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[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  1. The Matanggou Secret Camp

  

   


   

 


 

 

On Publishing the Continuing Edition of With the Century, 

the Reminiscences of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung


 In the final years of his life Comrade Kim Il Sung, the sun of mankind\and the greatest man who has ever appeared in the world, planned to write his memoirs in the form of immense volumes that would sum up his career. He made tireless efforts to bring this about in spite of approaching old age,\and as a result, six volumes have so far been published.


His reminiscences, With the Century, have produced a storm of response both at home\and abroad since their publication, being a priceless saga that can be used as an illuminating text in the life\and struggle of the people. They teach their readers the theory, principles\and methods of revolution\and inspire them with love for their country, their fellow citizens\and their comrades.


The fatherly leader’s sudden death when he had written only part of the memoirs was an extremely painful loss,\and we greatly regretted the suspension of their publication.


Fortunately, however, the great leader himself had drawn up a general plan of this work, as well as a detailed programme of it, leaving behind many of his own manus\and voluminous reminiscences of major historical events\and people.


The Central Committee of the Party has been authorized to publish continuing volumes of With the Century on the basis of the great leader’s programme\and through the use of manus, reminiscences\and innumerable historical records preserved in the Party library.


The continuing series of With the Century will contribute greatly to exalting the noble\and respected leader Comrade Kim Il Sung as a great revolutionary, a great statesman\and a great man who dedicated his life of over 80 years to the prosperity of his country\and nation\and to human

 

happiness in general. The memoirs will celebrate his imperishable achievements\and encourage in us the unshakeable belief\and honour that the fatherly leader will always be with us.

 

The Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea

 

April 15, 1996



CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER 19. OVERCOMING TRIALS

1. The Matanggou Secret Camp

2. The Weasel Hunter

3. The Last of the Independence Army Forces

4. Village Headman Wang\and Police Chief Wang

5. Expedition to Rehe

6. My Meeting With Yang Jing-yu

7. Grandmother Ri Po Ik

8. In the Forest of Nanpaizi


CHAPTER 20. FOR A FRESH UPSURGE OF THE REVOLUTION

1. Arduous March

2. The Lesson of Qingfeng

3. The Salt Incident

4. Battle of Taehongdan

5. The Tano Festival at Yushidong

6. Women Fighters\and Revolutionary Honour


CHAPTER 21. ROAR OF GUNFIRE IN THE LARGE-UNIT CIRCLING OPERATIONS

1. A Woman Came to Visit the Secret Camp

2. Chinese Landlord Liu Tong-shi

3. Confronted by Hundreds of Thousands of “Punitive” Troops

4. O Jung Hup\and His 7th Regiment

5. The Man rom Phyongan Province

6. “Let Us Defend the Soviet\union with Arms!”

7. The End of the “Maeda Punitive Force”




 

 

Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials 

1. The Matanggou Secret Camp  

 

 The former name of Jingyu County in Northeast China was Mengjiang County. In that county is a vast forest called paizi,\and in the eastern part of the forest is a place called Matanggou.

It was there that the main force of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army carried out intensive military\and political training for four months, rom the end of November 1937 to the end of March the following year.


In later years, whenever the education of schoolchildren, students, officials\or soldiers was under discussion, the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung always used to refer to the experiences of studying during the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle.


The following is a part of the great leader’s recollections as he spoke to people who were studying the history of the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle.

 

For about four\or five months in the winter of 1937, the officers\and men of the main force of the KPRA carried out intensive military\and political training at the secret camp at Matanggou, Mengjiang County.


It is known that there was intensive training also at the Tonggang Secret Camp for about a month in spring that year, so you may wonder why another cycle of training was needed. Actually, there is nothing extraordinary about it.


The KPRA was not simply a military force; it was a revolutionary army that considered both political\and military affairs to be important. Acquiring political\and military qualifications was essential not only for the armed struggle but also for work among the people, united-front work\and the efforts to demoralize enemy soldiers. That was why so much energy was spent on the education\and training of the soldiers of the revolutionary army. Studying was an important part of their training.

 

As you know, we have long believed that people are the masters of everything\and that they decide everything. Having this viewpoint, we looked upon ideology as the decisive factor affecting the victory of the revolution.


That it is man who makes the decisions means, in the final analysis, that it is his ideology\and his intellectual abilities that decide everything. Man’s ideology\and intellectual ability must be cultivated steadily through study.


A number of urgent circumstances also required us to\organize two sessions of intensive military\and political training that year. It was a time when quite a few people had become dispirited at the thought that Japan was about to swallow up the\oriental world. After provoking the Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese army occupied a wide area of China without difficulty. This event caused people to start wavering. Even some of the people who had fought a little to win back the country now withdrew into their back parlours\and relapsed into simply worrying about the future of the country,\or ran about in pursuit of earning a livelihood. In the ranks of our revolutionary army, too, faltering elements began to appear, though not many.


If we had not concentrated on ideological education\and military training for our men in these circumstances, it would have been impossible not only to strengthen our own revolutionary force, but also to carry the independent line of our revolution through to the end with confidence.


Confusion created by this\or that line spread in the name of the Comintern also posed a major problem.


The Left adventurists, who were entrenched in the Comintern in those days, issued the line of the expedition to Rehe, which was highly unsuited to the actual situation at the time\and did tremendous harm to the revolutions both in Korea\and in China.


An Action Programme of the Korean Communist Party, allegedly drawn up by a group of proponents for a reconstruction of the Korean Communist Party,\and the text of a speech made by a certain Kim at the 7th Congress of the Comintern, were in circulation\and were winning considerable popularity among those who strongly desired communism. It is understandable that Korean communists, who had been swayed to the right\and the left in their efforts to find a correct guideline after the dissolution of the Party, tried to get pointers on which way to go rom the Action Programme of the Korean Communist Party\and rom the speech made at the Comintern Congress.


The sound of Korean voices ringing rom the forum of the Comintern Congress\or rom its mouthpiece was, of course, welcome.


Regrettably, however, the Action Programme of the Korean Communist Party\and the speech at the Comintern Congress contained many words\and phrases that did not accord with the specific situation of the Korean revolution.


Already at the Kalun meeting we had defined the character of the Korean revolution as an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution, not as a bourgeois democratic revolution,\and we had the experience of implementing the line of people’s revolutionary government in the guerrilla zone.


We believed, therefore, that we must first give the officers\and men of the KPRA a correct understanding of the independent line of the Korean revolution.


This was one of the reasons why I wrote The Tasks of Korean Com-munists\and used it as a textbook for the intensive political training we had\organized. In this article I dealt again with the character of the Korean revolution\and its immediate objectives,\and outlined the tasks of the Korean communists in carrying out the Korean revolution along an independent line. I thought it was also necessary to\organize military\and political training again in\order to toughen our recruits politically\and militarily.


Matanggou, which was far away rom the base of enemy rule, was an ideal place for the military\and political training of the revolutionary army during the winter months that year.


I still remember that on our arrival at Matanggou we ate potatoes baked in a stove that had been installed by the advance party. The potato crop always did well in Mengjiang no less than in Fusong\and Antu. Some of the potatoes were as large as a wooden pillow,\and only a single one would fit into a gourd. On top of all that, the potatoes were delicious.


We first held a meeting of military\and political cadres\and set out courses of study for each man\and officer,\and then saw to it that each unit, each\organization\and each study group held a meeting at which the men vowed to study hard. “Studying is also a battle!”\and “Studying is the primary task of a revolutionary!” were the slogans we set up at the beginning of the military\and political training. I made sure that the slogans were put up in large letters on the walls of all the barracks.


Not many fighters in the guerrilla army had received regular education. Ma Tong Hui, Choe Kyong Hwa, Kim Yong Guk,\and Kang Ton were nicknamed “university students” because they were relatively learned, but in fact they had gone through primary\or secondary education at most. The men all came rom poor families\and had had no access to schooling. So Chol was a graduate of a medical college,\and as such he was the most highly educated of all the soldiers. But that did not mean that he was rom a rich family. He was so determined\and diligent that he had been able to work his way through the college. In our unit not many comrades were so well informed\or learned as people like Pak So Sim, Cha Kwang Su\or old man “Tobacco Pipe”.


In the early days of the training period at Matanggou, some recruits were reluctant to attend political lessons, although they took part in military training. Pak Chang Sun was typical. He did not even know how to write his own name, but he was not ashamed of it. Instead, he bragged that, though illiterate, he could fight better than anyone else. He stayed frequently away rom study sessions. When asked why, he used to answer that he was such a dunce that he would never learn to read\or write,\and that the best way for him to spend his time would be to practise shooting\and kill many Japanese.


One day I called him\and in talking to him pointed at a maple in front of him. I asked him what it might be best used for. He answered that it was suitable for making the handle of an axe. I then asked what he should do with a young bull if he wanted to put it to work once it had grown up. He replied that a ring should be fixed through its nose.


Having been an experienced farm hand, he knew about such things.


I said: “Your answers are correct. You know them rom your farming experience, otherwise you would be ignorant about them. The same applies to the work of the revolution. A man who knows what tool is needed for a particular job\and how it should be used will be a good revolutionary. An ignorant man does not know that the maple can be used to make a good axe-handle even if he sees it. A man who does not know how to strike the enemy cannot destroy great numbers of them. You don’t defeat the enemy only by using a gun. If you really don’t want to study, we’ll send you back home. How can you carry out the arduous task of revolution when you say that you cannot study because it is too difficult? There is no alternative but to ask you to turn in your gun\and go home to do farm work. Which way will you choose?” He was surprised to hear this\and looked very sad.


Because he had come to us to fight for the revolution, Pak Chang Sun could not leave us simply because he hated studying. Hence he now applied himself to this task.


There was another recruit, a certain Kwon, who neglected his education, complaining that he was too much of a blockhead. Whenever he was advised by his comrades to study harder, instead of listening to them, he used to argue that General Hong Pom Do, an illiterate like him, had been a good commander in the Independence Army–where he had picked up that story, God only knows–and that it was nonsense to say that an illiterate could not work for the revolution. His avoidance of studying dwarfed even that of Pak Chang Sun. He was such a die-hard\and trouble-maker that his company commander\and his political instructor brought his case to me.


I wrote a note\and told my\orderly to deliver it to the recruit. I also got the\orderly to warn everyone in the different companies not to read the note to the recruit.


When he received the note, Kwon was embarrassed. Without a doubt, it was a serious case for a rank-and-filer not to be able to understand in a message what his Commander wanted. The man went around calling on his friends\and asking them to read the note for him, but the latter made one excuse\or another for refusing his request. Now, pale with anxiety, he ran about rom platoon to platoon, rom company to company, asking a favour rom anybody he could get hold of. But nobody would read the note to him.

 

What anguish he suffered! As a last resort, Kwon came to see me\and begged me to tell him what I had said in the note.


I read it out: It said that he was to do a certain thing by a certain hour\and report the result to Headquarters. The\order was urgent. But he had come to me with the message far too late to report. Having failed to execute the\order given by his Commander, he hung his head, sweat pouring down his face.


“There, you see!” I said. “You were unable to carry out the Commander’s\order because you could not read. Supposing you receive such a written\order rom me when you are working behind enemy lines. What will happen then?” Shedding tears, the man apologized\and said he was wrong. rom then on he studied hard\and became a well-informed officer, both militarily\and politically.


By the way, I’ll tell you about another illiterate man who studied hard\and developed into a veteran fighter.


In our days at Wangqing there was a man named Kim Man Ik in my unit. The local people nicknamed him guniang, which means “girl” in Chinese, because he was fair complexioned, gentle\and handsome. But unlike a guniang, he was nine feet tall.


In his early years he had belonged to the Young Volunteers\and participated in the defence of Xiaowangqing. Immediately after his enlistment in the guerrilla army he was appointed to Choe Chun Guk’s company\and showed himself to be an excellent fighter. He was born in a remote mountain village\and had never seen a train until he was twenty. He was so pure that his mind was as clean as a sheet of white paper.


Once, on a mission to raid a train, he caused some amusement among his comrades. Anticipating the raid, he lay prone with his ear resting on the rail. Thinking this strange, one of the men asked what he was doing. “Well,” he said, rising to his feet, “I wondered what a train was like\and now I know: it’s an iron sleigh whooshing along on iron bars.” Even this ignorant boy, however, learnt rom us how to read\and write, took charge of youth work in his company later\and even went on to teach his men. He took part in the operations to liberate Northeast China\and returned to Korea. He served as a battalion commander of Kang Kon’s division,\and then as a regimental commander.


I wonder if any of the books dealing with the Fatherland Liberation War have given an account of the fact that he commanded his unit skilfully in the battles to liberate Seoul\and Taejon? He fell on the Raktong-River line. Although seriously wounded in his belly\and neck, he refused to be evacuated\and continued to command his unit for two days until he died.


The comrades of the secretariat\and the printing shop worked hard to ensure the success of military\and political training. They set up a publishing centre at a little distance rom the secret camp\and put out a lot of textbooks\and reference materials needed in training. Choe Kyong Hwa, editor of Jongsori1,\and Kim Yong Guk, who was in charge of the publication of Sogwang2, were first-rate writers in the secretariat. They\and old man “Tobacco Pipe” wrote commentaries on the textbooks\and literary pieces helpful to trainees,\and included them in the army publications. They also obtained true-to-life articles\and battle accounts rom enthusiastic readers. Even members of the class in which the basics were taught, to say nothing of the self-teaching class, were highly enthusiastic about making contributions to newspapers\and magazines throughout that winter. Writing widened their own mental horizons\and increased their zeal to learn.


The basic subjects for political education were the preservation of independence in the revolution, revolutionary faith\and the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance. These subjects reflected the needs\and the acute situation of our revolution after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. Keeping our line of independence in those days was vital to the Korean revolution, as is still the case today. The Ten-Point Programme of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, The Tasks of Korean Communists\and similar documents were used as major textbooks for political education at Matanggou because these clarified our independent attitude towards the revolution.


We also devoted great efforts to military training at Matanggou. The central task of this form of training was to assimilate completely the contents of Guerrilla Actions\and the Guerrilla Manual, in which the systematic rules of guerrilla warfare were listed. Commanding officers concentrated on tactical training,\and the men were instructed mainly in marksmanship\and drill movements. It was training in rules, combined with practical skill.


The study of regular army tactics was combined with drill in guerrilla tactics. Regular army tactics were included in the curriculum partly for the purpose of gaining knowledge of the enemy rom a tactical point of view,\and more importantly with a view to equipping ourselves with the knowledge needed to carry out the great task of raising a regular army after the liberation of the country.


We frequently\organized tactical field exercises in simulated battle conditions,\and also gave the rank\and file tactical training. The recruits, who had no idea of the value of a map, were taught map-reading\and direction-finding through the use of the compass.


We also engaged in a battle now\and then so that the newcomers might consolidate the knowledge acquired in training. The battle of Qingjiangdianzi\and the raid on the village of Jingantun were fought during the training period at Matanggou. Our men also laid in ambush once to capture supplies rom the enemy.


When raiding Jingantun we lost Choe Kyong Hwa;\and Kang Ton, who got frostbite in his feet because of carelessness in this raid, fell in a subsequent battle. Both Choe\and Kang had joined the guerrilla army in Changbai. Unlike\ordinary recruits, they had been in charge of large underground\organizations in the Changbai area before enlisting in the revolutionary army,\and since they were intellectuals, a great deal had been expected rom them.

Choe Kyong Hwa had been picked up\and trained by Kwon Yong Byok when Kwon was guiding Party\organizations\and\organizational work of the ARF in West Jiandao down at Wangjiagou. I will not describe his activities at Wangjiagou because I have mentioned them on a number of occasions.


Kang Ton was a man we had dug up\and trained in West Jiandao. Although he had finished only the advanced course of primary school, he had continued to teach himself by reading written lectures for middle school\and a history of social development. He had undertaken mass enlightenment work in the initial period of his activity\and contributed greatly to inculcating anti-Japanese patriotism in the people’s minds. The night schools he had established\and guided became renowned\and he had trained numerous revolutionaries at these schools. There were many of his pupils in our unit, among them, Ri Ul Sol. Nowadays, a man who has promoted\and developed a youngster who becomes a hero is praised a great deal. In this context, Kang Ton was a highly meritorious man.


At Yinghuadong Kang had joined an\organization of the ARF\and\organized the Anti-Japanese Youth Association. His\organizations gave strong support to the revolutionary army. In his capacity as the headman of “ten households” he had frequently collected valuable military information\and sent it to us. When he came to visit us with aid goods, I met him at the Heixiazigou Secret Camp.


When the “Hyesan incident”3 broke out, he evacuated the revolutionary masses to a safety zone\and led the young people of the village to my unit to join us. Although he was a new soldier, we appointed him company propagandist. He acquitted himself well as the company propagandist. Comrade Jon Mun Sop was probably much influenced by him.


Kang always participated in seminars with great enthusiasm\and wrote many articles for army publications. One of his articles in Jongsori was very impressive: it exposed the atrocities committed by the Japanese imperialists in Changbai after provoking the “Hyesan incident”. The article described the author’s own experiences very vividly.


During training at Matanggou I once sent Kang to Huadian County on a mission to establish contact with the 4th Division. It was more than 120 kilometres rom Matanggou to Huadian County\and the route was under enemy surveillance. Hearing that I was anxious for news of the 4th Division, Kang had volunteered for the mission\and performed it in good faith. He brought back a lot of information about the enemy\and I was moved by his loyalty\and courage.


When attacking Jingantun, he destroyed the enemy gun emplacement with a grenade\and opened a path for the attacking formation behind him. After destroying the gun emplacement, he went on a blocking mission\and got serious frostbite in his feet. When we got back to the secret camp, we got him to receive treatment.


Although he was ill rom the frostbite, he did not want to lie in bed,\and while under treatment gave lectures, taught his men how to read\and write\and wrote several articles. He literally was an indefatigable man. When the enemy came in to attack the secret camp, he took up his gun\and took to the field without hesitation. An enemy bullet caught him in the abdomen\and he died of the consequences of this wound. I mourned bitterly over his death.


Kang Ton’s heroic career shows that a man who studies sincerely can be exemplary in revolutionary practice\and perform distinguished services that will live for ever in the memory of the country\and his people. As far as I remember, guerrilla heroes, without exception, regarded studying as highly important. No hero worthy of the name was ever produced rom among those who neglected to study. People who imbibe a wealth of mental nourishment will perform great exploits no matter what they do\and no matter what the circumstances. According to officers of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, Hero Ri Su Bok also worked hard in his school days.


I have never seen a man of strong faith emerge rom among people who have no enthusiasm for studying, nor have I seen a man of intense loyalty to revolutionary obligation come rom among those who are weak in their convictions. Unremitting study gives a man a strong faith in his cause\and inspires him with great enthusiasm for the revolution.


Comrade Kim Jong Il said that a man sees, hears, feels\and absorbs as much as he can understand. This is an aphorism with profound meaning.


During the training period, we also worked hard to raise the men’s cultural level. We taught them many revolutionary songs, frequently had amusing get-togethers\and held seminars in which they could express their opinions on the books they had read,\or\where revolutionary stories, novels\and biographies could be disseminated. Some form of entertainment took place almost every day in the secret camp. As a result of all this, our soldiers lived\and fought with optimism.


According to my experience in life, a song is the symbol of revolutionary optimism\and victory. As I often say, human lives need poetry, song\and dance. What pleasure would there be in living without them?


Our songs reverberated across the camp, on improvised stages, as well as over the battlefield. Loud singing means a high morale,\and a high-spirited army knows no defeat. Loud songs make the revolutionary ranks optimistic\and strong.\where the singing is hearty, victory in the revolution is assured.


In those days we paid special attention to\order in the daily routine. Just as we cannot expect to see a sound mind in a sloven, so we cannot hope for steel-strong combat power rom disorderly ranks. In those days even the sight of our camping sites\or the sites of our camp fire often caused the enemy to abandon the idea of pursuing us, for they could measure the discipline,\order\and combat power of our units.


After we arrived at the Matanggou Secret Camp, however, some of the companies became too relaxed\and began to live in a careless manner. They did not even cut firewood in advance, but cut trees at random near the camp only when it was mealtime.


I made up my mind to set an example for the whole unit to follow,\and summoned O Jung Hup. The 4th Company of the 7th Regiment under his command was the pivotal unit, the strongest of all the companies. I told him about the various shortcomings in the life of this camp. He accepted my words as criticism of his unit. Back at the company, he raised a storm of improvements in the daily routine,\and the company took on a completely new appearance. Three days after he came to see me again\and said he had made some efforts to improve the company. He invited me to come\and take a look.


The following day I\and our military\and political cadres inspected the 4th Company. We could see that it had completely changed. Their camp\and its surroundings were so clean\and shipshape that nothing remained to be desired. They had chopped smokeless dead trees\and made a large pile of firewood in front of the kitchen, more than enough to last several months.


I told O Jung Hup to inspect the men’s weapons. He called the company to line up\and first got his own weapon inspected by the first platoon leader.


Confirming that it was a pass, he began examining the men’s rifles.


I made sure that all the visiting officers joined him in the inspection of the company weapons, the state of the uniforms, barracks, kitchen,\and the ablutions area. After the inspection, I told them to point out any shortcomings they had found. They unanimously agreed that the mark was an A.


The example set by the 4th Company was immediately followed by the other companies, so that an innovation took place in unit management\and in the daily routine.


The talk of the daily routine at Matanggou reminds me of the no-smoking campaign that took place in the camp at that time. That was the second of its kind in our main-force unit. The first campaign, which took place when we were fighting around the foot of Mt. Paektu, had been suggested by me\and masterminded by Ri Tu Su, but the second campaign was\organized\and developed by the smokers of their own accord.


The general objective of the intensive military\and political training at the Matanggou Secret Camp was to educate all our officers\and men to be communist fighters qualified to carry out the Korean revolution. The basic aim of education\and edification in any society is to train people to serve the given social system in good faith. Having occupied our country, the Japanese gave a semblance of education to Korean children\and young people for the purpose of taming them just enough to get them to work as slaves. That was why they refused to give Koreans higher education. They considered that a minimum of practical skills was enough for slaves.


Although there is a saying that science knows no national boundaries, it can be beneficial\or harmful, depending on whom it benefits\and how it is applied.

If knowledge is to be beneficial to people\and humanity, education must produce true people who are well prepared ideologically, mentally, morally, technologically\and culturally. This requires good ideological\and moral training. Love for humanity, one’s compatriots\and one’s country does not fall rom the sky. It grows on the basis of sound ideology\and conviction. I have never known immoral people to love humanity, their fellow people\or their country.


What distinguishes socialism in our country clearly rom socialism in other countries is that our Party\and state give priority to people’s ideological education over material-centred economic construction\and train true people who have acquired not only good technical\and practical qualifications but also fine mental\and moral qualities. We put a higher value on human beings than on material wealth, so we regard the growing number of fine people in our country as the most precious national wealth.


Military\and political training at the Matanggou Secret Camp was also a process of human transformation aimed at producing people with the qualities\and qualifications of true communist revolutionaries.


On our way back to the secret camp rom the attack on Jingantun, a recruit lost a weapon, which happened to be Kang Ton’s rifle. When Kang was taken to the secret camp because of the frostbite he had got during his blocking mission, he handed over his rifle to the care of Ju Jae Il, the company political instructor. As the unit withdrew rom the battlefield, a recruit who had not yet received a weapon volunteered to help the political instructor by carrying Kang Ton’s rifle. The political instructor handed over the weapon to him as requested.


When the unit was already far away rom Jingantun, Ju Jae Il noticed to his surprise that the kind-hearted recruit no longer had a rifle on his shoulder. The fact was that the man had placed the rifle on the ground during a break in the march\and had forgotten to pick it up when the march resumed. The political instructor\and the recruit retraced the march route many miles, groping in the dark for three hours, but in vain.


Back at the secret camp, the political instructor reported the accident to me\and suggested that the recruit be punished. Severe punishment in such a case was a rule of discipline in the revolutionary army.


When I asked if he had had any thoughts on what would be a proper penalty for the man, Ju Jae Il said he had none. I told him to go back to his quarters\and give some careful consideration as to what kind of penalty would be most appropriate. The carelessness of the recruit who had lost the weapon was a serious mistake, but I found it more serious that the political instructor was so rash\and irresponsible as to have put the weapon in the hands of the recruit in the first place without at least cautioning him.


Ju Jae Il was an experienced soldier\and knew how to carry out his duties with prudence. I really regretted that he, who was always so careful in dealing with everything\and had a high sense of responsibility, had made such a mistake. I wanted to give him time to think over the case in hopes that he might use the opportunity to reflect upon himself deeply.


The next morning Ju Jae Il came to me\and said that he himself, not the recruit, should be punished because it was his own carelessness\and irresponsibility that had caused the accident. He realized his mistake clearly\and criticized himself honestly.


For the purpose of giving a lesson to other commanding officers, I called a meeting\and brought up Ju Jae Il’s case.


The meeting decided to dismiss him rom the post of political instructor of the 1st Company of the 8th Regiment\and reappoint him as an assistant to the secretariat.


The recruits were deeply moved at the news of the meeting. Seeing that the officer was being held responsible\and punished for the loss of the weapon, not the recruit himself, they keenly felt the noble moral basis on which the relationship between officers\and men of the revolutionary army rested.

The recruit who had lost the weapon went to Ju Jae Il\and apologized to him in tears.


Ju Jae Il criticized himself again before the man.


He said that he had been demoted for his own mistake, not because of the man,\and that he was the root cause of the accident. Although it was the recruit who had lost the weapon, he, as a political worker, had failed to help him properly. He confessed that he was ashamed to even meet the recruit, for he had intended to shift the blame for the accident on him. At his new post in the secretariat, Ju worked in good faith.


On the closing day of military\and political training, I removed his penalty\and reappointed him political instructor of the Guard Company. Kim Ju Hyon, who had been dismissed rom the job of logistical officer of Headquarters, was also reappointed regimental commander about the same time, for he had improved himself ideologically\and studied hard.


As you can see, training at Matanggou was very effective in improving the political\and military qualifications\and mental\and moral qualities of every soldier\and each officer.


Following the battles of Liukesong\and Jiaxinzi, we had also about 40 days of military\and political training at Baishitan.


This training was necessary mainly for the more than 200 lumbermen who had joined the revolutionary army in a group at Liukesong\and Jiaxinzi. Without giving them training, it would have been impossible to proceed to our next stage of action.


There were many illiterates among the recruits. They were firmly resolved to fight for the revolution, but their ideological level in general was low. Many of them did not understand why the working class should be the leading class in our country since it was the peasantry that made up the overwhelming majority of the population.


Lumberman Son Jong Jun was also an illiterate.\originally he had been a peasant in Antu. He had first awakened to class consciousness under the influence of our attack on Hanconggou. It was not very far rom Antu to Hanconggou,\and the battle was said to have influenced the people in Antu a great deal.


Although he was a lumberman before his enlistment, he was thinking in the initial days of our training at Baishitan that the peasantry should be the leading class in the revolution because peasants far outnumbered workers.


Most of the recruits did not know how to handle a rifle, nor had they any idea on how to drill. The People’s Revolutionary Army had a dozen kinds of small arms. It had Japanese, German\and Czech machine-guns, in addition to various types of rifles,\and more than four kinds of pistols. A guerrilla needed to master the use of all these weapons.


In one battle we captured several machine-guns rom the Japanese. Some of these machine-guns had magazines fixed on the top of their chambers,\and some of them had the magazines fixed sideways. The former was simple to handle, but the method of shooting the latter was very sophisticated. We took a Japanese soldier prisoner\and told him to explain how to work the machine-gun, but he refused. We then found out he was an opium addict who would probably reveal any secret whatsoever when given opium–so we gave him opium\and got the secret of the machine-gun out of him.


I made a manual for the operation\and care of the machine-gun\and taught it to the men.


We had to go through so much trouble just to learn how to fire a single machine-gun\and how to take it apart\and reassemble it, so how could we expect the former lumbermen to be qualified guerrillas without giving them military\and political training? We got O Paek Ryong to harass the enemy by luring them away to different places\and then throw them off about 200 kilometres rom Baishitan. We sent small units to fetch the supplies\and weapons we had hidden at various locales before we started training at the secret camp. Hearing the news that we had recruited hundreds of new men, Choe Hyon sent us dozens of weapons.


Training at Baishitan was given in two stages in anticipation of possible changes in the situation. The first stage was to teach the basic subjects quickly,\and the second stage was to repeat the same subjects so as to consolidate what had been learned the first time.


For the veterans we set the objective of raising the level of their knowledge at least by one grade\and of helping the recruits in their training. For the recruits the objective was to learn how to read\and write\and master different types of weapons in a one-month period. Competitions in reaching the objectives were\organized between regiments, companies\and individual soldiers. When beginning military\and political training at Baishitan, we gave the slogan “The more difficult\and complex the situation, the harder must we study!” in addition to “Studying is also a battle!”


Every single recruit became literate during this training period. To test their new abilities, we got them to write to their parents\and siblings at home. Each of them was able to express his thoughts\and feelings freely in the Korean language. They also mastered the methods of handling, disassembling\and reassembling different types of rifles, pistols\and machine-guns. Some of the recruits even wrote articles for army publications.


Throughout that winter, in fact, the veterans\and recruits all contributed to periodicals.


On the day of reviewing the first training period, we had a grand citation ceremony with entertainment. Those who had been the best students were awarded quality watches, gold rings\and fountain-pens.


In that winter we frequently ate ground, boiled soy beans at Baishitan. There was a place called Dapuchaihe near the secret camp,\and not far rom the place was an unharvested soy-bean field. By the agency of the local peasants, we bought the field\and reaped the bean crop. All the comrades suggested grinding\and boiling the beans.


There was a family living in the Baishitan Secret Camp area, driven away by the enemy’s “punitive” attack. I stayed in their house,\and they gave me some ground soy beans mixed with dried\and frozen cabbage leaves that had been chopped. I made balls the size of my fist out of this, then froze the balls\and boiled one for each meal. I ate this at every meal, every day, yet I never got tired of eating it. In\order to economize our rations, I ate maize a little at a time\and found it truly delicious.


The military\and political training at Baishitan proved to be a great help in the subsequent battles at Hongqihe\and at Damalugou. It was also invaluable in our fighting\and political activities in the closing period of large-unit circling operations\and in small-unit actions.


In subsequent years I instituted the motto, “Knowledge gives us foresight into the future,”\and I have constantly emphasized the importance of learning so as to encourage our officials to keep on improving their political\and practical qualifications.


Today, under the revolutionary slogan “The entire Party must study!”, proposed by Comrade Kim Jong Il, everyone in the country has acquired the revolutionary habit of learning while working\and working while studying.

 


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[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  1. Expedition to Fusong

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  2. Hundreds of Miles rom Xiaotanghe at One Go

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  3. Guardsmen

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  4. Across the Whole of Korea

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  5. Kwon Yong Byok

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  6. Events to Which I Could Not Remain Indifferent

[Reminiscences]Chapter 16. Crossing\and Recrossing the River Amnok  7. The Mother of the Guerrilla Army

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 1. Flames of Pochonbo (1)

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 2. Flames of Pochonbo (2)

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 3. Joint Celebration of Army\and People at Diyangxi

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 4. Photographs\and Memory

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 5. The Battle of Jiansanfeng

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 6. The Boys Who Took Up Arms

[Reminiscences]Chapter 17. Korea Is Alive 7. My Thought about Revolutionary Obligation

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 1. To Meet a New Situation

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 2. Kim Ju Hyon

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 3. Getting the Peasantry Prepared

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 4. Choe Chun Guk in His Days in the Independent Brigade

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