The government was formed on April 13, 1919, shortly after the March 1st movement of the same year during the Imperial Japanese colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.
The government did not gain formal recognition from world powers, though a modest form of recognition was given from the Nationalist Government of China and a number of other governments, most of whom were in exile themselves.
The government resisted the colonial rule of Korea that lasted from 1910 to 1945. They coordinated the armed resistance against the Japanese imperial army during the 1920s and 1930s, including the Battle of Chingshanli in October 1920 and the assault on Japanese military leadership in Shanghai in April 1932.
This struggle culminated in the formation of Korean Liberation Army in 1940, bringing together many if not all Korean resistance groups in exile. The government duly declared war against the Axis powers Japan and Germany on December 9, 1941, and the Liberation Army took part in allied action in China and parts of Southeast Asia.
During World War II, the Korean Liberation Army was preparing an assault against the Imperial Japanese forces in Korea in conjunction with American Office of Strategic Services, but the Japanese surrender prevented the execution of the plan. The government's goal was achieved with Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.
The sites of the Provisional Government in Shanghai and Chongqing (Chungking) have been preserved as museums.
^Sources of Korean Tradition, vol. 2, From the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, edited by Yŏngho Ch'oe, Peter H. Lee, and Wm. Theodore de Bary, Introduction to Asian Civilizations (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 336.