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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 22 3. On Receiving a Message rom the Comintern

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 22 3. On Receiving a Message rom the Comintern


   


 

3. On Receiving a Message rom the Comintern 

 

 The great leader devoted much effort to cooperation with international revolutionary forces during the years of the anti-Japanese revolution, while giving independent leadership to the Korean revolution.

He recollected the events in the period rom the late 1930s to the early 1940s, when the Korean revolution was broadening its scope on an international scale with the deepening of relations with the Comintern\and the Soviet\union,\and when the joint struggle of the Korean\and Chinese peoples against the Japanese was developing onto a higher stage of struggle that involved Korea, China\and the Soviet\union. His recollections are as follows:


In 1939 we restored contact with the Comintern that had been interrupted for several years. It was when we had changed into new cotton-padded uniforms for large-unit circling operations.


The main force of the KPRA was then undergoing military\and political training in the secret camp at Hualazi.


One day Kim Il, who had been on a small-unit operation, returned to Headquarters with three prisoners in dark dabushanzi. He said that he had captured the men because their appearances\and behaviour were suspicious. They did not look like mountain peasants,\and so he thought they might be special agents of the Japanese.


They had pistols, pans\and roasted soy beans with them.


When I questioned them,\and when they found out that we were the 2nd Directional Army\and that I was Kim Il Sung, they said they were messengers rom the Comintern. They produced a match-box, in which the match sticks were longer than those produced in Manchuria\or Korea. They said that they were made in the Soviet\union. At that time, however, none of us could recognize them as being Soviet-made.


I asked for more proof of their identity.


They then produced a pocket knife. It was the one I had sent to the Comintern through Wei Zheng-min. It had been intended for use as a secret sign of identification when making contact with us. Many stormy years had passed, but I remembered that knife well. I had told Wei Zheng-min to leave it in the care of the Comintern in Moscow to be used by its messengers to us as their credentials.


The knife dispelled our suspicions about the three messengers. It was very pleasing to us that the Comintern had sent us messengers,\and had not forgotten us, though we had not yet heard their mission.


Contact with the Comintern that had been severed after the Nanhutou conference was re-established in this manner. The messengers’ arrival was a great encouragement to us as we were preparing for new operations, decisive battles, against an enemy force of more than 200,000 troops.


The messengers said that six men had been sent\originally, but three of them, including a Korean, had fallen ill while searching for us\and returned.


The Comintern, unable to pinpoint\where we were, had instructed them to look for Kim Il Sung’s army around Yanji. They had searched for us here\and there, guessing at our\whereabouts, wasting much time\and suffering many hardships. Although they had a map, it was useless because we were on mobile operations at the time.


To make matters worse, the local people shunned them,\and they were going to give up trying to contact us\and return to the Soviet\union when a man in the village of Sandaogou hinted to them that they should search for us around Hualazi,\and that was how they found us.


They said that their clothes had been burned in an accidental fire while they were sleeping in a mountain hut. Their food rations had run out\and they had had to survive on roasted soy beans. If they had failed to find us at Hualazi, they would have abandoned their mission\and gone back. They said that rom the moment they set foot on the soil of Manchuria, they had felt as if they were on a ship in distress in a raging sea.


I provided them with new clothes\and articles of daily use. Then, after a meal, they took a good rest in comfort in the Headquarters tent.


An official record of the Japanese imperialists about the Comintern’s dispatch of messengers to the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung\and the 1st Route Army of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army (NAJAA) in late Juche 28(1939) goes as follows:


“On October 11, in the 6th year of Kangde (1939), eight Russians wearing pistols\and dressed like bandits, accompanied by two Korean interpreters, came\and had an important interview with Kim Il Sung, who was in the forest of Zhenfeng, northwest of Sandaogou, Helong County. They stayed there approximately ten days, allowing nobody except high-ranking officers to approach them,\and then left there taking with them 12 infirm persons rom the group of Kim Il Sung’s bandits. It is said that the Russians were messengers rom the Soviet\union. ...


Although nothing is known in detail, they must have been on an important mission directly rom the Soviet\union.” (Report rom Hunchun consul Kiuchi, July 26, Showa 15 (1940).)


“Next, about the line of party leadership. In December last year (1939), four messengers came to the 1st Route Army directly rom the Soviet\union, but nothing is known about the content of the message\or its purpose. Only the fact is clearly stated in Wei Zheng-min’s letter to Yang Jing-yu, a letter that was obtained in Fusong on January 22 this year (1940). It is clear ...


that they took the route via Dunhua, Dapuchaihe,\and then Liangjiangkou.” (The Movements of the 1st Route Army of the NAJAA, Thought Monthly, No. 77, Criminal Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, November Showa 15 (1940).)


The message for us rom the Comintern at that time was brief,\and concerned two matters. One was the invitation of the delegates of the KPRA\and the 1st Route Army to the conference of commanders of the guerrilla forces in Manchuria to be convened by the Comintern. The other was the Comintern’s opinion about the desirability for the anti-Japanese guerrilla forces in Northeast China to refrain rom large-unit operations for the time being.


In those days, the Comintern\and the Soviet\union were taking a new approach to the trend of development of guerrilla warfare in Northeast China. In the late 1930s, the internal affairs of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army movement were somewhat complicated. The 2nd\and 3rd Route Armies operating in northern Manchuria\and in the Jidong area differed in their opinions about leadership, cooperation\and some other problems.


To settle these differences, the Comintern discussed the matters in the Soviet\union with the delegates rom the 2nd\and 3rd Route Armies. In the course of discussion, they thought of inviting delegates rom the KPRA\and the 1st Route Army in southern Manchuria for a wider-ranging discussion, availing themselves of the meeting of the delegates rom the Anti-Japanese Allied Army operating in northern Manchuria\and in the Jidong area, in\order to work out measures to effect an upsurge in the anti-Japanese revolution in the whole area of Northeast China\and to coordinate the guerrilla warfare in Manchuria with Soviet Far East policy.


Of course, the messengers rom the Comintern did not explain to us these details, but such an inference was fully possible rom the military\and political situation in the Far East region\and rom the policies pursued by the Soviet\union\and the Comintern.


However, neither Yang Jing-yu\and Wei Zheng-min nor I were in a position to leave the theatre of operations. Our absence rom our units for a trip to the Soviet\union at a time when the enemy’s large-scale “punitive” offensive was imminent might involve serious consequences in carrying out our new operations\and badly affect the men’s morale.


The Comintern’s advice to reconsider the advisability of large-unit operations, too, was not to be accepted without reservation. Whether\or not the suspension of large-unit operations might end in a passive, evasive dispersion needed prudent consideration.


After explaining our views about the two issues to the messengers, I sent one of them to Wei Zheng-min. Our Headquarters’ correspondent code-named Mangang guided him.

I sent the records\and photographs about the struggle of the KPRA to the Comintern through its messengers when they left the Hualazi secret camp. These documents would be safe in the Soviet\union,\and we would be relieved of the burden of carrying them about.


There were about enough documents to fill a knapsack. The photograph of me wearing spectacles, taken at a secret camp at Wudaogou, Linjiang County, was among them.


Unfortunately, the messengers were said to have been captured by Self-defence Corps men at a railway crossing in Helong County on their way back to the Soviet\union. In consequence, all the documents fell into the enemy’s hands. Judging rom the fact that our photographs appeared in the official records of the Japanese imperialists, it is evident that they suffered misfortune on their way back to the Soviet\union.


There was a Chinese named Ning among the messengers. A letter Wei Zheng-min sent to the Comintern mentioned that Ning had been wounded in a clash with the enemy.


Wei Zheng-min held the same opinions as we did about the two issues raised by the Comintern.


It was in the early 1930s that we first got in touch with the Comintern. It may be said that we were in fairly close contact with the Comintern during the first half of the 1930s.


From early 1936 to the autumn of 1939, however, we had almost no contact with the Comintern. Wei Zheng-min had been to Moscow in early 1936 to settle the differences about the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle7, an issue that had not been resolved at the Yaoyinggou conference8. After that, we did not send any messenger to the Comintern, nor the Comintern to us.


Frankly speaking, we felt no need to contact the Comintern. Since the question of the strategic line that would affect the future of the Korean revolution had settled in a reasonable way, we believed that all that we needed was to continue with the revolution in line with the decision adopted at the Nanhutou conference.


We advanced the revolution in keeping with this clearly-defined strategic line,\and expanded the armed struggle into the homeland rom the base on Mt. Paektu. It was our consistent attitude\and part of our fighting spirit to lay down all our lines\and policies independently,\and carry them out in the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance. The Korean communists were short of many things\and had many difficulties, but managed to overcome all these obstacles by their own efforts. We didn’t beg for anything rom anybody. Because we have the historical tradition\and experience of firmly maintaining an independent revolutionary line ever since the years of the struggle against the Japanese, we are still the Party with the strongest spirit of independence, the nation with the strongest spirit of independence,\and the country with the strongest spirit of independence, in the world.


There are many nations in the world that have fought guerrilla wars\or modern wars using regular armed forces, to drive out foreign forces rom their lands. But one can hardly find another example of armed resistance that has been carried out in such arduous conditions as in our country. We often say that we fought for 15-long years without our own home front\and without any support rom a regular army,\and there is no exaggeration in this expression. When we say this, we are referring to the arduousness of the Korean revolution.


We are well aware that the Yugoslav guerrillas fought well during the Second World War. Considering, however, that Yugoslavia was occupied by the German army in April 1941, their guerrilla warfare covered only a few years. When Tito began his guerrilla campaign, a considerable part of the Yugoslav regular army remained in existence.


Moreover, the Yugoslav guerrillas received much aid rom the Soviet people. According to Zhukov’s memoirs, the Soviet\union sent hundreds of thousands of rifles\and machine-guns alone to that country. The Yugoslav guerrillas were said to have received even tanks\and artillery pieces rom the Soviet people.


The Chinese people’s war against the Japanese can also be explained in a similar way.


Jiang Jie-shi had several million troops under his command. You cannot say that his large army fought only against the communists. In fact, they had engagements with the Japanese, though in a passive\and lukewarm way. If Jiang Jie-shi’s army contained the Japanese even a little, that should be considered support for the Chinese people’s guerrilla war. The expression, Kuomintang-Communist Cooperation, should be understood as meaning joint resistance against the Japanese.


In Korea, on the other hand, the regular army ceased to exist in 1907,\and we began the armed struggle more than 20 years after that. When we started the armed struggle, there was no remnant of the regular army.

Because the country had gone to ruin, a home front was totally inconceivable.


There were some rifles that had been left over rom the Righteous Volunteers\and Independence Army, but these were all outdated\and so rusty that they were useless. We had to obtain every single rifle at the risk of our lives.


There would be no end to it if we were to dwell on all the hardships we suffered during the armed struggle\and the bitter trials our guerrillas underwent in the mountains for nearly a decade.


Still, we never turned to others for help.


As I have said on many occasions, the Comintern paid great attention to the revolution in large countries like China\and India, but not much to the Korean revolution. Some people in the Comintern regarded the Korean revolution as an appendage to the revolution in China\or Japan.


Even in its relation to the Chinese revolution, the Comintern showed great interest in the revolutionary struggle in the heartland of China, but it may be said that it cast only a glance at the revolution in Northeast China. The world knows that the Comintern sent Borodin\and Blucher to the Kuomintang as advisers,\and it sent Voitinsky, Maring\and Otto Braun to the Communist Party of China (CPC).


By contrast, it sent no advisers to help the revolution in Northeast China. If it gave any support to the revolution in Northeast China, it was only for the 2nd\and 3rd Route Armies. It would be no exaggeration to say that the Comintern was almost indifferent to the KPRA\and the 1st Route Army, which were fighting far away rom the Soviet-Manchurian border.


The Comintern’s slighting of the revolution in Northeast China can be seen clearly rom the fact that it brought commanding officers rom Manchuria to the Soviet\union to give them training, but it sent most of them to China proper, not back to Northeast China, after their training. Liu Han-xing, chief of staff of the 2nd Corps of the Northeast People’s Revolutionary Army,\and Li Jing-pu of the 5th Corps, with whom we had waged joint struggles in the guerrilla zones in Jiandao, were assigned to Yanan after their training in the Soviet\union, instead of returning to the place of their\origin. Only after Japan’s defeat did they return to Northeast China.


Records left by the Japanese say that the revolution in Northeast China was carried out with the support of the Soviet\union\or the Comintern. That is not true.

At one time, the Japanese claimed that I had been trained in the communist university in Moscow\and that I had come to Manchuria in command of a crack unit rom the Soviet\union in the summer of 1938. Some Japanese official records also said that I had trained my men in the Soviet\union with its support for quite a long time before I came back to Manchuria,\or that I had returned to Manchuria after the Zhanggufeng incident9\and exerted great influence in Dongbiandao.


This kind of propaganda was aimed at describing us as people acting under the instigation\and control of the Soviet\union,\or of foreign forces, in\order to weaken\and obliterate our influence upon the people in our country.


To tell you the truth, we owed nothing in particular to the Soviet\union\or the Comintern in those days. When we were in Wangqing, we wrote to the Soviet\union asking for the construction of a factory to supply us with grenades, but they did not even answer. So we made “Yanji bombs” on our own\and used them.


So how was it that the Comintern, which had been somewhat cool\and indifferent to the revolution in Northeast China\and in Korea, took the unusual step of sending messengers to us\and inviting us to the Soviet\union in 1939?


It may be explained that the change in its attitude was, in short, the requirement of the military\and political situation in the Soviet\union in those days, when an invasion by Japan seemed imminent. The Soviet\union, which became wideawake to the Japanese imperialists’ wild ambition for territorial expansion\and their piratical nature through the Lake Khasan incident\and the Khalkhin-Gol incident10, was fully aware of the danger of Japan’s imminent northern expedition\and, in cooperation with the Comintern, was seeking every way to cope with such an invasion.


At this point, the Comintern attached special importance to finding potential allies capable of giving armed support to the Soviet\union on its flanks\and behind enemy lines,\and to realizing military\and political link-ups with these allies. The KPRA\and the NAJAA were the only forces capable of providing armed support for the eastern flank of the Soviet\union. The Comintern regarded the anti-Japanese armed forces in Northeast China as one wing of the Soviet Far East forces, as their outer-line forces,\and tried to make them a detachment of the Far East forces. The Soviet\union was of the same opinion on this matter.


It seems that the Soviet people, who had paid no particular attention to the anti-Japanese resistance movement in Northeast China in the first half of the 1930s, realized that the guerrillas in Manchuria were not to be slighted only when they saw the KPRA\and the NAJAA taking powerful offensives behind the enemy lines in support of their country at the time of the Lake Khasan\and Khalkhin-Gol incidents. rom that time, they made every effort to strengthen ties with us.


The Comintern also made concerted efforts with the Soviet\union. Subordinating everything to the support of the Soviet\union was the basic mission\and a consistent policy of the Comintern.


This does not mean, however, that the Comintern\and the Soviet Far East military authorities were in complete agreement in their views on the anti-Japanese forces in Northeast China. The Comintern considered that the guerrilla forces in Manchuria should place emphasis on preserving themselves intact until a war broke out. But the Far East military authorities insisted that a powerful military offensive to prevent the Japanese troops rom moving deeper into the Chinese hinterland was imperative, because the whole of China was now already in a state of war\and sacrifice was unavoidable.


Anyhow, it was a notable change in its policy for the Comintern to take more interest in the anti-Japanese movement in Northeast China\and invite us to the Soviet\union to discuss important strategic\and tactical problems. This meant that we had grown into a powerful force that could provide armed support for the Soviet\union behind enemy lines.


However, we reserved judgement on the Comintern’s proposal. We did not suspend large-unit operations, nor did we visit the Soviet\union. We stayed in Manchuria instead,\and resolutely carried out our large-unit circling operations as planned\and foiled the enemy’s offensive.


As a result of the victorious large-unit circling operations, we were able to map out a new fighting policy on our own initiative. If we had paid a visit to Khabarovsk at the invitation of the Comintern at that time\or had immediately switched over to small-unit actions, we would not have been able to carry out the large-unit operations.


In the autumn of Juche 29 (1940) the great leader received another invitation to a conference convened by the Comintern. Its messengers braved all sorts of perils to reach his Headquarters. Looking back on the event, he said as follows:


I received a second message rom the Comintern in mid-October 1940. At that time, all the units of the KPRA were engaged in small-unit actions everywhere, in line with the policy adopted at the Xiaohaerbaling conference.

Two messengers rom the Comintern came to see us. They said that they had been sent by General Lyushenko working in the Headquarters of the Soviet Far East Forces,\and that the general had given them a message in the name of the Comintern to the effect that I was invited to a conference to be convened by the Comintern at Khabarovsk in December. They also conveyed to me the Comintern’s instructions that all the anti-Japanese armed forces in Manchuria should switch over rom large-unit operations to small-unit actions,\and that they should move as soon as possible into the Soviet Far East area to establish bases there\and regroup.


While working in the Headquarters of the Far East Forces, Lyushenko dealt with the Comintern’s affairs. Later, I went to Khabarovsk\and met him there.

 

“Hello, Comrade Kim Il Sung. It’s very difficult to get to shake hands with you,” he said\and explained how he had sent small groups of men to get in touch with me. I got the first impression that he was an attractive man of ardour\and friendship.


Lyushenko often used the alias Wang Xin-lin, doing a lot of work to establish contact mainly between the Comintern\or the Soviet\union\and us.


According to the messengers, the Khabarovsk conference of the commanders of the guerrilla forces in Manchuria convened by the Comintern in early 1940 had ended in a meeting of only the delegates rom the guerrilla units in northern Manchuria\and in the Jidong area because of the absence of the delegates rom the KPRA\and the 1st Route Army.


However, the Comintern did not abandon the\original plan,\and was set on holding the conference of the commanders of all the armed forces in Northeast China to discuss the direction of the development of the anti-Japanese resistance movement in Northeast China\and straighten out the difficult situation facing the Soviet\union.


The messengers arrived in October 1940, but the Comintern had issued the notice on the convocation of the conference in September that year. Telegraph messages had been sent to the 2nd\and 3rd Route Armies, but we received the message through the messengers because we had no wireless communication system. The Comintern invited the commander-in-chief, political commissar, Party secretary\and other major military\and political cadres of each route army to the Khabarovsk conference.


I notified Wei Zheng-min of the arrival of the Comintern’s messengers,\and proposed to him to take joint measures for the event.


Wei Zheng-min said that he ought to attend the conference to be held on the authority of the Comintern, but that ill-health did not permit it. He asked me to represent not only the KPRA but also the 1st Route Army of the NAJAA\and the South Manchuria Provincial Party Committee .


The Comintern’s idea of small-unit actions was in agreement with the policy we had adopted in this regard at the Xiaohaerbaling conference.


The military\and political situation in this period was much more difficult than in late 1939\and early 1940, when we were engaged in large-unit operations. In other words, it became difficult to move about in large units.


In the first place, the enemy had completed setting up a network of internment villages, which obstructed our procurement of food supplies for large units. We often obtained a handful of food grains\or a piece of maize cake only at the cost of our blood\and the blood of our comrades.


The enemy in those days were putting special efforts into what they called eradicating the basic roots\and ideological work.


The enemy’s policy of internment villages in this period was much more vicious than the one they had pursued against us in West Jiandao. They burned down houses located outside the fortified villages to “keep the people away rom the bandits”, tightened the control of food grain, ammunition\and other supplies, were bent on searching for\and arresting people “in secret touch with the bandits”,\and strictly guarded ferries\and other river crossings. The control of illicit opium cultivation was unusually severe at this time.


At the same time, they clamoured about “relief for the poor”\and “working for the people’s livelihood” in\order to demoralize the revolutionary masses\and other sections of the population.


Our experience proved that small units in action found it relatively easier to obtain food than large units. The food problem was a vital consideration in working out strategy\and tactics. Food took priority over tactics. Can you fight without eating? I use the expression, “food, clothing\and housing”, instead of “clothing, food\and housing” rom my experience of many hardships due to food shortages in the years of guerrilla warfare.


If we operated in small units, moving in\and out of the Soviet Far East region, it would be convenient to do political work among the people\and to train the cadres of our units. We should also be able to engage in military actions in the summer season,\and military\and political training in the winter season in places recommended by the Soviet\union, with ample time\and space. It would also provide favourable conditions for preserving\and developing our forces.


In the late 1930s\and the early 1940s we lost many cadres because of the enemy’s large-scale “punitive” operations.

 

We informed the messengers rom the Comintern of the fact that in view of the requirement for the development of the anti-Japanese armed struggle, we had adopted at the Xiaohaerbaling conference the policy of preserving our forces\and undertaking small-unit actions,\and said that we would take into consideration the invitation to move into the Soviet\union.


Securing a breathing space as well as geographical space for regrouping in a situation in which the enemy was making frantic efforts to destroy us would be beneficial to us not only for the armed struggle at that time but also for its future development. In addition, a base for us to settle down in was needed to preserve\and consolidate our forces.


At that particular moment we paid a lot of attention to the need to preserve our forces, because we were convinced that the day of ultimate victory of the Korean revolution was near at hand.

In the latter half of 1940, the conflagration of the Second World War enveloped the whole of Europe. Everyone had a foreboding that a war would break out between the Soviet\union\and Germany. Japan was planning another war in the southern hemisphere, even before it had been able to crush China. It was as clear as day what the outcome would be if Japan were to provoke a war against the United States\and Britain.


The best thing to do in this situation was to avoid a frontal clash\and preserve\and build up our forces. This view of ours was in basic agreement with that of the Soviet\union\and the Comintern.


It was welcome news that the Soviet\union was ready to provide us with a base in its territory\where we could assemble, regroup,\and preserve\and build up our strength,\and to give us the military\and material support we needed.


However, I did not make a hasty decision about our move to the Soviet\union, because it was an important matter that required prudence. The first problem was how long we would be staying there: Would we be there for a short time\or for a long time? If we were to establish our base there\and remain there for a long time, how could we continue with the armed struggle? Would we be able to move back when necessary into our homeland\or into Manchuria? How could we give leadership to the movement in the homeland if we were in the Soviet Far East region? These were questions that required answers.

In these circumstances, I contemplated a number of choices.


The first option was for the commanders to go to participate in the conference, leaving behind the main force\where it was at the moment,\and then continue the struggle in the\original theatre of operations on the return of the commanders. The second option was for the commanders to go first to attend the conference,\and then take our unit into the Soviet\union at an appropriate time, after sizing up the situation there. The third option was to make our participation in the conference\and our unit’s entry into the Soviet\union coincide,\and take further measures while in temporary residence there.


I settled the matter on the principle of reinforcing our secret base in the Mt. Paektu area even in case of our entry into the Far East region\and, on this premise, of establishing a new base in the Soviet\union. So I needed time\and detailed information regarding the situation.


My\original intention had been to develop small-unit actions in the area under our control during the winter, in line with the policy adopted at the Xiaohaerbaling conference. So we had been making preparations for the winter operations,\and it was not advisable to abandon these preparations.


On the basis of this analysis\and judgement, I put off giving my answer to the request of the Comintern. We continued with our winter preparations while waiting for the persons we had sent to the Soviet\union to investigate the situation in detail\and return to inform us of the results.


We gave Ri Ryong Un an assignment to open a new route to the Soviet\union\and report on the feasibility\and safety of the route we had been using.


Ri Ryong Un was a regimental commander who was renowned for his fighting skills in the 3rd Directional Army. He became regimental commander as successor to Jon Tong Gyu when the latter fell in the battle of Dashahe-Dajianggang in Antu County in August 1939.


Ri Ryong Un was to go to the Soviet\union carrying Wei Zheng-min’s letter to the Comintern. But he did not go for some reason.

 

He was a man of large build\and looked much older than he actually was. He was reticent\and prudent. Usually he was quiet, but on the battlefield he was courageous\and swift in action.

Once his unit raided an internment village in Dunhua County because the unit had run out of food on the march. The reconnaissance party had reported that there were only three enemy soldiers in the village. The\original plan was to send a machine-gun squad to destroy the enemy, but Ri Ryong Un said that there was no need to send a machine-gun squad against only three enemy soldiers,\and that he would go with his\orderly to deal with them\and then give a signal for the rest of the unit to move into the village. His\orderly was Thae Pyong Ryol.


When darkness fell, Ri Ryong Un\and his\orderly went down to the internment village\and walked straight into the barracks without being challenged. In the main office, however, there were approximately 30 officers being given a briefing.


The\orderly, who followed him into the room, said in subsequent days in recollection of the event that at that time he thought that he would never get out of there alive.


Ri Ryong Un, taking out his revolver, said in a calm\and composed manner: “You are surrounded. Stick your hands up!”


The senior officer grabbed Ri’s revolver. Ri Ryong Un pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired. He pulled it back so hard that the Japanese officer let go of the barrel.


Ri Ryong Un reloaded his revolver\and shot the officer down, kicked off the resisting officers,\and overwhelmed them single-handed. Many officers were shot to death.

All this time, Thae Pyong Ryol stood by the door, without firing a single shot. Only when he heard Ri Ryong Un shouting, “Pyong Ryol, guard the wall!” did he notice scores of pistols hanging on the wall.


Ri told his\orderly to collect the pistols,\and took the officers in the room prisoner. That night he\and his\orderly captured all the enemy soldiers returning rom a “punitive” action.

 

Ri Ryong Un became renowned as a peerlessly courageous, audacious\and talented commanding officer in the raid on the Emu County town\and in the battles at Dashahe-Dajianggang, Yaocha\and in many other battles.

I think I gave him the mission on the outskirts of Xiaohaerbaling. I met him\and Im Chol at the same place. When I told him to open a safe route to the Soviet\union, he said that I need not worry about that.


When he\and Im Chol were opening the route on the Soviet-Manchurian border, Rim Chun Chu\and Han Ik Su left for the Soviet\union, escorting the wounded\and infirm.

The wounded\and infirm comrades reached their destination in safety, but Ri Ryong Un, who had departed with the mission of an envoy, died a heroic death in an encounter with the Japanese. He had carried out his assignment to open the route\and succeeded in sending the wounded to the Soviet\union by that route. The other part of his mission was to go to the Soviet\union\and inform us of the situation there. While proceeding to the border to carry out the mission he thought of providing new clothing for his companions, who were in rags, saying that the delegates rom Headquarters to the Soviet\union should be decent in appearance. He decided to obtain clothes with the help of a charcoal burner with whom he had been in touch.


But the charcoal burner was a turncoat, who had once worked for the revolution but had become a secret agent of the enemy. He said he would go to buy clothes for Ri Ryong Un, but brought back with him a hundred enemy soldiers. Ri fought against heavy odds\and died heroically after mowing down scores of the enemy.


Contact with the Comintern, which had been interrupted for several years, was re-established in this manner.


In subsequent years, I maintained close touch with the Comintern\and worked hard to strengthen solidarity with international revolutionary forces.



       

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