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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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Toward Developmental Autocracy

Toward Developmental Autocracy

(p.101) 4 Toward Developmental Autocracy
Nation Building in South Korea

John Lewis Gaddis

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the rise of developmental autocracy in South Korea in 1961 following a turbulent period of successive student and military revolutions. It first appraises the role of U.S. foreign policy in bringing Syngman Rhee to power and enabling him to survive armed challenges to his rule. The chapter then looks at the student-led revolution that paved the way for the country's first democratic government in April 1960, followed by a virtually bloodless military coup d'état led by Park Chung Hee that seized power in May 1961. It also considers the United States' support for the military junta due to its leaders' strong determination to promote economic development. The chapter argues that Washington's decision to recognize Park instead of trying to restore South Korea's democratically elected leaders brought about developmental autocracy in the country.

Keywords:   developmental autocracy, South Korea, revolutions, foreign policy, Syngman Rhee, coup d'état, Park Chung Hee, United States, military junta, economic development

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