The year in stamps: 1946 “Korea divided”

South Korea

During the closing year of WWII, a plan of establishing a four power trusteeship between the USA, the Soviet Union, China and the UK to rule Korea had been discussed between President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin at Yalta in February 1945. This plan was supposed to eventually result in a united and independent Korea after the trusteeship ended. In May of 1945, Stalin agreed to this idea, with the communist government of China also agreeing in June of that year. The British did not make any commitment to this trusteeship. While there was great elation from the people in Korea when  they were liberated from the Japanese in August of 1945, almost all Koreans were against this idea of a trusteeship, and wanted to immediately become an independent country.

The U.S. military government in Korea was headed by General Douglas MacArthur, with Lt. General John Hodge the head of the American military forces in Korea. As late as August 29th, MacArthur believed that Korea would be occupied on a quadripartite base with the British, Chinese, Russian and American participation, but he had no idea where these four areas would be located in Korea.

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