4. Yalta Conference
Before August of 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin had three
meetings in order to discuss how to run (or divide up) the world
after the elimination of Hitler's Germany and the Empire of Japan.
- Tehran Conference (November 1943). Roosevelt asked Stalin to attack
Japan from Siberia. Stalin promised to do so after getting rid of
Hitler in Germany.
- Yalta Conference (February 1945). Roosevelt asked Stalin again to
attack Japan. By this time, both the United States and the Soviet
Union had their concrete plans, but Stalin was still busy with
his troops fighting against Germany.
- Potsdam Conference (July 1945). This conference was held after
the surrender of Germany in May. Roosevelt was dead and Truman
went there. Churchill went there, but he lost the election
during the conference. Clement Atlee became as the new prime
minister of Britain, and he replaced Churchill at the conference.
Here they demanded an unconditional surrender from Japan.
Among those three conferences, the division of Korea was decided at
the Yalta Conference. Let us see how this happened.
- In July of 1944, Japan lost the crucial battle on the Pacific
island of Saipan, and the fate of the war was decided.
Japan was going to lose the war, but Japanese
soldiers would never surrender. American war planners had
to consider how many American soldiers would be killed
to conquer the mainland of Japan.
- Japanese war planners also knew they were going to lose.
They had to consolidate their military posture to defend the main land.
As for their troops in Korea, they moved most of their troops to
southern provinces and placed under the command of their 17th
Regional Army with its headquarters in Seoul. This unit, called
Ju-hichi Homei-goon (Sipchil Bangmyun-goon in Korean), was a
component of the Japanese mainland defense force.
- On August 5, 1945, Stalin declared that he would not honor the
Soviet-Japanese non-agression, even though it would not expire
until April of 1946. In spite of their bitterness from the
Nomonhan incident of 1939, Japan and the Soviet Union signed
a five year non-aggression treaty. Japanese and Soviets
needed this treaty in order to take care of their own urgent battle
fronts in the Pacific arena and against Hitler's army respectively.
Click here for a detailed explanation
of this map.
- Even before August of 1945, Japan had a plan for their Kwandong-goon
troops and Japanese nationals retreating from Manchuria. Pyongyang
was designated as the processing place center them. Thus, Pyongyang
was a important logistic base for Kwandong-Goon, viewed from the
- It is quite safe to say that Stalin was aware of this distribution
of Japanese troops in Korea. There were two different Japanese
military centers in Korea. One in Pyongyang (for Kwandong-Goon) and
the other in Seoul (for the 17th Regional Army).
He also knew that Kwandong-goon was
sufficiently weak, while the 17th Regional Army consisted of
never-surrounding Japanese soldiers determined to safeguard their
- Americans are not known for gathering accurate intelligence
information. Manchuria was like the back of the moon. American war
planners believed in Tojo's propaganda version of the Kwandong-Goon,
an invincible army. They assumed that Japan would recall all those
Kwandong-goon troops to the mainland during the forthcoming battle on
the beaches of the mainland.
- When Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin met at the Livadia Palace near
Yalta (Ukraine), Churchill was obsessed with Poland. He was only
interested in keeping Poland out of the Soviet influence. Thus,
one night, Roosevelt asked Stalin to meet without Churchill. They
met, and Roosevelt asked Stalin again to attack Manchuria from Siberia.
- Roosevelt was obsessed the the Kwandong-goon troops who would
come from Manchuria to fight against Americans during the landing operations
on the beaches of the Japanese mainland.
Roosevelt at that time was
thinking of the bloody Iwojima landing which was going to take place
two weeks later. Almost all of 20,000 Japanese soldiers died, and
8,000 Americans died and 2,700 were wounded there.
Thus, the best way was to let Soviets clean up those Kwandong-Goon
troops in Manchuria before the landing operations in the Japanese
mainland. In so asking, Roosevelt did not know Kwandong-Goon did
not exist as a military unit.
Stalin was wiser, and he knew Roosevelt was desperate. For his military
operation against Japan, Stalin demanded a huge amount of military
supplies from the United States, including 8000 GMC trucks. To Americans,
it was nothing. During the war, the General Motors Corporation
produced more than 500,000 GMC trucks.
- For European operations, GMC produced truck looking
- For Pacific operations against Japan, the company (later)
produced trucks looking like these.
They were also used during the Korean war.
- Soviet troops came to Manchuria and to Korea without any
Japanese resistance on those American GMC trucks
looking like these. They were
given to Stalin by Roosevelt at the Yalta conference. I saw those
trucks in Korea before coming to the South in May of 1946.
I assume Americans gave their trucks in Europe to Soviets after
Germany surrendered in May of 1945. They looked like those GMC
trucks produced for European operations.