The March 1st Movement, spread out from cities and farm villages in 1919, sent a hopeful message to nationalist leaders and independence activists inside and outside of the country. They made a decision to establish government in the various places to achieve independence. In Shanghai, China, Korean nationalism activists joined forces with members of the Sinhan Cheongnyeondang(New Korea Youth Association), organized the Provisional Legislative Assembly, and launched the Korean Provisional Government as a democratic republic form of government, with Rhee Syngman designated as Prime Minister, on 11 April 1919.
At the time, in addition to the provisional government in Shanghai, there were a large number of provisional governments, both inside and outside the country, such as Russia's Vladivostok's Great Korean Parliament, and Gyeongseong's provisional government. This led people to feel the need to integrate them. As a result, on 11 September 1919, the Korean Provisional Government was established in Shanghai. This was possible because Japan could have less effect on them in Shanghai than in Korea and it facilitated the performance of diplomatic activities. The Korean Provisional Government had a national system based on liberal democracy and republicanism. It had an administrative structure, established a secret communications network, and tried to raise funds for the independence movement. Also, an independent newspaper was distributed to deliver news about the movement.
However, from the beginning of its establishment, the Korean Provisional Government was at odds due to factional strife depending on ideology and region. Furthermore, it had a hard time losing contact with activities because its domestic network was cut off by Japan. As the damage caused by the interference of the Japanese Empire intensified, the Korean Provisional Government had to move from Shanghai to Hangzhou. Moreover, following the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, the Korean Provisional Government had to move to Chinkiang, Changsha, and Guangdong.
Unfortunately, after Korea’s liberation in 1945, leading figures – who arrived too late for the interference of the U.S military and messed up the domestic situation – caused the cabinet and policies of the Korean Provisional Government to dissolve. However, liberalism and the Thought of Triple Equality, the leadership ideology of the provisional government, were reflected in the Constitution of the Republic of Korea proclaimed in 1948 and became the basis of the establishment of the Republic of Korea.
One hundred years later, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement and the establishment of the Korean Provisional Government. To remember the past 100 years, reflect on the present, and prepare the next 100 years, the Presidential Commission on the Centennial Anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement and Korea Provisional Government has been established. They have held commemorative events dedicated to honoring patriotic martyrs, excavated unknown independence fighters from home and abroad, and improved the scope of their rewards. They are also producing cultural content to honor their dedication. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the sacrifice and determination of our ancestors, we can learn more about them and find greater significance in remembering and celebrating them.