The division of Korea and the rise of two Koreas, 1945–1948

Authored by: Jongsoo Lee

Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean History

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415739313
eBook ISBN: 9781315816722
Adobe ISBN: 9781317811497


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When Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender in World War II on August 15, 1945, there was euphoria among Koreans both in and outside the Korean peninsula. As they rejoiced in their liberation from 36 years of Japanese colonial rule, they expected speedy restoration of independence to Korea as a sovereign state. However, what soon greeted them was not immediate independence but the partition of the peninsula into two halves at the 38th parallel by the occupying troops of the Soviet Union and the United States. Although these foreign troops were welcomed as liberators, Koreans grew increasingly unhappy as time went on and it became clear that immediate restoration of independence was not forthcoming and that the partition of the peninsula was becoming more permanent.

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