June 25, 1950
Anniversary of the Start of the Korean War
The U.S. Must Be Held Accountable for Korean War
Part of U.S. imperialism’s modus operandi to justify its wars of aggression is the use of disinformation to deprive the peoples of the facts and context to draw warranted conclusions about who are the aggressors. Such is the case in Korea, where, in the post-World War II period, U.S. interference became so untenable that it led to the Korean War.
Japan annexed and occupied Korea in 1910, an occupation that continued through to the end of World War II. On December 1, 1943, Britain, the Republic of China and the United States issued the Cairo Declaration — an outcome of the Cairo Conference held to discuss military strategy for the defeat of Japan and the reconstruction of postwar East Asia. It noted: “The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.” None of these “three great powers” asked the Korean people their opinion, even though it was they who were spearheading the resistance against the Japanese military occupiers of their homeland.
On August 15, 1945, Liberation Day in Korea, the U.S. unilaterally divided Korea at the 38th parallel. This was so that the Soviet Union, which had declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945 and participated in the liberation of Korea, would receive the Japanese surrender in the north, while the United States would receive the Japanese surrender in the south. In the meantime, the Korean people, who had themselves disarmed the Japanese, were jubilant in the north and the south and by September 6 had declared a Korean People’s Republic.
Two days later the U.S. military arrived in Korea and declared the Korean People’s Republic illegal. It outlawed the people’s committees, which nonetheless in the north continued to play a decisive role in building a new society with the support of the Soviet Union until 1948.
Soon after its arrival, the U.S. established the United States Military Government in Korea (USMGK). One of the first things the USMGK did was to put former Japanese officers and Koreans who had collaborated with the Japanese military occupiers of Korea (1910-1945) in positions of power.
From 1945 to 1948, the USMGK carried out a campaign of mass terror against the south Korean people in an attempt to defeat their revolutionary uprising against the U.S. dictate. The evidence presented at the Korean International War Crimes Tribunal in New York City, June 23-25, 2001, in which over 60 Canadians participated, provided details of the crimes committed by the U.S. military in Korea from 1945-1950. These included mass political assassinations of communists, socialists and progressive forces who expressed sympathy for their northern compatriots. Torture and imprisonment were widely used against patriotic Korean intellectuals, students, women, peasants and workers who affirmed Korean independence and sovereignty, and an anti-communist crusade against the north Koreans was carried out.
In the face of this organized terror, the Korean people stepped up their revolutionary resistance. In April 1948, a broad political conference representing 56 south and north Korean political parties met at Pyongyang to oppose the fraudulent U.S./UN elections planned in the south for May 10. The meeting called for elections organized and run by the Korean people themselves. That same month the heroic Jeju Island uprising took place to protest the U.S./UN elections. The Jeju Islanders took up arms, burned down the polling stations and took over military posts to assert their right to decide their future. They were met with massive force directed by the U.S. resulting in the deaths of nearly 30,000 patriotic Koreans on the island who wanted nothing less than one Korea undivided. The Yosu Uprising in October 1948 spurred more widespread armed struggle against the U.S. military and their local puppets.
By this time, U.S. monopolies and finance capital controlled 80 per cent of the key sectors of the south Korean economy, such as mining, energy production, manufacturing, banking and other sectors — taking over from where the Japanese militarists had left off. Thus there was no motivation for the U.S. imperialists to see a “free and independent Korea.”
In 1948, only after three years of efforts by the Korean people and when there seemed no possibility of a united Korea, Koreans in the north, led by Kim Il Sung, declared their Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Since its founding the DPRK has continued to uphold the dignity of the Korean nation and has spearheaded the Korean people’s movement for peace and reunification.
The disinformation that the DPRK launched an unprovoked attack across the 38th parallel at 4:30 am on June 25, 1950 to start the Korean War is repeated by the U.S. and its allies, including the Canadian government, and the monopoly media to justify the ongoing criminal political and economic sanctions against the DPRK and to continue the Korean War.
The facts show that the Korean War was instigated by the U.S. as a result of its policies in south Korea from 1945-1950 and that it intervened in a civil war situation in violation of the UN Charter. The launching of the Korean War by the U.S. began in 1945 and escalated on June 25, 1950. If the U.S. had not occupied Korea in 1945, the Korean people would have sorted out their own problems, as they clearly proved when they declared their Korean People’s Republic. Who then should be held responsible for the Korean War if not the U.S.?
Canadians should look into the Korean War in light of their own direct experience of the U.S. role in the world today. The Korean War was a civil war concerning the Korean people. It did not concern the U.S., Canada, or any of the other countries who went to war against the Korean people to assist U.S. imperialism.
During the war, the Korean people suffered 4.6 million deaths of mostly civilians, the destruction of the economic infrastructure of the DPRK and the ruin of the Korean economy, both north and south. The Korean War was a holocaust against the Korean people in which the U.S. carried out massacres of civilians, carpet bombing, germ and chemical warfare such as the broad use of napalm, and even threatened to use the atom bomb, all in an effort to subdue the Korean people. But it failed.
Canadians have a responsibility to the Korean people to ensure that another Korean War does not break out. Canadians and all peace-loving people must demand that the United States sign a peace treaty with the DPRK to end the Korean War once and for all.
1. Korea International War Crimes Tribunal, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea 1945-2001 (2001).
2. Hugh Deane. The Korean War 1945-1953.
3. Korea Focus, Vol. 1; No 1 — Special Issue (1971).