Who ruled over the Korean Peninsula?

Lyuh Woon-hyung was a leading political figure in Korea following the nation’s liberation from Japan and was one of the founders of the Alliance for National government, a left-leaning organization that would eventually become the People’s Committee.

The peninsula was, of course, the land of the Koreans. As such, Koreans were not willing to allow the U.S. or the Soviet Union to rule over their land and people mobilized to establish a Korea without external influence. Lyuh Woon-hyung was one such individual. As the defeat of Japan approached, Lyuh joined others to establish the Alliance for National Government. Later, the Alliance for National Government became the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence. This committee even took temporary charge over security matters.

The committee was a nationwide organization established by Koreans to create a new state following the end of Japanese rule. Being a genuine grassroots movement for democracy, it changed its name to the People’s Committee. Naturally, the committee also established a branch office in Jeju. However, the USAMGIK declared itself the only legitimate power south of the 38th parallel and did not recognize the new state declared by the People’s Committee. As the People’s Committee enjoyed widespread popular support and was established throughout the country, the USAMGIK forcibly dissolved the committee so that it could effectively rule the country.

It was, however, the USAMGIK policy of rehiring officers from the Japanese colonial era that most antagonized Koreans. Although the USAMGIK tried to justify its policy by the need to implement effective governance, the failure to prosecute officers who had collaborated with the Japanese increased public resentment.