The annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 set the stage for future territorial divisions and acted as a catalyst for rival factions to grow and flourish. After Japan suffered defeat in World War II, Korea was liberated and Soviet-American agreements exploited the divisions that had sprung up during the previous decades. Aggravated by old resentments, nationalistic attitudes, and the politics of the new Cold War, the Soviet-American actions further divided North and South Korea, precipitated the Korean War, and erected a lasting wall dividing a country that 50 years earlier had been united. The story of Korea is the story of a once deeply unified people that have been profoundly distanced in a world apart.
The divisions that existed in Korea after Japans defeat in World War II were the result of Japans occupational tyranny. Divisions between the left and the political right, between capitalism and Chinese communism, the nationalists and the Japanese sympathizers, only further disappointed those that expected immediate independence after Japan’s defeat. Even with these disagreements across the country, Korea may have been able to heal its wounds, find some common ground and engage in a program of unification and independence. However, the Soviets and the Americans had already dashed any hope that the Korean’s may have had for unification and they were unwittingly being setup for even greater division (Gourevitch). The initial plans to turn Korea into an American-Soviet trusteeship had fallen through. In the days after the atomic bombs had been dropped, but before Japan surrendered, America already was planning out the future for Korea.
While the Russians occupied the Northern Provinces and the US forces occupied the South, they were forming coalitions and governments that would be sympathetic to their respective ideologies. The Northern Provinces were primarily revolutionaries