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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 14, 1945

Soviet forces begin amphibious landings in Korea and quickly overrun the industrial northeast of the country.

August 15, 1945

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The Japanese surrender to the Allies. Chosen Governor-General Abe Nobuyuki hands over power to Yeo Un-hyeong, who establishes the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence.

August 24, 1945

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The Soviet Red Army arrives in Pyongyang and transfers power to the local branches of the Seoul-based Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence. Although the Christian conservative Cho Man-sik continues to act as the head, Communists eventually take full control of the organization.

September 06, 1945

In northern Korea, the Provisional Committee for Korean Independence establishes a quasi-governmental structure called the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK). In the south, delegates from the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence gather in Seoul and declare the Korean People’s Republic (KPR).

Key documents

September 08, 1945

The US Far East Commander arrives in southern Korea and declares a United States Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK). The US authorities initially order Koreans to obey Governor-General Abe and his 70,000 Japanese officials.

September 12, 1945

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The Korean People's Republic in the south advocates the confiscation of Japanese-owned land and other labor reforms, but it is unable to work effectively because the US military forces do not recognize its legitimacy. The United States removes Governor-General Abe Nobuyuki and begins to gradually repatriate Japanese officials to Japan.

September 16, 1945

In South Korea, conservative landowners and businessmen form the Korean Democratic Party (KDP). Many members are anti-communist and have ties to Kim Seong-su and Song Jin-u.

September 19, 1945

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Kim Il Sung and sixty-six other Korean officers arrive in Wonsan from Siberia and are demobilized.


October 05, 1945

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General John R. Hodge creates a Korean Advisory Council with Kim Seong-su as head.

October 08, 1945

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The Five Provinces Provisional People’s Committee is assembled under nationalist Cho Man-sik. This leads to the establishment of the Five Provinces Administrative Bureau, an embryonic North Korean government.

October 14, 1945

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Kim Il Sung makes his first major public appearance at a Pyongyang rally.

October 16, 1945

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Syngman Rhee returns to Seoul. He quickly establishes a strong public political profile and falls out with the US Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK).

November 23, 1945

Students in the city of Sinuiju protest Soviet occupation of Northern Korea.

December 18, 1945

The Soviets bring together the northern provincial committees of the Korean Communist Party and establish the North Korean Communist Party with Kim Il Sung as its head.

December 27, 1945

The wartime Allied Powers meet in Moscow and agree that the Soviet Union, the United States, China, and Great Britain should constitute a four-power trusteeship of Korea for up to five years in order to prepare the country for independence.