This week in history 15 to 21 August

True Father Proposes Interreligious Council at the United Nations 18 August 2000
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August 15, 1945
Japan Surrenders, World War II Ends

A photo commemorating the Independence Day of Korea.
A photo commemorating the Independence Day of Korea.

Imperial Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, bringing World War II to an end. The war’s end sparked nationwide rejoicing in Korea, which had been under Japanese domination for 40 years.

Unificationists regard August 15, 1945 as the beginning of True Father’s public ministry. According to True Father, “The end of World War II was a unique time in human history.” It was, he stated, “the ideal time for the Second Advent.”

At the same time, there were formidable challenges. Korea was occupied by new powers, the USSR in the North and the U.S. in the South. There was political chaos and social disruption with several million returning refugees; in addition, Korean churches were disunited, divided between those that had accommodated Shinto shrine worship under the Japanese and those that had resisted. Thus, while his countrymen shouted “Mansei” in the streets, True Father foresaw tremendous struggles ahead for Korea, and found it difficult to join in the independence celebrations.

August 15, 1948
Republic of Korea Is Established

The Republic of Korea was formally established, with Syngman Rhee as the first president, August 15, 1948.
The Republic of Korea was formally established, with Syngman Rhee as the first president, August 15, 1948.

After Japan’s surrender to the Allied powers, Korea did not gain its independence. Instead, the USSR and the U.S. established separate trusteeships divided at the 38th parallel. In effect, Korea was subjected to Soviet and U.S. military occupations. This fomented discontent, especially among Korean patriots. The UN General Assembly called for a UN-supervised general election, but this was rejected. A general election for a Constitutional Assembly was held in the South, a constitution was adopted and on August 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea was formally established, with Syngman Rhee as the first president.

Less than a month later, a communist regime, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was proclaimed under Kim Il Sung in the North. The division of Korea during the years 1945-48 was a political and providential failure. True Father traveled north in 1946 to avert this. In the end, he was arrested and spent nearly three years in a North Korean labor camp, liberated only after the outbreak of the Korean War, which resulted in a death toll of over 1.2 million.

August 15, 1957
Wolli Haesul Published

Wolli Haesul (Explanation of the Principle) was the first official publication of Unification Church doctrine. It is based on True Father’s core revelation and teachings and was written by Hyo Won Eu, the church’s first president, under True Father’s direct supervision.  It followed Wolli Wonbun (Original Text of the Principle), True Father’s handwritten text which circulated in copied manuscripts from 1952.

Wolli Haesul was the standard Principle text until 1966. At that time it was superseded by Wolli Kangron (Discourse on the Principle), which expanded the text’s content and served as the basis of English translations Divine Principle (1973) and Exposition of the Divine Principle (1996). Wolli Haesul was instrumental in the church’s expansion during the 1950s and early 1960s.

August 18, 2000
True Father Proposes Interreligious Council at the United Nations

The United Nations convened a Millennium Summit, from September 6 to 8, 2000, which was the largest gathering of world leaders in history to that date. It resulted in the UN Millennium Declaration and UN Millennium Development Goals. Prior to that meeting, the Unification movement convened Assembly 2000 from August 17 to 19 at the New York headquarters of the United Nations. It was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the UN of Indonesia, Uganda and Mongolia under the theme “Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace.” More than 400 world leaders from over 100 nations attended, including Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Robert Dole, former U.S. Senate majority leader and Republican presidential candidate; the late Sir Edward Heath, former prime minister of the United Kingdom; Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia; and Richard Thornburgh, former UN undersecretary general and governor of Pennsylvania.

The centerpiece of Assembly 2000 was True Father’s August 18 keynote address, “Renewing the United Nations to Build Lasting Peace.” True Father made three proposals. The key one called for the establishment of “an interreligious assembly to serve as a senate or council within the United Nations,” requiring that “each nation, in addition to its current ambassador, send a religious ambassador … to serve as a member of the religious assembly or U.N. senate.” A second proposal called for the creation of “peace zones in areas of conflict … governed directly by the United Nations” with a special emphasis on North and South Korea. The third called for an official commemorative day to uphold the ideal of the family, “Specifically … that True Parents’ Day be established as a day of global celebration.” True Father’s proposals launched the Unification movement’s Ambassador for Peace and Abel UN efforts.

August 18, 2001
Workshop on Unification Thought and the Theory of Victory over Communism for worldwide leadership begins

The first Workshop on Unification Thought and the Theory of Victory over Communism for the Worldwide Leadership was held at Jeju International Training Center from August 18 to 31, 2001. Around 500 leaders, including leaders of mission countries, national messiahs and heads of domestic organizations, were in attendance.

At the opening ceremony True Father emphasized, “Starting from the individual to the family, we must be decisive in this era of God’s sovereignty.” True Parents supervised and personally taught participants during the 14-day workshop. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee.)

August 20, 1985
True Father Released, Welcomed at “God and Freedom” Banquet

True Father’s “Danbury Course” consisted of his indictment, trial, appeal and imprisonment on tax evasion charges. It was his sixth imprisonment and one of the most unjust. True Father was incarcerated at the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution in Connecticut from July 20, 1984, to July 4, 1985, and then from July 4, 1985, to August 20, 1985, at Phoenix House Foundation Inc., a halfway house in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

On the evening of his release, 1,600 clergy and prominent laypersons gathered at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., to welcome True Father back at a “God and Freedom” Banquet. Earlier that day, twenty prominent clergy, including Rev. Jerry Falwell, head of the Moral Majority, and Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), usually at opposite ends of the religious-political spectrum, held a news conference at which they decried government encroachment upon religion and called upon President Ronald Reagan to pardon True Father.

In his speech at the God and Freedom Banquet True Father expressed his appreciation to those who had supported him through the court battles, amicus briefs and rallies, and expressed his determination “to relieve the great and long suffering of God.” He called upon all present to “transcend denominationalism” and “to consider seriously the mission of Christianity to lead a supra-denominational, cultural revolution on a worldwide scale.”

August 20, 2003
True Parents Call for the Founding of the Fourth Israel

In May 2003, Christian clergy responded to True Parents’ call and went to Israel, where they repented together with Jewish and Muslim leaders for not having understood one another as brothers. On the foundation of the penitent heart demonstrated by representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths, True Parents called for the founding of the “Fourth Israel”—a new body of “chosen people” who were anointed by God.

True Father offered Holy Wine at a special August 20 celebration, and all who partook of this covenant not only were engrafted into the lineage of heaven and the True Olive Tree but also became the “Fourth Israel,” a new “chosen people of all races, religious faiths, and peoples.”

August 20, 2004
Coronation of True Parents as King and Queen of Peace at Korea’s National Assembly Library

On August 20, 2004, the Cheon Il Guk Registration Blessing Ceremony of the Revolution of True Heart in the Era of True Liberation and Complete Freedom was held at the National Assembly Library in Seoul. In attendance were around 600 leaders, including Stanislav Shushkevich, a former president of Belarus, Nagajima Mamoru, a former minister of the Office of Science and Technology in Japan, and Father Hatoum, the provost of the Church of Saint George, Nazareth, Israel. On this day participating leaders from the different countries crowned True Parents as the King and Queen of Peace in acknowledgment of their interreligious and international peace endeavors. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee.)