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Leaders of the Provisional Government

Koreans also carried out armed struggles against the Japanese. In the 1920s, more than thirty Korean independence army units engaged in resistance activities in Manchuria and the Maritime Provinces of Siberia. In June 1920, a Korean independence army unit led by Hong Beom-do dealt a devastating blow to Japanese troops in Fengwutung, Jilin Province, China. In October 1920, Korean volunteers led by Kim Jwa-jin won a great victory against Japanese troops in Helongxian, Manchuria. This is known as the Battle of Cheongsalli among Koreans.

In 1940, the Provisional Government of Korea (PGK) organized the Korean Liberation Army in Chungqing, integrating many scattered volunteer independence fighters in Manchuria. The PGK declared war against Japan and dispatched troops to the front lines in India and Myanmar to fight on the side of the Allied Forces. Some young Koreans received special training from a special military unit of the United States to better equip them to attack Japanese forces in Korea.

On August 15, 1945, Koreans finally received what they had looked forward to for so long: the country’s liberation as a result of Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War. U.S. and Soviet troops were deployed to the south and north of the 38th parallel, respectively to disarm Japanese troops remaining on the Korean Peninsula.