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The Korean peninsula is unified by the Silla dynasty in 668 AD
during 12 centuries of independence the Korean people develop a strong sense of identity
distinct from China and Japan
in 1910, Japan colonizes Korea ending their independence
Koeran nationalist groups arise hoping to regain their independence
Some associate with Chinese and soviet communists
others hope to gain favor with western nations like the United States
Kim Il-sung aligns with the Chinese communists
and leads small guerrilla forces fighting the japenese in the wilderness of Manchuria
Syngman Rhee goes to the U.S.
1945. End of world war II
Japan has defeated and their 36 year occupation of Korea ends
A rushed agreement is reached to fill the power vacuum
Soviet forces control the northern half of the peninsula
installing communist Kim Il-sung as the leader
and U.S. forces control the southern half installing anti-communist Syngman Rhee in the south
creating a de facto divide at the 38th parallel
mistrust on both sides and the emergent cold war prevents cooperation on country wide elections
that would keep Korea unified
August 15th, 1948. Syngman Rhee declares the formation of the Republic of Korea in Seoul
claiming jurisdiction over all of Korea
25 days later. Kim Il-sung declares the formation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in Pyongyang
also claiming jurisdiction over all of Korea
June 25th, 1950. Confident of a quick victory and driven by the desire to control all of Korea
Kim Il-sung backed by communist China and the Soviet Union launches an attack on the south
and the Korean war begins
the U.S. intervenes helping to push the north back
the war devastates the entire peninsula, tearing famlies apart
and taking the lives of millions
July 27th, 1953. An armistice assigned to end major hostilities
however to this day the Korean peninsula remains technically at war
the only separation between north & south is a 2.5 mile wide demilitarized zone
the most heavily fortified border in the world
over the next few decades both Koreas rebuild
North Korea's development is initially faster than the south
massive effort is put into propaganda campaigns to create a personality cult around Kim Il-sung
their eternal president
Juche the heart of north korean ideology ingrains the attitude of self-reliance
in order to resist foreign invasion and guard against outside intervention
by the 1960s, the north provides medical care, universal education, food, and housing to the people
the south experiences periods of dictatorship, rapid economic development, and democratization
later emerging as one of the most successful democracies in Asia
communism collapses in eastern europe and the Soviet Union
major sources of aid and trading partners for North Korea are eliminated
July 8th, 1994. Kim Il-sung's death triggers intense national mourning.
his son Kim Jong-il prepared for power decades in advance replaces him as leader
under Kim Jong-il's military first policy precious resources are diverted away from the North Korean people
and massive efforts go into developing nuclear weapons
ensuring the security and survival of the regime continues to be the top priority
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Everything You Need to Know About Korea

4269 Folder Collection
姚易辰 published on April 11, 2014    Sunny Hsu translated    Gisele Sung reviewed
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