In his 2004 book, Target Korea: Pushing North Korea To The Brink of Nuclear Catastrophe, Australian National University Professor Gavan McCormack provided some historical background to the current crisis in Korea, when he wrote the following about the situation in Korea after World War II in the late 1940s:
"With the announcement of the Japanese surrender, the capital, Seoul, was swept by joyful anticipation and a spontaneous network of popular local organizations, the `People's Committees,' emerged...The People's Committees were quickly banned...and the rich conservative and staunch anticommunist, Syngman Rhee, an `emigre' Korean who had lived for decades in Washington, developing strong ties to conservative Americans, was imposed at the head of a new regime...
"[General] Hodge [the U.S. military commander]'s intelligence told him in February 1946 that leftist elements in the South would be bound to win any fair election, and in that same month a survey found that 49 percent of South Koreans felt that conditions were worse under the Americans than they had been under the Japanese.
"Those associated with the People's Committees...were...arrested or driven underground...The most prominent figure...seeking accommodation with the north, Yo Unhyong, was assassinated in July 1947...
"On November 11, 1947, Patrick Shaw, then head of the Australian diplomatic mission in Tokyo, described the situation in South Korea:
"`Real power is apparently in the hands of the ruthless police force which works at the direction of the G2 Section of the American G.H.Q....Korean prisons are now fuller of political prisoners than under Japanese rule. The torture and murder of the political enemies of the Extreme Right is apparently an accepted and commonplace thing.'..."
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