This study examines the no-confidence motion against President Syngman Rhee from the beginning of 1920 to August the same year, which aimed to oust him from the Korean Provisional Government. The no-confidence against Syngman Rhee resulted from the criticism of the President’s approach to Korean independence movement. Rhee took a negative view on the resistance movement, insisting that independence should be achieved through diplomacy and the sympathy from other countries. Criticizing Rhee’s strategy, the Sindaehan Allied Association and the Korean Socialist Party members intended to oust Rhee from the Korean Provisional Government.
In February 1920, Yun Hyeonjin, the vice-minister of finance and a member of the Sindaehan Allied Association, contended that Rhee has to be ousted from the Korean Provisional Government and that Yi Donghwi and Ahn Changho should become the President and the prime minister respectively. Yi Donghwi, the prime minister who was leading the Korean Socialist Party, also intended to oust Rhee by establishing an alliance with Ahn Changho. However, Ahn Changho opposed this proposal, claiming that the provisional government should not weaken its solidarity.
In May 1920, the Sindaehan Allied Association and the Korean Socialist Party posted a no-confidence motion against the President at the Cabinet meeting, attempting to publicize the issue. The scheme was withdrawn, however, due to Ahn Changho’s strong opposition and the Cheolhyeoldan’s (Union of Iron Blood) physical attack on the provisional government.
At the time, Syngman Rhee came into conflict with the provisional government over the issue of dispatching a diplomat to Moscow, which caused Prime Minister Yi Donghwi to resign and leave for Weihai.
Subsequently, the alliance between the Sindaehan Allied Association and the Korean Socialist Party broke up when Kim Rip, whom Yi had been corresponding after moving to Weihai, was found to have kept writing secret letters on political issues. After Yi’s return, the motion of no-confidence against Syngman Rhee, which had been in progress from the early 1920, was discouraged.