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The Design of the Allies’ Military Strategies and the Post-War Structure at the Cairo Conference of 1943

Yoon, Young Hwi 1

1국방부군사편찬연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

For many Asian countries including Korea, the Cairo Conference has significant implications. At the Conference, leaders of the allied nations pledged to accede the occupied territory from Japan to China and grant the independence of Korea ‘in due course’. The Cairo Declaration was reconfirmed at the Potsdam Declaration of 1945 and accepted by the Japanese after the war. The previous studies have mainly focused on ‘the Declaration' itself or its effects on the destiny of the East Asian countries. However, the allies’ motivations for holding the conference, which underlay much of the Declaration, have not been a frequent theme of research. Many researchers have engaged in ‘circular logic’; that is, they have emphasized the Declaration, assuming the Cairo Conference was held to discuss the destiny of several areas in East Asia. The ‘Foreign Relations of the United States' documents concerning the process of Conference’s preparation offer a more comprehensive interpretation of its historical meaning, which the Declaration cannot fully demonstrate by itself. Firstly, heads of nations at Cairo in 1943 needed to establish a new international order in East Asia. There was a disagreement over the Chinese role in the post-war structure between the two Western leaders and Stalin. The meaning of a passage in the Declaration, stating ‘all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese…shall be restored’, could be fully understood by considering the three leaders' political intentions. The passage was prepared after the three allies reconciled their ideas over this international political issue. Moreover, due importance should be given to the military strategic aspects of the Cairo Conference. In late 1943, the allied forces were laying plans for the recapture of Burma, while they had diverse opinions about the day on which an operation commenced and the extent of British military intervention on the Burmese front. They also showed different views over the Soviets' participation in future military operations against Japanese imperialism. Thus, the passage ‘The Three Great Allies expressed their resolve to bring unrelenting pressure against their brutal enemies by sea, land, and air expressed the greatest common factor among the three allied forces rather than a rhetorical comment. In this sense, through a thorough investigation of the three great powers' motivations in terms of international–political and military purposes at the Conference, the historical meaning of the Declaration can be explained more comprehensively.

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* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.