home | bits of history | next >>>

An Arrogance of Power: Korea 1945

StalinFranklin D. Roosevelt

Korea had been under Japanese rule. Toward the end of World War II, Stalin and Roosevelt agreed that Korea should become "free and independent." Without consulting the Koreans, the two men chose to have their armies occupy and divide Korea between them. The Koreans had their own government in exile in China – at Chongqing. They had a well-established resistance movement against the Japanese. As the day of Japan's surrender neared, Japan's governor-general in Korea was looking forward to and orderly withdrawal from Korea. The occupation of Korea by foreign troops was unnecessary, and the US agreement with Stalin would prove to be a tragic mistake.

Narrative: Korea from World War II to the Korean War