qualifications of every soldier\and officer,\and strengthen solidarity with the anti-imperialist forces throughout the world, in\order to carry out the new strategic task. We reached agreement on specific measures,\and then closed the meeting.

The Xiaohaerbaling conference was a historic meeting that decided to change our strategic line at a new turning point of our revolution, like the Mingyuegou conference in December 1931\and the Nanhutou conference in February 1936 that also set forth important strategic lines for the armed struggle against the Japanese.

If we had continued with large-unit operations in pursuit of only immediate successes, unable to see the trend of developments at the opportune moments, it would have been impossible to preserve our force\and we would have been wiped out, to be remembered by history as mere martyrs.

Xiaohaerbaling is the tail of the Haerba mountain range that stretches along the border between Dunhua\and Antu Counties. The meeting was held on the northern slope of the range. There was a grassy area in front of the site of the conference.

Mention of the conference reminds me of that grassy area. No one came to cut the grass, probably because the place was far rom any village. Seeing the grass, I thought that Kim Chaek, Ho Hyong Sik\and Pak Kil Song, who were said to be riding about on horseback in northern Manchuria, would like to have their horses graze there. I met those comrades in the Soviet Far East.

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 20. For a Fresh Upsurge of the Revolution 1. Arduous March

[Reminiscences]Chapter 20. For a Fresh Upsurge of the Revolution 2. The Lesson of Qingfeng

[Reminiscences]Chapter 20. For a Fresh Upsurge of the Revolution 3. The Salt Incident

[Reminiscences]Chapter 20. For a Fresh Upsurge of the Revolution 4. Battle of Taehongdan

[Reminiscences]Chapter 20. For a Fresh Upsurge of the Revolution 5. The Tano Festival at Yushidong

[Reminiscences]Chapter 20. For a Fresh Upsurge of the Revolution 6. Women Fighters\and Revolutionary Honour

[Reminiscences]Chapter 21 Roar of Gunfire in the Large-Unit Circling Operations 1. A Woman Came to Visit the Secret Camp

[Reminiscences]Chapter 21 Roar of Gunfire in the Large-Unit Circling Operations 2. Chinese Landlord Liu Tong-shi

[Reminiscences]Chapter 21 Roar of Gunfire in the Large-Unit Circling Operations 3. Confronted by Hundreds of Thousands of “Punitive” Troops

[Reminiscences]Chapter 21 Roar of Gunfire in the Large-Unit Circling Operations 4. O Jung Hup\and His 7th Regiment

[Reminiscences]Chapter 21 Roar of Gunfire in the Large-Unit Circling Operations 5. The Man rom Phyongan Province

[Reminiscences]Chapter 21 Roar of Gunfire in the Large-Unit Circling Operations 6. “Let Us Defend the Soviet\union with Arms!”

[Reminiscences]Chapter 21 Roar of Gunfire in the Large-Unit Circling Operations 7. The End of the “Maeda Punitive Force”



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