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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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Institution Building the Military

Institution Building the Military

(p.71) 3 Institution Building the Military
Nation Building in South Korea

John Lewis Gaddis

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines how the United States, through its assistance and training programs, built South Korea's military into a powerful political force that was destined to govern the country. It shows how a formidable South Korean army composed of nationalistic officers, highly trained to carry out complex technical and logistical operations, paved the way for military government. The chapter first traces the origins of the South Korean army and its first officers before turning to the Korean War and the Americanization of military education and training. It then discusses U.S. efforts to involve the South Korean military in “civic action” missions during the regime of Syngman Rhee, including irrigation and land-reclamation projects, as well as forest conservation and disaster relief. The chapter suggests that these undertakings inevitably strengthened the confidence of South Korea's military officers in their ability to lead the country in general and to help in economic development in particular.

Keywords:   military, United States, training, South Korea, military government, Korean War, military education, Syngman Rhee, military officers, economic development

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