March 1919 Uprising in Korea

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

March 1919 Uprising in Korea


a popular anti-imperialist insurrection directed against the domination of the country by Japanese imperialists.

The March Uprising was the culmination of a revolutionary tide that began in Korea in 1918 under the direct influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. The working class was small in number and lacked revolutionary organization. The national bourgeoisie strove to turn the unrest into a petition movement. They composed a declaration that demanded the independence of Korea; this was sent to the Japanese diet, the governor-general of Korea, and the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-20. They also turned to the USA for assistance. In support of the declaration, the bourgeois nationalists led a demonstration in Seoul on Mar. 1, 1919. Massive demonstrations took place on March 1, and on the following days in Pyongyang, Sinuiju, Chongju, and other cities. Students played a major role in organizing the demonstrations. At the same time workers’ strikes broke out. The Japanese authorities resorted to force to suppress the movement, arousing the indignation of the people, and the peaceful demonstrations turned into an armed uprising spontaneously. The main hotbeds were Pyongyang, Seoul, and Sinuiju, as well as certain rural areas. Most of the insurgents were peasants; but the young proletariat also took an active part in the anti-Japanese struggle. By late March, 211 of the 218 districts of the country were in revolt. The insurrection continued into April.

In all, there were more than 2 million participants in the movement in 1919. The Japanese sent troops and police to sup-press it. By the end of April, the revolt had been cruelly sup-pressed. In refusing even to place the Korean question on the agenda at the Paris Peace Conference, the USA and other imperialist states showed in practice their solidarity with the Japanese colonialists.


Shabshina, F. I. Narodnoe vosstanie 1919vKoree, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.