ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on March 21st, 2008 at 11:05 am

Koreans Who Mattered: Syngman Rhee

Syngman Rhee is most famously known in Korea as being the first President of the fledgling Republic of Korea and lead his nation through the disastrous Korean War.  Despite being the first president of the ROK Syngman Rhee actually led a life with many other notable achievements as well as plenty of controversy.

Syngman Rhee was born the son of a not to wealthy Yangban family in North Korea in 1875.  Rhee was a smart and dedicated student in his youth and developed a keen interest in the west when blindness in his eyes due to a small pox infection that was cured by prominent protestant missionary Horace Allen.  Rhee would later go on and become part of a coup attempt to dethrone a pro-Japanese installed government in Korea.  His part in the coup attempt would land him a six year jail term in 1897 that included horrible living conditions and many beatings.  It would be in prison that Rhee would convert to Christianity and his religion would be something that would follow him the rest of his life.  When released from jail he would move to the United States to study.

He would later be recruited by the Korean government in 1905 to lobby American President Theodore Roosevelt to advocate for Korean independence from the Japanese under the guise of the 1883 Jemulpo Agreement that stated that the United States would show “good offices” in regards to aiding Korea.  Rhee tried to exert that “good offices” was a defensive pact which it clearly was not.  Roosevelt politely dismissed Rhee and even commented that “he could not do for the Koreans what they were utterly unable to do for themselves”.  Later that year the Treaty of Portsmouth would be signed and Korea would officially become part of the Imperial Japanese Empire.

Rhee would stay in the United States during the Japanese colonization of Korea and attend college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree from George Washington, a master’s degree from Harvard, and finally a doctorate’s degree in Political Science from Princeton.  It is quite possible that Rhee was the most highly educate Korean of his time.  The President of Princeton at the time of Rhee’s attendance was a man by the name of Woodrow Wilson who took a liking to Rhee and would often invite him to dinner parties.  Through connections through both Wilson and the American Christian community Rhee had the ear of many important American political leaders as well as other influential leaders in the Chinese Nationalist movement.  .


32 year old Rhee after graduating from Princeton.

In 1910 Rhee would return to Korea but would eventually leave a little over a year later due to a crackdown on dissent by the occupying Japanese.  He left Korea and immigrated to Hawaii where he worked as the head of a Methodist school.  In 1912 Rhee would have high hopes that help for Korean independence would come when his old mentor Woodrow Wilson was elected as the President of the United States.  However, with the responsibilities that comes with being the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson did not want to be complicated with any hostilities with the Japanese over Korea, especially with the outbreak of World War I.

With the end of World War I and the scheduling of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 that would establish the League of Nations, Rhee saw his chance to advance the cause of Korean independence.  So before the conference Rhee would help form the Korean Provisional Government in Exile and was elected as the body’s first President.  Since the Japanese had chosen to ally with the allies during the war during the conference they were allowed to keep their colonial possessions just like the rest of the allied powers.  Rhee on the other hand could not even attend the conference because the US State Department would not authorize Rhee to receive a passport.  Rhee would go on later to be impeached for corruption and abuses of power by the Provisional Government in 1925, which like his religion was a trait that would follow him around the rest of his life.

After being impeached Rhee was widely discarded by all his prior political friends and lived a much quieter life in Hawaii.  In 1934 at the age of 60 he would go on to marry the Austrian born 34 year old Francisca Donner and they would adopt a son:


Rhee with his wife Francisca Donner seated next to him.

Rhee would continue to live in Hawaii and probably would have never been heard from again if it wasn’t for the over reach of the Imperial Japanese military by declaring war against the United States.  After the Japanese defeat in World War II General Douglas MacArthur asked Chinese strongman Chiang Kai-shek who could best lead Korea and he recommended Syngman Rhee.  Rhee at the age of 71 returned to Korea aboard General MacArthur’s personal plane and became the temporary President of Korea until being formerly elected the President of the Republic of Korea in 1948.


Rhee taking his 1948 oath of office.

In his early years as President of the ROK Rhee worked hard to suppress any political challengers to his rule in the guise of clamping down on communist sympathizers.  At the same time Rhee continued to advocate for the reunification of the nation by force if necessary.  Rhee had waited all this years and suffered many hardships to be the President of all of Korea not just half of it.  Realizing Rhee’s ambitions to reunite the peninsula by force if necessary caused the US military to not field the Korean military with weapons that would give them a military edge over the North Koreans because of the fear Rhee would launch a offensive campaign against the North.  The US had just come out a bloody World War II battle and was not about to fight a major war in Asia to reunite Korea.


Rhee re-establishes the Korean government after Seoul is recaptured by the Americans from the North Koreans during the Korean War.

Ironically The US military’s policies would actually help lead to the war they tried to prevent because not fielding the South Korean military with better weapons actually caused the North Koreans to have too much of a military edge over the South that they quickly took advantage of and invaded the South in 1950.  During the Korean War Rhee would become an annoyance to the UN forces because of his rhetoric advocating for renewed offensive operations to reclaim North Korean lands after the entry of the Chinese into the Korean War.  After the entry of the Chinese into the war the US was no longer interested in fighting a war to reunite the peninsula because it could lead to a wider war that could include the Russian entry into the war.  The US fought to keep strategic terrain and began cease fire negotiations with the Chinese.  Rhee would continuously work against any cease fire agreements that the United States was trying to sign with the Chinese to end the war.

In July 1953 the cease fire agreement was signed officially ending the Korean War but Syngman Rhee refused to sign it leaving the United States to sign it in the name of the United Nations forces instead.  In the post-war years Rhee would continue to build his power base and ended winning his 1956 re-election campaign solely because of the mysterious death of his main rival Shin Ik-hee.  Rhee autocratic style would begin to wear thin with the Korean public during his last years in office that featured much political upheaval and massive student demonstrations.  Rhee’s final undoing was in 1960 when he tried to tamper with the election results that led to such large demonstrations that he was forced to resign at the age of 86.


Crowds celebrate on a army tank the 1960 resignation of Syngman Rhee.

After resigning Rhee would go into self imposed exile in Hawaii where he would die there five years later at the age of 91.  He was later buried in the National Cemetery in Seoul.  Rhee was a true Korean nationalist that did much for the cause of Korean independence, but was constantly hampered by his own autocratic tendencies and corruption failures that would follow him around his entire life.  His corruption and autocratic nature would cause Rhee to be the wrong man to lead the nation in the post-Korean War years that needed someone of great leadership abilities to unite the nation.  Rhee’s post-Korean War rule saw much turmoil in Korea that ultimately led to the 1961 military coup by Army General Park Chung-hee, which opened a whole another chapter in Korean history.

It is because of Rhee’s flaws that he never was able to live up to his promise of being the father of an independent Korean nation, but he should still be respected for his long service to the cause of Korean independence.

Tags: , ,
- 19,147 views
34
  • Kalani
    2:57 pm on March 21st, 2008 1

    Quibbling here. "Ironically The US military’s policies would actually help lead to the war they tried to prevent because not fielding the South Korean military with better weapons actually caused the North Koreans to have too much of a military edge over the South that they quickly took advantage of and invaded the South in 1950."

    Do not agree with this statement. When the Japanese left, they stacked their weapons and departed in an orderly manner — and there weapons were destroyede

    and in many cases, it was the Japanese that actually handled the dumping of their munitions while they waited repatriation. There was no ROK military to take its place so the Military Government under Gen Hodges came up with the plan to form the ROK Constabulary who were the forerunner to the ROK military. Many of the Koreans who were former Japanese officers — like Park Chung-hee — became part of the new leaders of the fledgling military. However, the ROK constabulary was a ragtag outfit and there was a lot of politics involved. Lots of tales of summary executions in the Constabulary's early days — including the open revolts supposedly led by communists. All Gen Hodges wanted was to get the hell out of Korea and wash his hands of the ROK. Though the Military Government set up the training schools for officers in Yongsan and set up the advisors out of ASCOM City (Bupyong) to get the Constabulary on its feet, in truth, very little was done. Rearming the constabulary was done with US arms (WWII surplus) and anything else they could scrounge — but at the same time, Syngman Rhee was on a anti-communist rampage and you ended up with the Cheju massacres during Hodge's watch. How much guns and ammunition would you have given to Rhee to continue his massacres of "communist" insurgents in the countryside? This is the dilemma that Hodges faced.

    Bottomline, the US wanted out of Korea and it was the line drawn by Dean Acheson that tipped the balance — the one that left the ROK on one side and Japan with the US on the other. This is what swayed Mao Tsetung and Stalin to give their secret approval to the North for the invasion south…along with the fact that most of the guerilla fighters from WWII settled in the North and gave the North the tough and experienced fighting machine at the start of the war.

    As a side note, I was a young boy in Hawaii when Rhee went into exile. He settled into Black Point — the millonaires' enclave and white oligarchy refuge on the opposite end of Waikiki Beach. He did not suffer in his multi-million dollar recluse — and there are still questions of how much loot he was able to cart off in the end. Lots of stories then about his adopted son — the suicides of his colleagues in Korea and all the mess that surrounded his departure. However, his legend survives in Hawaii and if you go there, the museum that is erected for the early independence holds Syngman Rhee (Yi Syng-man) in homage of minor god-like presence — unlike the way he's portrayed in Korea. Interesting after all these years how his legend is so different between the Korean-Americans of Hawaii and those Koreans in Korea. The story of his wife is another fascinating tale of someone who was so "Korean" in how she handled her role as his wife — and now buried alongside Rhee in the national cemetary.

    Lots of other quibbling points, but have to say that you took a tough time period of history and condensed it nicely to give an objective look at a controversial man and his time.

  • CPT KIM
    8:30 pm on March 21st, 2008 2

    If it wasn't for Rhee, who else in ROK leadership in the 40's has any influence in USG? Rhee was known person in DC area around State Dept. I am not sure if USG would have supported the ROKG under someone else whom they do not know about. Rhee was perfect candidate for leaders of new republic which USG helped establish. He spoke English, he has Ivy league PHD, he lived in states, he was devout Christian and he had support of USG. I can not think of any other person who would be more qualified than Rhee from USG point of view.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    10:23 pm on March 21st, 2008 3

    Kalani,

    Acheson drawing his line definitely did misguidedly tip off the communists that the US would not protect Korea. However the arms imbalance I'm referring to was in regards to anti-tank weapons. The North Koreans were stockpiled with tanks and the ROKs had nothing to fight them with. I think the US was smart not to give the ROKs tanks because Rhee might have been tempted to use them to attack the North.

    The arms imbalance was the cause of the war but it definitely helped it happen. Would Kim Il-sung still have attacked if the ROKs had a way of destroying his tanks? Probably but I don't think his forces would have taken Seoul in four days like they did.

    The arms imbalance extended all the way to Japan as well because the US soldiers stationed there who deployed to Korea had nothing to fight the NK tanks with either. It wasn't until the Battle of Taejon that General Dean's men in the 24ID received anti-tank weaponry but by then the NK military was well on its way to conquering most of the peninsula.

    General Hodges at first did try to do something with the ROK military but MacArthur could care less about the ROK. The only time MacArthur visited Korea was when Rhee was inaugurated as its first president. The ROK was an afterthought to both the US military and the American government which all led to the communists making the miscalculation that the US would not defend Korea.

    Next time I am in Oahu I will have to look for Rhee's museum. Where is it located? Also do you know if Rhee's adopted son is living in Hawaii or did he stay in the ROK? You are right that there are a lot of stories about his wife. So many in fact it is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction.

    CPT Kim,

    Chang Kai-shek also recommended Kim Gu but preferred Rhee probably because Rhee was highly involved with the Chinese Nationalist lobby in the US and Rhee was as corrupt as he was. Gu was assassinated in 1949 possibly by the Rhee faction. There is a lot not to like about Rhee but he undoubtedly was committed to Korean independence.

  • Places in Korea: Syngman Rhee’s Hwajinpo Summer Home
    5:14 pm on March 22nd, 2008 4

    [...] visiting for anyone traveling in the northeast Gangwon-do area of South Korea is the summer home of Korea’s first president Syngman Rhee.  The summer residence is located along the shores of the scenic Hwajinpo Lake.  In the below [...]

  • Kalani
    3:55 am on March 22nd, 2008 5

    The tales of the heroics of the Korean soldiers during the initial onslaught of throwing themselves under the DPRK tanks with explosives (mostly handgrenades) are well-documented. Unfortunately, they were heroics without effect. But consider this.

    The Koreans used by the Japanese during WWII were primarily prison guards or in labor battalions. Do you really think you can build a tank battalion with these "unskilled" military types? It takes a lot more years before a mechanized unit can be formed.

    Second, the state of the anti-tank weaponry left over from WWII left much to be desired. Would they have helped the ROK? Nope. Proof lies in the Task Force Smith troops whose bazooka rounds simply bounced off the DPRK tanks — or were duds.

    Though the ROK generals actually believed they could win in a fight with the North, there was no way they could have stopped the intial 150 T-34s the North had in 1950 without armor or anti-tank weapons. But as I said, the training of ditch-diggers in tactics to be tank drivers takes more than a few years and the anti-tank weapons they would have gotten as shown by Task Force Smith were useless against the T-34s.

    As to the museum when I stopped by in 2003 they were just setting up some exhibits. It was up in Nuuanu.

    As to the adopted son, he was at Rhee's bedside when he died, but simply disappeared from public view after that. Don't know what happened to him. Maybe he's living off the interest of the 20 million that Rhee was supposed to have siphoned off from the government.

  • CPT KIM
    4:43 am on March 22nd, 2008 6

    FYI,

    American University in DC will build statue of Rhee in their Korea garden where former AU President Douglas and Rhee planted the Cherry Tree together back in 1943. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/20080

  • Gusts Of Popular Feeling: April 2008
    6:36 pm on April 8th, 2008 7

    [...] about a statue of Korea’s first president being left to rust. It doesn’t make the sound point that GI Korea makes, that Rhee ought to be remembered for his efforts in Korea’s independence movement, (some of which [...]

  • ROK Drop Weekly Linklets - 20APR08
    10:45 am on April 20th, 2008 8

    [...] – This week is the 28th anniversary of the uprising that brought down the first Korean President Syngman Rhee. – Interesting look at all the different names Kim Jong-il has been called over the years. – [...]

  • Rehashing Korean War Era Executions
    10:18 pm on May 20th, 2008 9

    [...] Kim Il-sung launched the invasion not out of aggression but to help guerrillas uprising against Syngman Rhee’s autocratic regime. If the US would not have intervened Kim Il-sung could have consolidated the peninsula into one [...]

  • Flip
    2:13 am on July 13th, 2008 10

    Syngman Rhee was a corrupt politician who worked for his own egotistical interests more than for the people of Korea. From the time he came to California during the Durham White Stevens assasination trial to the day he was toppled by the Student Demonstrations in 1960's Rhee caused more trouble than providing good leadership. His corrupt leadership during the Korean Provisional Government and Independence Movement and during his US puppet presidency of Korea after the end of WWII are two reasons Korea is divided today. Anyone who views Rhee as a man to be honored should study Korean and Korean American history more thoroughly. Rhee showed McCarthy how to create McCarthyism. The truth about Rhee should be told by Korean scholars.

  • Cpt KIM
    4:37 am on July 13th, 2008 11

    GI,

    FYI, According to COL YoungOak Kim's new biography, “YoungWoong (Hero) Kim YoungOak”

    http://www.ypbooks.co.kr/ypbooks/WebHome/specdm/s

    his father was the Chapter president of the Korean National Association (KNA) in LA. KNA was the Pro-Rhee faction of Anti-Japanese movement in US. The other was Pro-Ahn Changho faction. Rhee even stayed at COL Kim's house whenever he visited LA.

    Due to urging of his mother, when COL Kim deployed to Korea in 1951, he visited Rhee at the Temporary Presidential Residence in Busan and spent 4 hours with the ROK President in the middle of the war. (COL Kim was only CPT back then.)

  • Flip
    1:35 am on July 14th, 2008 12

    Cpt Kim wrote KNA (Korean National Association) was pro-Rhee. If that is in Col. Kim's book whomever wrote that gets an F in Korean history. I worked with Colonel Kim for a few years. His family was Donjihoe and anti-KNA. Kim was not pro-Ahn Chang Ho he was definitely pro-Rhee. Colonel Kim new his own history but new very litle about Korean history. Rhee reported the KNA was a Bolshevik Communist organization to the US Government in 1924. Rhee banned many KNA members from returning or visiting Korea after 1945. Rhee was the worst person to be president of Korea. Truman and the US Government wanted him as their puppet and he definitely was.

  • Cpt KIM
    4:27 am on July 14th, 2008 13

    Flip,

    There was no English translation of the organization in the book. So I just transliterated the organization name. BTW, have you read the book?

    Did you work with COL Kim in the Army or one of his Charity Organzations? I really like to hear from a person who knew him personally.

  • Flip
    4:42 am on July 14th, 2008 14

    Cpt Kim,

    My mom grew up near Colonel Kim and knew his family. I worked with him in the KA community for about ten years. He was a good man and a good soldier. I read parts of the book but my Korean is not good enough to read the whole book word for word. Korean American history is poorly understood and poorly taught both in the US and in Korea. Most books are plagued by faulty information presented by questionable scholars. You have to be careful of what you read in both Korean and English. It's too bad Colonel Kim's book is not in English. It a story many people would be impressed by. I hope Koreans read it and learned about Colonel Kim's sacrifice for both countries. It is a shame his family was duped by Syngman Rhee.

  • GI Korea
    5:03 am on July 14th, 2008 15

    Flip I don't see anyone on this thread "honoring" Rhee. Everyone hear is highly critical of him but there is not doubt he was committed to Korean independence which was about his most positive character trait.

    As CPT Kim points out in this thread Rhee was the perfect candidate for president from the US perspective. I recommend you read The Coldest Winter which goes into some detail the variety of relationships Rhee had within the US government.

    I can agree that the US wanted Rhee to be a puppet of the US but the problem was that he wasn't and he pretty much had a free hand in Korea before the war because McArthur had no interest in Korea and was consumed with administering Japan.

    Even during the war Rhee did things contrary to what the US wanted such as letting the NK POWs go and Rhee wouldn't even sign the armistice agreement and continually advocated to invade North Korea.

  • Cpt KIM
    6:57 am on July 14th, 2008 16

    Flip,

    Do you know if there are any other books written about COL Kim? Prior to reading the biography, I only read news articles about him. He never wrote his own auto-biography. According to the book, he rejected every request by writers who wanted to write about him. Then the author of his biography finally able to convince him in 2002 and he finally consented for him write about his life.

    GI, I apolosized for making this forum into COL Kim's life instead of Rhee. Maybe you should have segment about COL Kim as the hero of the Korean War.

  • Bones
    7:24 am on July 14th, 2008 17

    Flip what do you know about GEN. Beck Soon Yup and his brother.

  • Flip
    7:34 am on July 14th, 2008 18

    I responded to another subject the Taft Katusra section and got a rude reply from GI. He just wants to argue and promote himself as a know it all. He is an idiot with too much time on his hands.

    His comment about Rhee and the Indepedence Movement is enough to let me know he isn't as informed as he claims. Enough said…

    Sorry, I am no longer contibuting anything to this site. Send your questions to the know it all GI.

  • shattered
    8:02 am on July 14th, 2008 19

    "Sorry, I am no longer contibuting anything to this site. "

    You didnt contribute in the first place.

    "Truman and the US Government wanted him as their puppet and he definitely was."

    He was hardly a puppet. Koreans make this claim about every Korean president.

    "He just wants to argue and promote himself as a know it all. He is an idiot with too much time on his hands. "

    You are trying to promote some loony korean nationalism. No thanks.

  • Flip
    8:20 am on July 14th, 2008 20

    Shattered,

    You picked a good name. During a meeting about Korea with Truman a memo from MacArthur came complaining the Rhee was a son of a bitch. Truman's response was "Don't worry he is our son of a bitch." My mom was the first Korean American Naval Officer assigned to Navy Intelligence in Washington DC, and worked at NSA afterwards, was in that meeting. I believe what I know is not looney Korean nationalism. I am Korean American and Irish American born in a US Navy hospital and believe Koreans and Americans have misguided perspectives on what happened in Korea and what is happening today. Your response is another sign that this site is a waste of time except for giving you another hoop to jump through. So you're are trying to promote what? Ignorance…

  • shattered
    8:29 am on July 14th, 2008 21

    "So you’re are trying to promote what? "

    Truth. I promote truth, about Korea.

    "Truman’s response was “Don’t worry he is our son of a bitch.” "

    You are a simpleton. This statement did not make Rhee a puppet. Look what Korea got and how Rhee manipulated the USA.

    "My mom was the first Korean American Naval Officer assigned to Navy Intelligence in Washington DC, and worked at NSA afterwards"

    Robert Kim had a security clearance too.

    "believe Koreans and Americans have misguided perspectives on what happened in Korea and what is happening today. "

    Yes, Americans have no idea how much Korea takes from the USA and how much Koreans hate the USA.

  • Cpt KIM
    9:02 am on July 14th, 2008 22

    Flip,

    or shoulde I call you Mr. Philip Cuddy?

    You sound like you are grandson of Ahn Changho, nephew of Phillip Ahn, and son of Susan Ahn Cuddy.

    http://www.susanahncuddy.com/biographyandlinks.ht

    In the COL Kim's bio book, his father attended the Dosan's funeral as a representive of Rhee.

    BTW, did you attend the Obama support rally with your mother?

    Didn't you wrote a piece in Koream Journal about your Grandfather's foundation?

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    10:15 am on July 14th, 2008 23

    Flip for whatever reason said I made a rude reply to him for whatever reason even though I didn't and he is here calling me an idiot.

    For someone that wants to advocate for certain historical points you sure are not willing to debate and defend them.

  • shattered
    1:01 pm on July 14th, 2008 24

    Dosan Ahn Chang Ho=Terrorist.

    It makes me sick the way people like Yasser Arafat and Ahn Chang Ho twist history and now claim to be heros.

    Some Dosan facts:

    Do san is his nickname, and "do san" means crap or poo moutain.

    He was born in Pyongyang, and as a North Korean he is celebrated in the south by lefties.

    He lived to a ripe age past 60 (very rare in those days when the average Korean life span was between 24 and 42)

  • George
    8:07 pm on July 14th, 2008 25

    Dosan means Island Mountain not definition posted. He is celebrated for his patriotism by both North and South. He is lucky to live to be 60 after Japanese prisons five times. He died few weeks after being released from Sodaemun prison. It unfortunate to have a post information that is so far from truth.

  • carl hungus
    2:35 am on August 5th, 2008 26

    I agree George, you did post information that is far from the truth.

    He's celebrated by commies north and south. Let's make that distinction.

  • Heroes of the Korean War: LTC Young-oak Kim
    9:04 am on November 11th, 2008 27

    [...] dad was a member of the Hawaii based Dahanin-dongjihwe or the Great Korean Association headed by South Korean exile Syngman Rhee.  The association advocated for the independence of South Korea from the nation’s Japanese [...]

  • Korean_101
    4:24 am on February 11th, 2009 28

    It looks like Syngman Rhee was a good, guy, although he had some major flaws.

  • A quite adventure in Gangwondo so far… « The Wrong Way Home
    10:28 am on May 28th, 2010 29

    [...] located near the summer villa of South Korea’s first President and arch enemyof the Kim family, Syngman Rhee.  Both of these homes are definitely worth checking out if in the area.  Without a doubt Kim’s [...]

  • john
    3:23 am on June 11th, 2010 30

    In a way, SK was lucky to have Syngman Rhee as the 1st president of ROK. The Korean war could've gone differently if President Rhee didn't exist.

  • arthur
    9:48 am on May 14th, 2012 31

    :razz:

  • Lee
    11:41 am on October 3rd, 2012 32

    President must be the greatest Korean who has ever made Korean history. Without him, there would have never been free Korea, the Republic of Korea. South Koreans are reallly lucky to have him still live at the time of independance from Japan and make a new republic.

  • hi
    9:46 am on May 12th, 2013 33

    puke puke

  • AAA
    5:07 pm on August 27th, 2014 34

    Also here’s a point to consider: Syngman Rhee was very old when he entered into office and relied on other members of his political party to manage the country. However, many of the officials were corrupt and as a result, placed Syngman Rhee as the head of a corrupt government.

    What I find a bit unnerving is this man contributed much to South Korea as a nation, and without his strong anti-communist stance as well as his suppression of other opponents, who knows what South Korea would be now? It’s fine to know the faults of a government, but to brand and pin it on one man is something that I believe historians portray incorrectly.

    Although at first glance, Syngman Rhee may seem responsible for these issues, one should also consider the underlying facts and details before judging.

    My opinion may be biased, coming from a Korean teenager, but I strongly hope others may see Syngman Rhee not as a person to pin the issues of corruption and authoritarian tactics on, but rather as the benefactor and founding father of South Korea. Without his anti-communist stance, much of Korea would be in turmoil, sharing the effects of a communist regime. Proof of this is just located above South Korea. And a distanced relationship with the US or Japan? Just imagine the devastating effect it would have had on South Korea’s economy!

    It’s a pretty clear case, comparing two Koreas; one “communist” and the other democratic and western. We have Syngman Rhee to thank for this outcome of having part of a Korea that stands and holds strong and maintains a strong international holding and good reputation rather than a whole Korean peninsula engulfed in a malignant one-man-state-rule.

    Of course a government, especially the first, has issues, but lets not pin it on one man, but rather cherish what he contributed and not judge to harshly.

    Thanks for reading :)

 

RSS feed for comments on this post | TrackBack URI

By submitting a comment here you grant this site a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution.

Bad Behavior has blocked 57392 access attempts in the last 7 days.