VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > G. East Asia, 1945–2000 > 3. Korea (North and South), 1945–2000 > 1946, Feb
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
1946, Feb
The Interim People's Committee was set up in P'yngyang, under the leadership of KIM IL-SNG (b. 1912). Kim had been a guerrilla fighter against the Japanese in Manchuria during the war. Non-Communists, such as Cho Man-sik (b. 1882), were forced out of power in the north.  1
At the same time, Syngman Rhee established the Representative Democratic Council. Both north and south were moving toward the formation of their own governments.  2
By this time, the Soviet-led program in the north had completely transformed the social structure and ousted the colonial regime. In this month a profound land reform was implemented that eliminated land as a form of wealth. Industries were subsequently nationalized. Women's equal rights were ensured by law.  3
A general strike in Pusan of railway workers was touched off by the violent destruction of the people's committees. It spread but was soon mercilessly crushed by Korean police and U.S. forces. By the end of the year, most of the people's committees had ceased to exist. Thousands of people were killed in the process, and countless villages were decimated.  4
Land reform in the south was repeatedly put off both by USAMGIK and its right-wing Korean advisers. It finally was accomplished (March 1948) but was not far-reaching.  5
Dec. 12
The South Korean Interim Legislative Assembly, half popularly elected and half nominated, was opened in the U.S. zone. Its functions, at the start, were largely advisory. This was another step toward creating a separate regime in the south.  6
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.