First Revolutionary Armed Forces of the DPRK

The Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army (AJPGA), the first revolutionary armed forces of Korea, was founded in Xiaoshahe in Antu County of China 89 years ago.

Comrade Kim Il Sung declared an anti-Japanese war at the Mingyuegou Meeting held in December Juche 20 (1931) and directed primary efforts to organizing the armed units as part of preparations to this end.

He wrote as follows in his memoirs With the Century:

“Our efforts to found the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army faced difficulties from the beginning. The questions of cadres, weapons, military drill, provisions, the mass foundation and relations with the national salvation army, as well as many other questions of a military and political character, were raised and awaiting solution. In forming the armed units we considered cadres and weapons as the most essential two elements. But we were short of them both. By cadres we mean those who were prepared militarily and politically. We needed young people who understood politics and military affairs and were ready to fight in arms for the country and people for a long time.”

At that time, Antu served as the centre of the activities of the Korean communists to found the AJPGA. On hearing the news that the guerrilla army would be organized, patriots in their early twenties flocked to Antu, at the risk of their lives, from Korea and various parts of Manchuria to volunteer for the guerrilla army.

Sometimes they came in dozens at a time.

And those who were working in various counties along the Tuman River, those who had been tempered and seasoned in the harvest and spring struggles and many others from different parts of Manchuria, including Dunhua, gathered in Antu.

Kim Il Sung also directed efforts to obtaining arms.

The struggle to obtain arms was waged vigorously as a mass movement; the revolutionary masses, irrespective of age and gender, with members of the guerrilla groups, the Red Guards, the Children’s Vanguard and the local shock brigades in the van, waged brave battles against the Japanese aggressor army, the Japanese and Manchukuo policemen, the pro-Japanese landlords and the reactionary bureaucrats to wrest their weapons from them under the slogan “Arms are our lifeblood. Arms for arms!”

They also made weapons by their own efforts.

Kim Il Sung ensured that uniforms for the guerrillas were made. Uniforms were made from cloth dyed in water boiled with oak-tree bark. A five-pointed piece of red cloth inscribed with the company number was worn on the left breast of the tunic. The guerrillas were to wear caps with a red star insignia and white leggings.

Late in April 1932, Kim Il Sung held a meeting in Antu to finalize the preparations for the formation of the AJPGA. The meeting discussed the date and place of the founding of the guerrilla army along with the final screening of the applicants, defined the area of its immediate activities and adopted general measures related with the activities of the army.

On the morning of April 25, 1932, the founding ceremony of the AJPGA was held on the tableland at Tuqidian, and the birth of the revolutionary armed forces was declared. Later, the AJPGA was reorganized into the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (KPRA). Finally, the KPRA defeated the Japanese imperialists and liberated Korea in August 1945.

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