Sunday, April 14, 2013

Revisiting History of Korea Again--Part 3

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:

"In the Soviet zone...broadly popular social and economic reforms were implemented, including the purge of Japanese collaborators, land reform, the emancipation of women, and the transfer to public ownership of all Japanese assets...

"Widespread discontent...exploded on the island of Cheju, off [South] Korea's southern coast [in 1948-49]. As a result, between 10 and 25 percent of its 300,000 inhabitants were massacred, more than half of their villages burned, and the panoply of anti-guerrilla measures later developed to the full in Vietnam--herding of the population into strategic hamlets or fortified villages, destruction of crops, scorched earth, slaughter of villagers--put into operation...

"...Syngman Rhee...launched cross-border raids in 1949 to test Northern defenses...Stalin gave his consent to the invasion plans [of North Korean government leader Kim] only reluctantly, after forty-eight telegraphic pleas from Kim...

"...Through early 1950...Rhee grew even more strident in his calls for a `march' north to unify the country and his forces stepped up raids..."

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