The imperial occupation of Korea by Japan from 1905-1945 sowed the seeds of future division and provided an incubator for rival factions to flourish and energize. After Japan was defeated and Korea liberated in 1945, Soviet-American agreements exploited the divisions that had sprung up during the previous decades. Fueled by old resentments, nationalistic movements, and cold war politics, the Soviet-American actions drove a wedge between North and South Korea, precipitated the Korean War, and erected a lasting wall dividing a country that 50 years earlier had been united.
The seeds of division began to be sowed with the arrival of Japanese influence in the Korean peninsula. The 1876 treaty of Ganghwa between Japan and Korea was negotiated to open up trade between the two nations. However, the technically disadvantaged and militarily weaker Korea succumbed to a treaty that greatly favored the Japanese. It limited China's relatively innocuous influence, which setup Korea as a target for future imperialism. Russia, with imperialistic intentions, attempted to exert power over Korea during the 1890s. Japan and Russia, the biggest influences in Korea during this period, could not reach an agreement over the division of the spheres of influence. ...Show more