This is a time many in the world remember. We have many older men in America who are veterans of the war that ended this and the war that ensued because many in the world who weren’t even Korean fought for the independence of Korea. The occupation last from 1910 to 1945. Japan had finally conquered Korea after so many tries. Japan truly thought Korea was supposed to be part of them, but Korea and the rest of the world had a completely different idea. The Koreans didn’t give up easily even though they had been conquered and the Japanese moved in.
The Koreans began organizing independence and Democracy movements as early as 1919, and still another one in 1926. The Koreans just wouldn’t give up. They just couldn’t put up with Japan in control. The Japanese wouldn’t let them speak Korean in their own country. Everyone had to learn to speak Japanese. The Japanese soldiers used some of the Korean women as “comfort women.” They turned them into prostitutes whether the women wanted to or not. Korea has really never really forgotten this indignity that Japanese soldiers forced on some of their women. Just a few years ago, I saw on the news where the Japanese were still apologizing and trying to make reparations for this. One day, they will just have to call it history, realize the people who did it are no longer alive, and go on.
If you look back through my blogs, you will find a blog I did about a catholic church in Myeong Dong. The people in the independence movement met in that court yard around that Catholic church where I walked and was taking pictures for you.
The Koreans set their government up over in Shanghai, China in 1919. The Koreans organized and trained the Korean Independence Army in Manchuria and Yeon-hae-ju. The Korean government that was set up in Shanghai led the independence movements in Korea.
Finally, war came to Korea. There was an extreme amount of American soldiers sent to help Korea throw Japan out, and there were also soldiers from other countries here. Christianity had already come to Korea, but when the American soldiers came, many of them were Christians, and it was a time that Christianity grew rapidly in Korea because of the American soldiers. The Koreans learned to love the Americans! The Americans were fighting for their freedom and talking about God, exactly what Korea needed. You can go to parks around Korea and see statues of American generals.
Most of us have seen the popular television show “Mash.” The Korean war actually took place after World War II, but yes, the portrayal of Korea in Mash was real. The streets were dirt, and the people were poor. The large busy highways that we see today in S. Korea didn’t exist. Seoul was the capital city, but even it was full of dirt roads. The Koreans were still wearing hanboks, their traditional clothing, and living in hanoaks, the traditional Korean houses. They were mainly an agricultural society. There were no high rise apartments that you see now. They were not the electronics hub that they have become since the Korean war. At this time, the Koreans were the poorest country in the world.
Finally, on August 15, 1945, the Allied Forces in Korea declared victory. World War II ended, and Japanese rule was abolished in Korea. Korea’s right as an independent nation was restored. The Japanese had to go home.
However, the Koreans were left with a souvenir that they still lament. When they were signing papers and trying to finish everything, part of Korea wanted Democracy, and part of it didn’t. The Russians were influencing part of them to want Communism. You see, many in the world thought the solution to poverty was Communism. They thought ti was also the solution to class differences. In 1948, a Democratic election was held in the southern part of Korea. A new constitution was drafted. Yi Seung-man was elected the first president of the southern part of Korea.
In the northern part of Korea, another government formed headed by Kim Il-seong, a Communist. The Democratic nations had influenced the south, but Russia had influenced the north. On June 15, 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea, and the Korean war began. The United Nations stepped in to help South Korea, and again many America soldiers were sent to S. Korea to help. The Japanese were gone, but there was still war on the Korean Peninsula.
This is where I will end this blog so it won’t get too long, but I am coming close to the end of Korean history. The next blog about Korean history will be my last blog about Korean history, and I will have to find other interesting things for you. Some suggested I blog about the ancient history that I know about other countries too, and I have begun. However, my blog is not just about ancient history, but about many things, and I am living in Korea. You will always get Korean blogs as long as I am here in Korea. Sol Nal is coming, and you will be seeing some blogs about that soon.
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