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Korea - to 1950

The Partitioning of Korea

Korea was occupied by Japan in 1910 and ruled as a colony until 1945.

After the defeat of the Japanese in the Second World War, the Americans controlled Korea south of the 38th parallel and the Soviets controlled the north.

Neither the US nor USSR wanted long-term involvement in Korea and, in November 1947, supported the establishment of a United Nation Commission to supervise elections in both the North and South with the aim of setting up a unified Korean government.

In the South, Syngmann Rhee was elected President of the Republic of Korea and the US withdrew most of its forces.

The communist administration in the North refused to participate and, in September 1948, proclaimed the Democratic People's Rupublic of Korea under the leadership of Kim Il-Sung.

During 1949, there were reports of clashes along the border between the two Koreas and the United Nations sent observers to investigate. The first of these obeservers were Australians, Major Stuart Peach and Squadron Leader Ronald Rankin. They reported unusual levels of military activity in the North.

Japanese troop withdrawal