Among the soldiers of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (in the middle of the second row)
Speech at the Ceremony to Found the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army
April 25, 1932
Comrades, Today we are organizing the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army in order to crush the brigandish Japanese imperialists through an armed struggle and achieve the historic cause of national liberation. It is over 20 years since the Japanese imperialists occupied our homeland. Our country, a golden tapestry of three thousand ri, has now become a complete colony, under the hooves of the Japanese imperialists. Our people with their 5,000-year-long history and brilliant culture are harshly exploited and oppressed as colonial slaves. The misfortunes of our country and people are multiplying as Japanese imperialism becomes more and more ambitious in its continental invasion. Last September the Japanese imperialists occupied Manchuria by provoking an aggressive war. Hell-bent on spreading their aggression across the continent, their white terror against the Korean people is becoming even more outrageous. In an attempt to turn Korea into a “solid rear” for their continental aggression, the Japanese imperialists have gone so far as to deprive our people of all their elementary political freedoms–freedom of speech, the press, assembly and association–and are blocking their revolutionary advance at the point of the bayonet, indulging in the wholesale arrest, imprisonment and massacre of innocent people everywhere. The brutalities of the Japanese imperialists against the Korean people have reached the extreme in the east and other parts of Manchuria. For the purpose of thwarting our people’s anti-Japanese struggle, they raid the Korean settlements every day, running amuck to kill all, burn all and plunder all. Thus, our compatriots, deprived of their country, are being slaughtered even in this alien land. The situation demands that our people face the alternative–to die on their knees or to rise up and fight to survive. Our people have now risen with determination and are fighting everywhere in the teeth of the Japanese imperialists’ barbarities. The workers and peasants are responding with violence to counter the fascist repression of Japanese imperialism, and groups of active patriotic youths are seeking a new way of struggle. Today in this lean spring season more than 100,000 peasants, led by young Korean communists, have begun fighting the Japanese imperialists, their lackeys and the reactionary landlords in Yanji, Wangqing, Helong, Hunchun and many other places along the Tuman River. The Chinese people, too, are putting up a vigorous struggle against Japanese imperialism. They have launched an anti-Japanese national salvation movement against the seizure of Manchuria by the Japanese imperialists; they have formed the Anti-Japanese National Salvation Army, Anti-Japanese Volunteers and other nationalist anti-Japanese units in eastern Manchuria and many other places. All these developments testify to the correctness of the line of armed struggle we put forward in Kalun, Changchun County, two years ago. In fact, now is the best moment, the most appropriate time for us to organize massive revolutionary armed forces and wage a full-scale armed struggle. We, young communists, and the revolutionary people have laid the  groundwork for the formation of a people’s guerrilla army through a long bloody struggle. In July 1930 we formed the Korean Revolutionary Army as the first step in preparation for the armed struggle. The KRA was the first Marxist-Leninist armed organization in our country. Members of the KRA went to many urban and rural areas and conducted vigorous political and military activities among the workers, peasants, youth and students, preparing to form the guerrilla army. Later, we formed the Young Communist League and many other revolutionary organizations in various localities. We also organized the Red Guards everywhere, a paramilitary organization, as well as guerrilla teams, though not large, in many parts of eastern Manchuria. By speeding up preparations for founding a guerrilla army in this way we have laid a solid basis for the formation of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army. We have made great efforts to train the organizational backbone of the AJPGA; we tightened organizational life among the members of the KRA, YCL and AIYL (Anti-Imperialist Youth League) to temper their minds and willpower more firmly in a revolutionary way and to encourage them to accumulate the valuable experience needed for revolutionary struggle. One of the important questions in preparing the organization of the AJPGA was to improve relations with the Chinese nationalist antiJapanese units. As a result of the May 30 Uprising engineered by the “Left” adventurists and the Wanbaoshan incident framed by the Japanese imperialists to play off the Chinese people against the Korean people and provide a pretext for invading Manchuria, some of the Chinese people and nationalist anti-Japanese units in Manchuria had misunderstood the Korean people and communists at one time. They were hostile to the Korean people and communists and did harm to them, while in Korea some hooligans, at the instigation of the Japanese imperialists, launched an “anti-Chinese campaign.” This aggravated relations between the Korean and Chinese peoples most critically. Nevertheless, we went to the Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese units and worked there patiently, showing them at the risk of our lives practical examples of fighting resolutely against the Japanese imperialists. Thus we considerably improved relations between the Korean and Chinese peoples and helped some Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese units, once hostile to us, dispel their misunderstanding and join us in the anti-Japanese struggle. We have endeavoured to awaken the masses politically and unite them organizationally. In this way we have laid solid foundations among the revolutionized masses for armed struggle in many rural areas along the Tuman River. Drawing on the successes achieved in preparing to form a people’s guerrilla army, we are now organizing the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army, the first Marxist-Leninist revolutionary armed force in our country, and proclaiming its foundation. The AJPGA is made up of the workers, peasants and young patriots who oppose the Japanese imperialists and their stooges and love their country and people; it is a revolutionary armed force which will dedicate itself to protecting the interests of the people. The aim and mission of the people’s guerrilla army is to overthrow the colonial rule of Japanese imperialism in Korea and bring national independence and social emancipation to the Korean people. The foundation of the AJPGA provides us with the motive power which will directly undertake and push forward the armed struggle, the mainstream of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement in our country, and with the possibility of dealing decisive blows at the Japanese imperialist aggressors, and advancing the anti-Japanese national liberation struggle to a higher stage. The foundation of the AJPGA will open up a new phase of implementing the line of the anti-Japanese united front and the policy for founding a Marxist-Leninist party by greatly invigorating and encouraging the Korean people, who are groaning under the colonial yoke imposed on them by Japanese imperialism and by inspiring them to engage in the anti-Japanese struggle. Comrades, We must apply ourselves to the armed struggle and launch it on a full-scale basis, as required by the prevailing situation. To this end we must first build up the strength of the AJPGA. Only when it is strengthened to the point at which it becomes a large revolutionary armed force can the people’s guerilla army give a decisive blow to the counter-revolutionary armed forces of the Japanese imperialists, develop the armed struggle in scope and strength, and increase its influence so as to further promote the Korean revolution as a whole. In order to consolidate the guerrilla army, all its commanding officers and men should be boundlessly loyal to the revolution. A high degree of revolutionary determination and infinite loyalty to the revolution are the source of the strength of the people’s guerrilla army and a decisive guarantee of its triumph over Japanese imperialism. So all its commanders and rank and file must equip themselves thoroughly with Marxism-Leninism and the strategy and tactics of the Korean revolution through diligent political studies and constantly temper themselves in the struggle. In this way they will acquire a firm revolutionary world outlook and be faithful to the revolution in any adversity. In addition, they should cherish each other, secure unbreakable unity of ideology and purpose, and defend the vital interests of the masses, maintaining close ties, as their own kin, with them. They must also observe iron discipline, so as to give full play to their excellent political and moral character as soldiers of a true people’s army, a revolutionary army. If we are to win our battle against the Japanese imperialist marauders we must expand the guerrilla ranks as quickly as possible. In order to do this, we should first enlist large numbers of progressive young patriots tested in practical struggle. This is the way to make the people’s guerrilla army a true people’s army, a revolutionary army. While expanding the guerrilla ranks, we must obtain more weapons. Patriotism alone will not be enough to defeat the Japanese imperialists armed with highly effective modern weapons. In order to vanquish the armed enemy, we must arm ourselves. We must constantly improve the weapons and equipment of the guerrillas by capturing weapons from the enemy through surprise attacks, as well as by making them for ourselves. To further strengthen the AJPGA its commanders and men must acquire adroit guerrilla tactics and apply them with skill. Mastery of these tactics will enable them to cripple with a small force a numerically and technically superior enemy, destroy them and also capture their weapons. At present, the commanders and the rank and file of the guerrilla army are not well versed in guerrilla warfare. Worse still, we have no experience of guerrilla warfare that can be of use to us in our fight against the Japanese imperialists, having no home front and no regular army support. Therefore, we have to accumulate combat experience and create one guerrilla tactic after another through ceaseless battles. We should make it a basic principle of guerrilla warfare to wipe out as many enemy troops as possible while preserving the guerrilla force to the maximum. To do this, we should correctly assess the situation and the balance of forces between friend and foe and, on this basis, engage the enemy only when we are sure of victory. While taking the initiative in carrying on active battles, we must manage to get the proper combination of preserving the strength of the guerrillas and destroying the enemy. In order to wipe out large numbers of enemy troops while preserving its own forces the guerrilla army should correctly grasp the enemy’s weak points and use them to its own advantage. The Japanese imperialist troops have weaknesses inherent in aggressors, and many other vulnerabilities and limitations. For instance, they are unfamiliar with the geographical conditions of this area. By actively exacerbating these weaknesses and making the best use of them, we must keep the enemy on the defensive and destroy their forces ceaselessly, ambushing and attacking them everywhere. Next, we must strive to establish guerrilla zones along the Tuman River on the northern tip of Korea and in eastern Manchuria, to facilitate the operations of the people’s guerrilla army. The guerrillas need bases to fall back on for combat operations. Under the present circumstances, I think, the Tuman River area is best suited for guerrilla bases in view of the geographical conditions and the make-up of the population. We must work out a policy on further expanding the guerrilla bases and developing guerrilla actions in future, in close coordination with the Korean Independence Army active in the area along the Amnok River and in southern Manchuria. Meanwhile, we must gradually bring the revolutionary bases nearer to the homeland, maintaining closer organizational ties with revolutionary bodies at home. In addition, we must work harder to form an anti-Japanese united front with the Chinese people. For this purpose, we must form an anti-Japanese allied front with the Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese units. They are an armed force which can join us in fighting against Japanese imperialism, the common enemy of the Korean and Chinese peoples. The nationalist anti-Japanese units make up a considerable armed force; they are engaged in military activities, holding wide areas of Manchuria. That is why an allied front of the people’s guerrilla army and the Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese units is very important for further isolating and weakening the Japanese imperialist forces of aggression and for assuring the definitive ascendancy of the anti-Japanese armed forces. We have already improved our relations with them to a certain degree through tireless and patient work. However, the relationship between the people’s guerrilla army and the nationalist anti-Japanese units has not yet reached the stage at which a full-scale anti-Japanese allied front can be formed. Some officers and men of these units, deceived by the Japanese imperialist scheme to alienate nations from each other, are hostile towards the Korean communists and the AJPGA. We must, therefore, continue to work on the nationalist anti-Japanese units with patience and persistence.  In order to step up our activities among the Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese units, we must first of all form more special detachments of Korean communists and enhance their role. Since the guerrillas are not yet strong enough and some officers and men of the nationalist anti-Japanese units are antagonistic to the Korean communists and the people’s guerrilla army, we must improve our relations with the anti-Japanese units through the activities of the special detachments and prepare step by step for a full-scale anti-Japanese allied front by building up the people’s guerrilla army. The special detachments must penetrate the nationalist antiJapanese units and fight together with them, and convince their officers and men through persuasion and practical examples that the Korean communists and the anti-Japanese people’s guerrillas are genuine patriots and fighters who are courageous in battle against the Japanese aggressors, so as to help them to have a correct understanding of the Korean communists and take an active part in the anti-Japanese struggle. With a view to improving our work with the nationalist antiJapanese units we must also enhance the role of the Committee of Anti-Japanese Soldiers. Our work with the nationalist anti-Japanese units is expanding every day, so it is a matter of the utmost urgency to elevate the role of this committee, which is engaged exclusively in work with these units. The Committee of Anti-Japanese Soldiers must coordinate efforts to grasp and solve problems arising in the work with the nationalist anti-Japanese units and promptly correct possible deviations. If we are to succeed in our work with these units we must actively involve all the people’s guerrillas and the broad sections of the revolutionary masses in this work and conduct it as a great mass movement. This will dissipate prejudice against the Koreans and the Korean communists. Further, the people’s guerrilla army must work well with the masses so that it can strengthen its ties of kinship with them, and enjoy their active support and encouragement in battle. We are now fighting against formidable Japanese imperialism under difficult circumstances, with neither a home front nor foreign aid. We must believe only in our united strength and have the firm conviction that we can defeat the enemy by our own strength. By our own strength I mean the organized and united masses of the people. We must believe precisely in the strength of the organized and united people, and carry on guerrilla warfare, relying on their strength. The ties of kinship with the masses of the people and their active support and encouragement are the source of the strength of the people’s guerrilla army and a major guarantee of victory. The people’s guerrillas, therefore, must firmly establish in their ranks a correct revolutionary viewpoint and attitude towards the masses, and a discipline of zealously protecting the lives and property of the people. They must fight, at any place and at any time, relying on the strength of the masses of the people, and firmly protect the people’s interests. In addition, the AJPGA must apply itself to organizational and political work among the masses of the Korean and Chinese peoples so that it will win every support and encouragement from them. It must vigorously develop political struggle against Japanese imperialism everywhere, along with armed struggle. Comrades, We are the first contingent of the proud Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army, with the mission of shaping the destiny of the country and the people. The future of the country and the people depends entirely on how we fight. We must carry out our duty to the country and the people with credit, surmounting whatever difficulties and obstacles may arise. Let us all raise higher the red banner of the revolution and launch a vigorous armed struggle against Japanese imperialism in order to win the historic cause of national liberation.


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