Banner for Korea’s Liberation

May 11, 2023

The song “The Balsam” was written and composed by Korean poets and musicians in the 1920s when Korea was going through the period of its national tragedy.

It mournfully reflected the miserable fate of the Koreans in those days who were dying like the frail balsam petals, groaning under the military rule of the Japanese imperialists.

In order to rescue them from the balsam-like fate and inspire them to turn out in the struggle for national liberation, it was needed to hold a banner to give them strength and courage. It was none other than the banner of unity.

The banner was the idea of the great national unity advanced by President Kim Il Sung who wisely led the anti-Japanese guerrilla army to become the main force in arousing the whole nation to the sacred war for national liberation, and the founding of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland (ARF), its brilliant crystallization.

He put forward the line of the anti-Japanese national united front from the early days of his revolutionary activities, conceived a plan to organize a body capable of embracing not only workers and peasants but patriotic masses from all walks of life and put his heart and soul to this end.

But it was by no means a matter to be easily solved, as there arose many complicated problems which required new solutions.

What kind of view and attitude we should take towards the nationalists? What about the national bourgeoisie and patriotic landlords? And what about the “communists” steeped in factional strife, confining themselves only to the circle of the early communist movement camp? How could we solve these difficult and new knotty problems?

The preparations for founding the ARF as a nationwide united front body, which kicked off after the Nanhutou Meeting, were specified at the Mihunzhen Meeting held late in March Juche 25 (1936). Based on it, the preparatory committee for founding the ARF was formed, involving fine commanding officers of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army and prominent patriotic figures.

Kim Il Sung personally worked out the Programme, Rules and Inaugural Declaration of the ARF while organizing and commanding the continuous battles during the arduous march from Nanhutou to Donggang. In May Juche 25 (1936), he held the historic inaugural meeting of the ARF in Donggang, Fusong County, China, to declare to the world its founding as a permanent anti-Japanese national united front body and a powerful underground revolutionary organization.

At the meeting he was elected chairman of the ARF according to the unanimous will of the participants.

The Ten-Point Programme and the Inaugural Declaration of the ARF, which called on all the Koreans to unite with ennobling patriotism, touched the hearts of all people and enjoyed unanimous support and approval from the participants.

In particular, the participants were greatly taken by the part of the declaration, which expressed confidence that Korea’s independence would succeed if the whole nation of 20 million people were rallied into one, each contributing his or her all; money, provisions, skill and wisdom; and took part in the anti-Japanese national liberation front.

For the Korean people, the ARF was precisely the banner of unity and national liberation, and it represented Kim Il Sung, the outstanding leader of the nation.

Its founding gave a strong impetus for the anti-Japanese national united front movement to rapidly develop in a more organized and systematic way on a nationwide scale in close combination with the anti-Japanese armed struggle and dynamically mobilize all the anti-Japanese forces to the struggle for national liberation.

Kim Il Sung performed an immortal exploit of finally achieving the cause of Korea’s liberation (August 15, 1945) by founding the ARF and inspiring the whole nation to the anti-Japanese resistance. He was praised as the legendary hero of the anti-Japanese war and the sun of the nation.


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