The Soviet Military Administration and the Creation of the North Korean Police in 1945

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: PhD student
Affiliation: The University of Tokyo
Address: 113-0024, Japan, Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Nishikata 2-16-12, Doushikai 104
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 1

The liberation of Korea by the Red Army in August 1945 brought an end to the Japanese colonial rule and opened a new page in the history of Korea. However, the circumstances in which Korea met its liberation played a fateful role in the developments after the liberation. Division of the country into Soviet and American occupation zones became an essential background for the creation of two different political regimes. Their confrontation eventually led to the devastating Korean war, the consequences of which still vividly felt today across the 38th parallel.

This article focuses on the creation of the North Korean police force by the Soviet military administration. The police would become an important tool for establishing control over North Korea and will play important role in its political unification. Drawing from the Soviet archival evidence as well as several Korean-language sources this article argues that the creation of the North Korean police was not initially driven by political goals or goals of creating a military for the future North Korean regime. The evidence suggests that despite the direct nature of the Soviet control over North Korea, the creation of the police was primarily guided by the practical need of the Soviet command to overcome a number of serious issues that plagued North Korea from the very first days after the liberation.

One of the primary tools for the creation of the North Korean police force was the commandant offices. As the grassroots level organisation of the Soviet military administration tasked with implementing its policies, the commandant offices were directly responsible for monitoring and controlling the work of the police. Equally important, however, was their role in fighting the crimes committed by the soldiers and officers of the Red Army.

KeywordsUSSR, North Korea, Red Army, Civil Administration, police, factional struggle, white terror.
Publication date16.02.2022
Number of characters47024
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