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Republic of Korea
ROKmap
ROKFlag
Country
Continent: Asia
Capital: Seoul
National Language: Korean
Government: Unitary presidential

constitutional republic

Status in OTL: Active

The Republic of Korea (Korean, 대한민국) colloquially known as South Korea, is the government of the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the island of Jeju off the peninsula's southern tip.

The government traces its historical origins to the provisional government-in-exile organized by the signers of the Korean Declaration of Independence, which was proclaimed on March 1, 1919. The government-in-exile was based mainly in Shanghai until that city fell during the Second Sino-Japanese War, at which point the government moved to Chongqing. The ROK government was firmly on the side of the Allied Forces throughout World War II, and in the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the leaders of the Big Three Allied governments recognized the ROK as the only legitimate Korean government and affirmed their support for installing it in power over the entire peninsula after Japanese forces were repelled from Korean territory.

However, once the Japanese were defeated in 1945, the peninsula was partitioned along the 38th parallel, with American martial law being temporarily enforced south of that latitude and Soviet martial law to the north. With the support of the United States, the Republic of Korea was established in 1948, but only south of the 38th Parallel; the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was set up north of that line.

The two Koreas fought a war from 1950-1953. In the early months, South Korea was badly unprepared as a result of extreme reluctance on the part of the United States to equip the ROK's armed forces, and the Republic very nearly fell to the much better-equipped, Soviet-backed DPRK. However, that summer the United Nations Security Council unanimously (with the USSR boycotting the Council's meetings) passed Resolution 83, which supported South Korea against Northern aggression and authorized the creation of a multinational force to repel the invasion. In early September, US-led amphibious operations against the occupied port city of Incheon forced the North to retreat, and over that autumn, UN forces plunged deep into DPRK territory. Intervention by the People's Republic of China forced UN forces south of the 38th Parallel, and by the end of 1950 the war had become a stalemate, which it more or less continued to be until a ceasefire was signed in 1953. (As of 2015, an official peace treaty has never been ratified.)

Throughout the rest of the 1950s, South Korea suffered from economic underperformance and rampant political corruption. Both were ameliorated by a military coup launched in 1962, but at the expense of a severe crackdown on civil liberties. The 1970s were marked by periods of often violent pro-democracy demonstrations and crackdowns thereon, as well as rapid economic growth. By the early- to mid-1980s, the Korean government had largely liberalized. Today the ROK is widely considered to be a modern, developed industrial democracy,

South Korea in The Hot War

North Korea's invasion of South Korea in 1950 became the catalyst for World War III. While North Korean forces managed to drive far into South Korean territory in its initial surprise attack, UN forces, under the command of U.S. general Douglas MacArthur, had succeeded in pushing the North Koreans back, and had even driven up towards the Chinese border.[1] However, in November, 1950, Chinese troops cross the Yalu River and came to Kim Il-sung's aid. In late November, the Chinese forces thoroughly destroyed three divisions of American forces between the Chosin Reservoir and Hungnam.[2] Red forces recaptured Seoul in December.[3]

In response, the United States used atomic weapons in Manchuria on January, 1951.[4] The Soviet Union, China and North Korea's ally, attacked Britain, France, and West Germany, and in short order, World War III was underway.[5]

With China's help, Kim's forces were able to move south again, with the Korean War looking more and more like World War I. Nonetheless, the U.S. military was able to deliver a regiment's worth of Pershing tanks in advance of an attack near Chongju. The battle proved to be a success for the UN.[6] Another engagement in April saw U.S. infantry forces hold back a column of T-34s until air support could do enough damage to force a retreat.[7] In April, 1951, the U.S. launched a substantial bombing raid on Kim's capital, Pyongyang, in a failed effort to kill Kim himself. That same night, communist forces destroyed a key U.S. airfield outside Pusan.[8] After that event, the war quieted down, with both sides blaring propaganda at each other over loudspeakers.[9]

This article or subsection is a stub because the work is part of a larger, as-of-yet incomplete series.

References

  1. Bombs Away, see, eg., pg. 7, ebook.
  2. Ibid, pg. 5, ebook.
  3. Ibid.,pg. 39.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 55-57.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 65-70.
  6. Ibid., pg. 204-205.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 273-277.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 283-287.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 311-315.

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