The March First Movement of 1919 was a widespread independence movement in colonized Korea. This Movement began with the reading of Korea’s Declaration of Independence in a restaurant in Seoul and quickly spread throughout the country, amassing over two million Korean participants who demonstrated in 1500 protests. This significant Movement in Korean history resulted from a culmination of factors, but is often defined by modern historians as an effort against Japan’s oppressive colonization. However, this simplified description of the Movement’s origins understates the complex influences that lead to this Movement. This work then studies how this Movement came to be: specifically, Japan’s influence was never welcomed or accepted by Korea, so a combination of harsh Japanese colonization practices, anti-imperial global ideology after WWI, and the establishment of Protestant missionaries in Korea all contributed to the development and creation of an independence movement that quickly spread throughout the entire country. Each one of these influences helped determine when the Movement occurred, and why it occurred. Because the complexity of this Movement is better understood through a consideration of all its major influences, this work contributes to the contemporary state of scholarly work on Korea by offering a comprehensive but critical history into the Movement’s inspirations.
Cooper, Anna, "Korea's Explosive Declaration of Independence: Complex Influences Leading Up to the March First Movement of 1919" (2022). Honors Projects, History. 56.