Most of us love the Korean movies we watch, and the beautiful architectural masterpieces we see.
But what about looking at Korea from it’s humble beginning and appreciate the growth so far?
I think the Korean Peninsula had always experienced invasions as it was common in those days, however, it is paramount to begin from the Japanese invasions.
The Japanese invasions to Korea began in 1592, a brief truce in 1596 and a second invasion in 1597.
From 1910 – 1945, the Japanese colonized the Koreans which was quite harsh.
1. The Koreans were not allowed to use their names,
2. Speak their language and
3. their women were made “Comfort women”
The Japanese surrendered to the Allies on August 15, 1945 which ended World War II. Read More:(http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/main_pop/kpct/kp_koreaimperialism.htm)
Then, Korea was partitioned after the Second World War.
The area north of a dividing line in the middle of the country – known as the 38th Parallel – fell under Soviet control, whilst the region to the south came under US influence.
Following growing tensions between the two, a North Korean army crossed the 38th Parallel on 25 June 1950 and swiftly advanced south.
The United Nations sent an international force, led by the Americans, to fight with South Korea.
After initial success, the UN forces retreated in the face of Chinese support for the north.
The situation developed into a war of attrition until an armistice was signed in July 1953.
The Korean War impacted considerably on the civilian population.
Around 2.5 million people were casualties of the violence.
It has been referred to as the ‘Forgotten War’, but substantial numbers of military personnel from 16 UN nations– including the US, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada – fought as part of the UN Force.
It is unknown exactly how many people lost their lives during the conflict, the first military action of the Cold War.
The War was savage and destructive. Within a year of its outbreak, Seoul had changed hands four times and was in ruins.
By the end of the War in 1953, the capital’s pre-war population of 1.5 million was down to 200,000, with people suffering from chronic and severe food shortages.
The rest of the country fared no better. Beside the unimaginable toll on human lives, whatever meager infrastructure there had been simply no longer was.
Sixty years later, the whole country is bursting with pride, as Korea successfully wins a bid to export a nuclear power plant to the United Arab Emirates, and as we stand to chair the 2010 G20 Seoul Summit and host the Nuclear Security Summit in 2012 and much more achievements after that.
Starting from no capital, no infrastructure, and little human resources, we have come a very long way indeed. From a per capita income of 67 U.S. dollars at the end of the War, we attained 20,000 dollars in 2007, and total GDP grew 745 times during that time. Much of this was achieved through our own efforts and sacrifices.
(From a former professor of Economics- South Korea)
I think, South Korea stands at a Model to Nations today. Not only as a model, but as an inspiration to anyone who desires to build a meaning out of life.
I fell for this Korea because, they had plenty times of sets backs but amidst their setbacks they fought for their identity, country and their future.
Today, South Korea has earned a name in the world.