Seoul (1953-1961) / The Post-war restoration project under Syngman Rhee

Following the Second World War, Korea knew a rapid urban and industrial growth. But before this period, not a long time after the World War II, in 1953, the Korean War broke out which led cities like Seoul to be destroyed. With the destruction of the South, there was also 5% of the civilian population that were killed during the war. The economic recovery was then quite slow at the time. South Korea suffered from a deep loss. The postwar government was conducted by President Syngman Rhee that led the country in an authoritarian way. This government helped to stabilize the economy and the society. In his period, there is some social change that were a great opportunity to modify the education system. Although the modern system were brought by the Japanese colonial government, the opportunities for Korean to take part of it were thin.

The population that became more politically conscious with the increasing opportunities of education and also with the reports of the government corruption and ineptitude, this contributes to take down the president Rhee’s authoritarian power.

In the matter of the economy, after the war, Seoul became a modern and important metropolis by its very rapid economic development. With the need to set again all the infrastructures, the domain of the construction knew a quick turn to accommodate the population. Roads, subways and schools and housing were built to meet this post-war demand. In January 1960, the government planned a Seven-Year Development but the student revolution brought down the government in order to counter how South Korea was ruled under corruption.

 

“Riot police try to disperse demonstrators protesting election rigging during the April 19 Students’ Uprising of 1960 in this file photo. After citizens and professors joined the demonstrations, Syngman Rhee, the nation’s first president, stepped down. / Korea Times File”
“Riot police try to disperse demonstrators protesting election rigging during the April 19 Students’ Uprising of 1960 in this file photo. After citizens and professors joined the demonstrations, Syngman Rhee, the nation’s first president, stepped down. / Korea Times File”

 

Reference : The Syngman Rhee Era, 1940-60 [http://countrystudies.us/south-korea/11.htm]

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