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Nation Building in South KoreaKoreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy$
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Gregg A. Brazinsky

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831205

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867792_brazinsky

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Security over Democracy

Security over Democracy

(p.13) 1 Security over Democracy
Nation Building in South Korea

John Lewis Gaddis

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the United States' state building in South Korea that began in 1945, when it occupied southern Korea and sought to secure it against Communism and social revolution. It describes American efforts to establish an anti-Communist bulwark on the Korean peninsula by supporting the creation of a separate South Korean state in 1948, defending it in a three-year war with North Korea between 1950 and 1953, and propping up its shattered economy when the Korean War ended. The chapter also considers U.S. political support for the conservative nationalist Syngman Rhee, despite his indifference to development and democracy, throughout this period in the name of security. It suggests that the United States inadvertently helped strengthen Rhee's authoritarianism by giving him hefty military and economic aid.

Keywords:   state building, South Korea, security, Communism, North Korea, Korean War, Syngman Rhee, democracy, United States, authoritarianism

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