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Korean Partition: How did it happen .......... ? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2010-11-30 10:37:42 |Display all floors
Without question, the Joint Commission negotiations offered the best opportunity to reunite Korea following World War II.[50] Soviet documents seriously undermine the argument that Moscow was responsible for the deadlock perpetuating Korea's division. The emerging postwar Soviet-American rift caused the United States to be pessimistic about the chances for successful implementation of the Moscow Agreement.[51]

Significantly, the Truman Administration was in fact preparing in late January 1946 to carry out a program of "Koreanization" south of the 38th parallel.[52] After agreeing that Korea required a period of preparation before regaining its sovereignty, Washington also signaled before the Joint Commission even convened that it no longer wanted a trusteeship. Throughout the negotiations, the Soviets maintained the reasonable position that implementing the Moscow Agreement would be impossible unless those Koreans who served in a provisional government demonstrated support for trusteeship.

Far worse for the Truman Administration was the knowledge that since "the southern political structure includes almost equally left . . . and moderate-rightists," the United States would "either have to nominate an unrepresentative slate for the south or expect its being outnumbered by [the] combined strength of North and South controlled groups."[53]

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Post time 2010-11-30 10:38:58 |Display all floors
Negotiations at the Joint Commission adjourned in May 1946 when the United States refused to disqualify for consultation the Korean parties that belonged to the "Anti-Trusteeship Committee." Talks resumed a year later after Washington and Moscow agreed to exclude any party or group that "fomented or instigated" active opposition to the Moscow Agreement.[54]

During June 1947, Koreans submitted questionnaires providing input on the composition of a provisional government. The result revealed that most Koreans now accepted trusteeship as the price for reunification, except for followers of Rhee and Kim Ku. In the north, three parties and 35 social organizations, representing about 13 million people, filed for consultation.

In the south, over 400 parties registered and claimed an incredible total membership exceeding 62 million--three times more than southern Korea's entire population. Slightly more than half of the respondents were conservatives.

The right was primarily responsible for the inflated figures, since two thirds of the groups registered were conservative. If the Joint Commission disqualified only a small number of rightist parties, a leftist majority was certain.[55]

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Post time 2010-11-30 10:39:35 |Display all floors

Hmmmm ............... ! 62,000,000 ..........

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Post time 2010-11-30 10:40:00 |Display all floors
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Post time 2010-11-30 10:40:52 |Display all floors
Since World War II, Rhee, Kim Ku, and their allies had been openly and virulently anti-Soviet. Security concerns were behind Moscow's persistent demand for the exclusion of the eight parties belonging to the "Anti-Trusteeship Committee." Further attempts to reunite Korea at the Joint Commission were pointless after the United States refused to approve disqualification of any group.[56]

Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, the US occupation commander, defended Washington's behavior, declaring, in reference to the communists, that "we do not intend to stand by and see a minority group of a self-interested venal segment of people impose their shoddy power" on Korea.[57]

But this would have been the probable outcome, if the Soviet Union had "grudgingly" dropped (a course of action Van Ree argues Moscow should have followed) its demand for exclusion of the extreme right.[58]

Even Hodge admitted that "Rhee's activities . . . are comparable to those of Al Capone in Chicago."[59] The United States faced a painful dilemma because the situation in Korea contradicted a basic American assumption.

It appeared that if the people had a truly free choice, there was no guarantee that a majority would elect to follow the US model for social, political, and economic development.[60]

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Post time 2010-11-30 10:41:50 |Display all floors
During 1948, the Soviet Union and the United States sponsored respectively the creation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. Half the peninsula evidently was enough to satisfy each power's security needs. As one US journalist wrote, it was "better to have the division between the Communists and freedom drawn in Korea rather than, say, between North and South Dakota or at the Mississippi."[61]

And the Soviets viewed the 38th parallel as preferable to the Tumen River--the border between Korea and the Russian Maritime Provinces. Both sides opted for a "nation-building" strategy. The United States would  its brand of democracy in the south, while the Soviet Union had Kim Il-sung to impose his version of communism in the north. At first, Moscow seemed to have the advantage, especially following the Yosu-Sunchon rebellion in October 1948, which saw large numbers of South Koreans join a communist uprising against the Rhee government.

But by the spring of 1950, South Korea was experiencing economic recovery, its army had crushed guerrilla insurgents, and elections had swept Rhee's supporters out of the legislature, replacing them with his leading critics.[62]

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Post time 2010-11-30 10:43:06 |Display all floors
Both the United States and the Soviet Union were willing to be patient, awaiting the collapse of its rival's Korean client, rather than promoting a resort to force that risked a wider war. But the border clashes during 1948 and 1949 at the 38th parallel showed that the two Koreas already were waging a civil conflict, although Kim Il-sung's resort to conventional warfare on 25 June 1950 marked a clear change in the nature of the contest.

Several factors contributed to Pyongyang's decision, but all suggest that Truman's containment policy was beginning to experience success. Stalin later would blame North Korea's failure to reunite the peninsula on Kim Il-sung's inability to destabilize the Rhee regime.[63]

Significantly, the United States proposed in May 1950 a sizable increase in military aid to the ROK, which meant that delay would raise the odds against North Korea's conquest of the south. At the time, Dulles speculated that Stalin had ordered North Korea to attack because he could not tolerate the survival of this "promising experiment in democracy" in East Asia.[64]

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