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[Reminiscences]Chapter 19 5. Expedition to Rehe

  

   

 


 

5. Expedition to Rehe 

 

 The ill-fated expedition to Rehe put grave obstacles in the way of military actions\and political activities by the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, as well as the development of the revolutionary movement in Korea,\and brought about great losses to the anti-Japanese movement as a whole, in the years before\and after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. The event provided a harsh lesson. The expedition served as a vivid example of the nature of the difficulties that revolutions in individual countries had to undergo in the mid-1930s, when revolutionary strategy was imposed upon these countries in the form of an “international line”. It was also a notable historical event that showed in particular the enormity of the struggle that was needed to uphold\and carry out the independent line in the Korean revolution.


In recollecting the plan of the expedition issued by the Comintern, Comrade Kim Il Sung said:


The plan of a Rehe expedition,\or an expedition towards the Liaoxi-Rehe area7, reached us in spring 1936. Wei Zheng-min conveyed the plan as a directive rom the Comintern to the assembly of the commanding officers of the KPRA\and the Anti-Japanese Allied Army in Northeast China, including Wang De-tai.


The gist of the directive was that the anti-Japanese armed forces operating in Northeast China should advance towards Liaoxi\and Rehe, first, to link up with the Chinese Worker-Peasant Red Army advancing towards Rehe under the slogan of “Eastward attack for the recovery of lost land”,\and second, to help forestall the Japanese imperialist aggressor forces, which were invading the mainland of China. The strategic objective set by the Comintern was to effect a pincer movement on the Rehe line by the Worker-Peasant Red Army (renamed the 8th Route Army later), which was advancing northward\and eastward,\and the Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces advancing westward, so as to unify the anti-Japanese struggles on the Chinese mainland\and in Northeast China\and bring about a fresh upsurge in the anti-Japanese movement as a whole.


In those days the 1st Army Corps in southern Manchuria, the 4 th\and 5th Corps in the eastern area of Jilin Province, the 3rd\and 6th Corps in northern Manchuria\and other Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces were deployed in the shape of a half moon in the areas east, southeast\and northeast of Changchun. The Comintern’s strategic intention was to push the semicircle westward so as to surround Changchun in the form of a half moon, then advance it further to the Rehe line to link it up with the Worker-Peasant Red Army forces advancing northward\and strike the Japanese aggressor forces marching into the mainland of China.


Apparently the Comintern’s aim in implementing the planned expedition to Rehe was to open up a new phase of unified development for the revolutions in the two regions of China.


In the years when the Japanese imperialists, having occupied the three provinces of Northeast China, were fabricating Manchukuo, the anti-Japanese struggle in China was waged mainly in its northeastern region.


In the course of its Long March of 25,000 li, the Chinese Communist Party criticized the Left opportunist line\and established a new leadership system. rom then on, the Chinese people’s anti-Japanese struggle entered a new, higher stage of development. The rapid growth in the anti-Japanese movement on the mainland greatly encouraged the people in the Northeast.


The circulation of the plan of expedition made Rehe a hot spot of Sino-Japanese confrontation that focused the world’s attention on it.


Situated on the coast of Bohai Bay, Rehe was the capital of Rehe Province in the years of Qing rule,\and as such it was closely associated with the history of the Qing dynasty, established by the Manchus.


Rehe’s close connection with the Qing can be explained by the fact that the city was the locale for a royal villa called the Guanghan Palace, constructed by Emperor Kangxi,\and that in that villa Emperor Qianlong, renowned in the Qing dynasty, was born.

 

Rehe was also noted for its natural fortification. The mountain range southwest of Rehe was one of the strong points on the Great Wall,\and this fact alone shows the importance of the place rom the military point of view since ancient times.


Rehe was such a notable place that Pak Ji Won, a thinker of the silhak school in the 19th century who had been to China as an attendant of an envoy of the feudal government of the Ri dynasty, wrote his well-known Rehe Diary. In this long travelogue he gave a very vivid account of Chinese cultural institutions\and of the features of Rehe as a city.


Rehe attracted worldwide attention for the first time when the Japanese imperialists, following the September 18 incident, occupied Jinzhou\and Rehe to open a route for their invasion of the Chinese mainland.


When the plan of expedition to Rehe came down rom the Comintern, reactions to it varied.


Wang De-tai was sceptical about the plan rom the outset. He said he was not convinced that sending thousands of guerrillas to surround the capital of Manchukuo,\where enemy forces were concentrated,\and the scheme of moving guerrilla forces to the plains far away rom their mountain bases were such good ideas. He pointed out that the plan was contrary to guerrilla tactics\and that there was no reason why we should advance westward simply because the Worker-Peasant Red Army had started advancing eastward rom the mainland.\and finally he warned that we needed to be careful about following footsteps that had already failed previously in the attack on large cities.


Li Li-san, who was at the helm of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party early in the 1930s when warlords were running rampant, had a one-sided\and exaggeratedly favourable view of the development of the revolutionary situation. He forced the adoption of an adventurist decision on the possibility of winning the revolution in just one\or two provinces\and\ordered general political strikes\and armed uprisings in many major cities. By this\order of the Party leadership, the Red Army went ahead\and attacked major cities. But the operations failed. In the light of this precedent, it was natural that some people expressed their dissatisfaction with the operations plan rom the Comintern. In those days, most of the communists in the Anti-Japanese Allied Army accepted everything the Comintern was doing as fair\and above-board. In these circumstances it was noteworthy that some commanders approached the plan of expedition only half-heartedly.


Wei Zheng-min, however, did not take their opinions seriously. As the messenger rom the Comintern, he spoke in defence of the plan. He brushed their objections aside by saying that all the Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces in southern, eastern\and northern Manchuria were to participate in the expedition, that the internal situation was very good,\and that there was therefore a good chance of success. He proceeded to Jinchuan County,\where he conveyed the Comintern’s expedition plan to the military\and political cadres of the 1st Corps of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army in Northeast China.


Yang Jing-yu was said to have been greatly excited about the plan. On receiving the Comintern’s directive, he clearly expressed his readiness to implement it. He had been making conscious efforts to achieve a link-up with the revolution on the mainland. Since the guerrilla base in southern Manchuria was close to the mainland, such a link-up was fully possible.


At that moment the Worker-Peasant Red Army on the mainland had marched north\and was advancing eastward in\order to create a high tide in the anti-Japanese national salvation movement throughout the country. Yang Jing-yu wanted to join the anti-Japanese vanguard advancing eastward in\order to break through the enemy blockade, establish a direct link-up between the guerrilla warfare in Northeast China\and the anti-Japanese war in the mainland\and bring about cooperation between them. How enthusiastically he supported the expedition to Rehe was illustrated by the fact that despite the obvious failures of his subsequent two attempts, he made yet another attempt to advance on Rehe, that he had the Song of Triumphant Westward Attack composed\and that he urged his men to carry out the expedition.


The Left adventurists entrenched in the Comintern sent their directive for the expedition to us as well on a number of occasions.


We got the Comintern’s instructions for the first time in the spring of 1936, then in the summer of 1937 as the Sino-Japanese War was breaking out,\and again in the spring of 1938.

 

In 1936\and 1937, as the Comintern was telling us to march westward, the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army was in the process of stepping up preparations for founding the Party\and for the movement of a united front after advancing to the Mt. Paektu area\and West Jiandao. At the same time it was in high spirits, extending the armed struggle deep into the homeland. At this time also the Korean communists were making every effort to strengthen the driving force of the Korean revolution, unshakeable in their determination that they had to carry out the Korean revolution on their own. Prospects for the revolution were bright, but we had a mountain of work to do.

Thanks to our efforts, revolutionary\organizations had appeared like bamboo shoots after the rain in the area along the Amnok River\and in the homeland,\and tens of thousands of new revolutionaries were maturing. The Korean People’s Revolutionary Army was faced with the important task of providing armed protection for these\organizations\and revolutionaries\and of giving a great push to the revolution in the homeland rom its bases in the Mt. Paektu area\and West Jiandao.


What were our feelings in this situation when we were told to go on the expedition to Rehe, a venture that promised no chance of success? Although the Comintern had\ordered us to join the expedition, I considered it reckless rom the outset.


We adhered to a line of independence in the Korean revolution, which we ourselves had set in motion in those days. We fought many major battles in West Jiandao in cooperation with the 2nd Division of the 1st Corps under the command of Cao Guo-an,\and we also conducted large-scale offensive operations in the homeland. Meanwhile, we filled in the military vacuum in some areas of southern Manchuria, which had been occupied earlier by the 1st Corps,\and provided sincere support for the forces on the expedition to Liaoxi\and Rehe. In other words, we killed two birds with one stone by maintaining firmly the independent line of spreading the flames of armed struggle into the homeland, while at the same time creating favourable conditions for the implementation of the Comintern’s line.


When the armed forces in southern Manchuria were advancing towards Rehe\and Liaoxi, Wei Zheng-min, the messenger rom the Comintern, followed us, instead of going with the 1st Corps.


The absurdity\and infeasibility of the expedition plan became even more pronounced after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. Yet at this stage the Comintern, instead of discarding the dream of surrounding Changchun in a semicircle, continued to urge the Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces to advance westward against heavy odds. As the Sino-Japanese confrontation culminated in an all-out war\and in this context the anti-Japanese movement mounted to a rapid upsurge, the Comintern apparently judged that the decisive moment for the pincer movement had come.


The year the Sino-Japanese War broke out, cooperation between the nationalists\and communists in China was realized for the second time. The Worker-Peasant Red Army under the leadership of the Communist Party, reorganized as the 8th Route Army of the National Revolutionary Army, was advancing towards Shuiyuan, Chahaer\and Rehe in high spirits.


In its new instructions for the expedition, the Comintern demanded that the main force of the KPRA move down towards Hailong\and the Jihai line, previously occupied by the 1st Corps, take direct part in the partial encirclement of Changchun\and give active support to the 1st Corps, which was advancing towards Rehe. To do this meant that the KPRA had to advance westward, far away rom its base in the Mt. Peaktu area.


To be candid, effecting a link-up with the 8th Route Army advancing towards Rehe was of no particular significance in a situation in which the whole of the Chinese mainland had become a theatre of war.


We judged the expedition plan to be unrealizable also because it did not accord with the requirements of guerrilla warfare. For a guerrilla army to leave the mountain area for the plains was as risky as fish leaving the water for land. The mountainous regions in northern, southern\and eastern Manchuria had been settled by the communists for a long time. There were solid mass foundations in these regions\and their geography was familiar to the guerrillas. The march route rom these regions to Rehe\or Liaoxi led over a wide plain along the railway in southern Manchuria, an area of numerous strategic enemy concentrations.

 

What would become of the lightly-equipped guerrilla forces in an encounter on the plains with the regular army forces of the enemy, which were equipped with heavy weapons\and tanks? The outcome was as predictable as daylight.


From the point of view of the 8th Route Army, Rehe was within hailing distance just beyond the Great Wall, but it was hundreds of miles rom Northeast China,\where the Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces were operating.


For a relatively small guerrilla army to march such a long distance over the open plains,\where enemy forces hundreds of times stronger were concentrated, was against common military sense.


More than once did I explain to Wei Zheng-min the strategic absurdity of the expedition to Rehe.


Wei Zheng-min, too, gradually came to have doubts about the absolute necessity of the expedition. However, he did not abandon the lingering hope that a successful expedition would stimulate an upsurge in the anti-Japanese movement throughout China once the Sino-Japanese War had broken out,\and that the expedition would demonstrate the unbreakable anti-Japanese spirit\and genuine patriotism of the communists, who consistently stuck to their cardinal principle of resistance to the Japanese. He was of the opinion that a successful expedition would enlist Jiang Jie-shi in an active struggle against the Japanese.


I told him that naturally it was necessary to bring about a high tide of anti-Japanese struggle throughout China, to demonstrate the stamina of the Communist Party,\and to bring Jiang Jie-shi round to an active anti-Japanese struggle, but that he must not think of gaining such results at the expense of the revolution in Northeast China. I reminded him of the enormous bloodshed that the Korean\and Chinese peoples\and communists had already suffered for the revolution in Northeast China.


Wei Zheng-min, however, stuck to his position. He said that although the expedition plan had some strategic vulnerabilities, he could not abandon the idea without even trying\and that although the expedition might take an undesirable toll\or result in unexpected losses, it was impossible to do great things without incurring some loss\or sacrifice.

 

He said that Zhou Bao-zhong’s 5th Corps\and 4th Corps had started implementing the instructions with great enthusiasm, regarding the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War as the best chance for a westward expedition.


I subsequently found out that, as Wei Zheng-min said, Zhou Bao-zhong, operating in the east of Jilin Province, had an optimistic view of the political\and military situations in the Chinese mainland\and northeastern region after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. He saw it as the start of a great event\and declared that he needed to make use of all the possibilities simultaneously with this event to effect a direct link-up with the guerrilla force of the 8th Route Army advancing rapidly towards the Rehe line.


Not every one in his unit, however, supported the westward expedition. Chai Shi-rong, deputy commander of the 5th Corps, reportedly saw through the recklessness of the expedition at the outset\and took a sceptical approach to the expedition plan.


Wei Zheng-min, though aware of the risky elements of the plan, maintained his support for the campaign. I regarded his attitude as an expression of his loyalty to the Chinese revolution.

He came rom Shanxi Province in northern China to Manchuria in the early 1930s\and participated in the revolution in Northeast China as a leading figure. He devoted himself heart\and soul to Party work in Northeast China\and to the raising of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army\and played a great part in the success of military operations to destroy Japanese imperialism. He was unusually attached to,\and interested in, the revolution in Northeast China.


However, he was not confined to the revolution in this part of China. He viewed it as a part of the overall Chinese revolution\and was always more concerned about the latter, although he did regard the regional revolution as important as well. He was ready to accept any sacrifice, as long as it meant contributing to an upsurge in an all-China revolution.


I told him: “I understand your intention to carry out the expedition to Rehe in spite of the risk of sacrifice. However, I cannot help wondering seriously whether\or not the Comintern, when planning the expedition, correctly understood the situation in Northeast China\and the requirements of the Chinese revolution, whether\or not it made a correct calculation of the military feasibility of the plan,\and especially whether\or not the attempted expedition accords with the characteristics of guerrilla warfare. I can say that not only does the expedition plan lack an insight into the present state of the Chinese revolution, but also the Comintern has failed to give any kind of consideration to the Korean revolution. I think Wang Ming is a man of extraordinary subjectivity, even though he is a representative of the Chinese Communist Party to the Comintern.”


Wei Zheng-min, too, admitted that Wang Ming was strongly subjective.


The expedition plan was issued in the name of the Comintern, but it was Wang Ming who drew up the plan\and sent it down.


While in Moscow, Wang Ming formulated one line after another that contradicted the specific situation in China. The major failing of his line was that it was a Leftist deviation forced upon us in the name of the Comintern. Once an agreement had been reached on cooperation between the nationalists\and communists following the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, however, his line veered to the Right. He asserted that everything should be done through their cooperation\and united front action.


Comrade Kim Il Sung, recollecting how carefully\and shrewdly he went on to implement the directive for the Rehe expedition in the context of both the Korean\and international revolutions, said as follows:


At that point we were still not fully aware of the opportunistic nature of Wang Ming’s line. But even if we had known it, it would have been impossible to oppose the line pointblank\or avoid its execution overtly. Wang Ming was a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern\and also its secretary. All the directives drafted by him were issued, not in his own name, but in the name of the Comintern.


I did not think the expedition plan was beneficial to the development of the revolution in Northeast China; furthermore, I believed that it was extremely one-sided\and harmful as far as the Korean revolution was concerned. However, I maintained prudence in its implementation.

 

We had a serious discussion with Wei Zheng-min about the course of action to be taken by the Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces under the 1st Corps\and the main force of the KPRA.


Wei Zheng-min wanted the KPRA to move into the Hailong region\and the area of Jihai line,\where the 1st Corps had been operating. To do this would make it impossible for us to consolidate the military\and political success we had achieved in the Mt. Paektu area. I therefore answered that we would conduct mobile operations in Linjiang, Fusong\and Mengjiang over a period of time for the development of the Korean revolution,\and then move gradually into that area when the time was ripe.


At this time, the KPRA had a large number of recruits rom West Jiandao\and the homeland. It would not be favourable to leave our\original theatre of operations for an unfamiliar place without giving the recruits adequate training. I said without reserve that we would not move far away rom West Jiandao\and the Mt. Paektu area because we had to preserve\and expand the revolutionary\organizations that had been formed in the homeland\and step up the offensive operations into the homeland.


Wei Zheng-min agreed to my policy.


In those days, Yang Jing-yu was fighting hard-fought battles in an effort to bring success to the Rehe expedition by riding on the tide of anti-Japanese sentiments, which were rapidly mounting under the stimulus of the Sino-Japanese War.


In spring 1938, however, his 1st Corps had a hard time since it was surrounded by the enemy the moment it set off on the expedition. To make matters worse, Cheng Bin, commander of the 1st Division, surrendered to the enemy, taking his unit along with him. His surrender messed up the 1st Corps’ plan for a westward campaign.


In mid-July Yang Jing-yu called an emergency meeting of the officers of the 1st Corps at Laoling,\where he officially cancelled his expedition plan\and adopted measures to reorganize so as to prevent the divulgence of the secrets.


Cheng Bin’s surrender was a great shock to us as well. The 1st Corps was in danger of crumbling. In\order to help it, we prepared weapons\and other war supplies\and\ordered part of our force to start moving towards the Tonghua line by way of Jinchuan\and Liuhe Counties by skirting Mengjiang County.


The aim of this movement was to scatter the enemy force, which was surrounding the 1st Corps,\and to provide the 1st Corps with a possibility of breaking through the encirclement. The movement to compel the enemy to disperse its force was intended as a means to rescue the comrades-in-arms of the 1st Corps prior to any consideration of the execution of the expedition plan. We wanted to preserve the anti-Japanese forces in Northeast China\and strengthen the militant ties of friendship between the Korean\and Chinese communists\and people, a friendship that had been established through many years of joint struggle.


While our detachment was advancing towards the Tonghua line, deliberately making loud noises to attract the enemy’s attention, I slipped far into the homeland in command of a small unit\and took new steps to intensify the revolutionary struggle in Korea.


Meanwhile, the main force destroyed the enemy in many places. The raid on the road construction site near Badaojiang was most impressive. Large numbers of Japanese\and Manchukuo troops, as well as armed police\and Self-Defence Corps, were stationed at Badaojiang. At that time, these enemy troops were frequently\ordered out on “punitive” operations against the KPRA forces fighting in the Linjiang area. At the same time they were also engaged in a large-scale project to construct military roads\and railways that went rom Kanggye\and Junggang in Korea to the interior of Manchuria, by way of Linjiang.


We raided a large construction site between Tonghua\and Linjiang, turning it into pandemonium in an instant\and destroying a large number of guard troops.

When the battle was over, a few Japanese contractors requested an interview with me. At the interview they offered a liberal amount of money for their lives.

I said, “By undertaking this construction, you are, of course, helping Japan’s act of aggression. But we have no intention of killing you. We, the revolutionary army, do not accept the ransom you offer. Taking it would be an act of banditry. You may go, but you must keep your hands off this project. If you wish to contract, do it elsewhere.” We then released them.

 

Our raid on the construction site gave rise to the widespread news that Kim Il Sung’s guerrillas had appeared in the west of Linjiang. Apparently the contractors spread the news far\and wide.


Following the battle of Badaojiang, we destroyed the pursuing enemy around Naichagou\and Waichagou, then fought the enemy again at Xigang, Fusong County, thus drawing its forces towards us.


This elusive tactical movement compelled the enemy to disperse its forces here\and there in utter confusion with no idea of\where the KPRA was actually operating. This meant that our tactical movements\and series of offensive operations aimed at rescuing the 1st Corps were successful. In subsequent days, Yang Jing-yu\and Wei Zheng-min reiterated that the sound of our gunshots in Linjiang, Fusong\and Mengjiang had proved decisive in helping the 1st Corps out of its difficulties.


The Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces in northern Manchuria also suffered no small casualties in the westward campaign. A number of army corps in northern Manchuria started the expedition in July 1937\and fully committed themselves to the campaign in 1938.


As was the case in southern Manchuria, the expedition by the northern forces ended in failure. The Rehe expedition, which confused the revolution in Northeast China\and took a heavy toll in reckless battles for some years, fizzled out in southern Manchuria in 1938,\and in northern Manchuria in 1939.

Why, then, did the expedition, which wasted so much energy, manpower\and materials, fail?


Many analysts have attributed the failure to the well-established\order of the Japanese\and the Manchukuo ruling machinery\and to the overwhelming number of the enemy forces–that is, to objective conditions. I think this is a correct analysis.


The policy of internment villages8, pursued by the enemy in real earnest at this period, cut off ties between the guerrillas\and the people. As the enemy put it, it was a “separation of bandits rom the people”. This policy consolidated the ruling institutions of the enemy,\whereas it laid many obstacles in the way of the anti-Japanese armed forces. These obstacles kept the expedition almost out of contact with the masses, hence rom its route of food supplies. The people, confined in their internment villages, had no means of getting in touch with the expeditionary forces, still less of sending supplies to them even though they wanted to. In these circumstances, the expeditionary forces had no alternative but to capture food\and clothing rom the enemy. The sound of their gunshots provided the enemy with ceaseless information about their\whereabouts\and strategic manoeuvres.


Worse still, the expeditionary forces encountered deep valleys, the enemy’s high gun-emplacement towers\and barracks, blocking lines every step.

But can one ascribe the failure to the objective conditions alone? As the world knows, the Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces were responsible for the expedition. The Comintern, which\ordered the line of the expedition, can also be said to be responsible in a wider sense. My personal opinion is that the Comintern committed a subjective mistake in the way it formulated the line\and gave leadership to its implementation,\and that the Anti-Japanese Allied Army forces, blindly following the line, carried out its operations blindly. In the last analysis, the Comintern’s subjectivity\and adventurism were the main causes of the failure.


Any line that is not accepted by the masses\or that cannot touch their hearts will invariably fail to bring good results.


When we adopt a policy\or a line, we go deep among the people\and listen to their opinions in\order to avoid committing the error of subjectivity.


When a man is affected with subjectivity, he becomes as good as blind. Some officials these days consider themselves the wisest of all\and slight the opinions of their subordinates. They are grossly mistaken. Zhu-ge Liang was a renowned talent, but the popular masses are wiser\and more intelligent than he was.

A line\and strategy can be effective only when their validity convinces everyone. If not accepted by the masses, they are useless. The masses’ hearts will fail to throb with excitement at anything that is not a just, correct\and transparent line, still less in military operations in which the slightest error will bring disaster to all.

 

Even the enemy commented on the expedition as an ill-advised campaign.


“Making a careless estimate of the objective situation after the incident (the July 7 incident– Tr.)\and judging it to be favourable to their guerrilla actions, they appeared to move audaciously rom Dongbiandao... Jinchuan, Liuhe\and Linjiang between the autumn of the year before last (1938)\and the spring last year in a rash attempt to link up with the forces advancing towards Rehe rom North China. However, confronted with a swift punitive attack by the Japanese\and Manchukuo army\and police forces, they moved back to the north\and tried to establish a Red Area around the boundaries of Huadian, Mengjiang, Dunhua, Jiaohe, Fusong\and Antu Counties; that is, in the white zone at the foot of Mt. Paektu.” (Thought Monthly, No. 77, Criminal Bureau, Ministry of Justice, November, the 15th year of Showa–1940–pp. 136-137.)


The directives rom the Comintern had much in them that did not suit the actual situation. Nevertheless, we approached each of the directives with care\and tried to think carefully\and act shrewdly so as to combine international\and national interests while carrying out these directives in the context of our specific situation.


The more obstacles there are standing in the way of the revolution\and the more complex the situation is, the more firmly do we maintain the consistent principle of adhering to an unrestricted line of our own\and of acting independently. As was the case in dealing with the Comintern, we have always combined an appropriate balance of independence\and internationalism in our relations with our neighbours.


That is why I can say that we have been able to lead the revolution straight to victory.


I still believe that our position\and actions with regard to the Rehe expedition were right.


In autumn 1970 I paid an informal visit to China, at which time my Chinese hosts gave a banquet in Beijing in celebration of the founding anniversary of our Party. The banquet was also attended by one of Wang Ming’s erstwhile colleagues rom the Comintern.


I told the Chinese cadres about how many twists\and turns the Korean revolution had gone through because of pressure rom those around us\and about the torments the Korean communists had experienced–more than anyone else–because of the prevailing circumstances. I pointed out that a large number of Korean revolutionaries had been sacrificed during the anti-“Minsaengdan” campaign,\and that in the latter half of the 1930s especially we had suffered great losses in strengthening the KPRA\and developing the anti-Japanese revolution as a whole because some people at the Comintern forced upon us a line that did not at all suit the situation.


At this, Zhou En-lai remarked that Wang Ming was to blame for the mistake,\and that Wang Ming had obviously done much harm not only to the Chinese revolution but also the Korean revolution.


Stalin also admitted that the Comintern had committed many subjective errors.


If the Comintern had not forced the Rehe expedition, we would not have left West Jiandao,\and if we had not left West Jiandao, we could have dealt with the Hyesan incident\and minimized the loss before it was too late. If our main force had stayed in West Jiandao, the enemy would not have dared to touch our revolutionary\organizations even though they might have wanted to. When the enemy came to make its arrests, those who escaped could have evaded the roundup by fleeing to the mountains\and joining our unit. Pak Tal, in fact, fled to the mountains\and moved around in search of us, but was captured because he could not find us.


Many years have passed since the expedition to Rehe. My reason for referring to the expedition now is not to point the finger at who was right\or who was wrong. Even if I were to point out who was wrong, there is no place to appeal to. There is neither a Comintern nor a symbol of authority at present. However, communists must learn a serious lesson rom this expedition, which incurred so many losses because of subjectivism\and blind actions.

History will never make a present of a good future to those who ignore the principles of revolution\and act only through subjectivity.


 


 Related articles

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 6. My Experience of the “Hyesan Incident”

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

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  2. The Weasel Hunter

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  3. The Last of the Independence Army Forces

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  4. Village Headman Wang\and Police Chief Wang



        

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