South Korean Cultural Ecology - 1905 to 1990 - Part 2: "Change to the Industrial Society" - Page 8
A. Government Leadership Changes
After the Korean War, serious economic, social, and political problems began to beset the nation. Syngman Rhee had outlived his usefulness and resisted democratic reforms. In 1961 the estimates were 279,000 unemployed, including 72,000 university graduates, and 51,000 discharged soldiers. Rhee tried to rig the elections of 1960 and riots broke out. Rhee was quickly replaced by the Second Republic but they were unqualified to run the government and riots broke out again. In 1961 Major General Park Chug He took over the government by military force to establish the Third Republic. Park then won the elections in 1967 and again in 1971.
Park brought political and economic stability to the nation. In 1972 a new constitution was approved and the Fourth Republic began with Park still at the helm. In 1979 Park was assassinated and General Chin Do Wan took over the presidency. In 1980 a new constitution was approved and with Chin at the head the Fifth Republic began. In February of 1993, the first non-military government was elected. The new government has many problems.
B. Economic Recovery Plan
How was Korea able to turn into one of the mini-dragons in the Far East? They took some shortcuts to get there. The nation, with its Confucian ethics, allowed a series of military dictatorships to run the country with a firm hand and a minimum of civil liberties. Korea's miracle was paid for with a price. It was bought with the sacrifice of low paid workers. It was bought with the cost of a number of Government dictatorships and martial law. It was bought with the cost of giant conglomerates that dominate Korea's land and wealth. Korea succeeded in the past because the people gave the government the power to enforce its policies so Korea could succeed.On to Page 9 Back to Page 7 Back to Outline Page Back to South Korean Choice Page