Last week, the new Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his uncle, who was accused of betraying the “warmest paternal love” by his 30-year-old nephew. Kim Jong Un’s Uncle was likely a threat to his supreme command. His execution was a result of a power struggle of the inner circle of North Korea’s ruling family. The origins of this notorious and all-powerful dynasty, that since 1948 turned North Korea into a miserable Utopia, lie in the American rejection of a unified Korean state, right after the Second World War.
The division of Korea
Washington, 10th of August 1945. The day after the second atomic bomb drops Nagasaki, Japan, American army officials bend over a map of Korea. Within 30 minutes, they have to propose a provisional division of the peninsula, which is still occupied by the Japanese colonial army. They divide it into two zones: north and south. In the north the Soviets are to disarm the Japanese, the south is for the Americans. The two officers opt for the 38th latitude. Surprisingly, the Soviets agree. The Red Army is already invading from the Northeast and have to halt at the 38th latitude, while the American soldiers can only land about a month later on the peninsula. Stalin doesn’t have a plan with Korea – his focus was on Europe.
First attempt at Korean unification halted by America
The division on these rather arbitrary conditions ripped an old nation apart. And they set the conditions for the world’s first communist dynasty to flourish. Back in the summer of 1945, this was not yet in sight. After Japan’s surrender on August 15th, celebrations of freedom spread across the peninsula. Local self-governing bodies where spontaneously formed. On September 6th, the ‘People ‘s Republic of Korea’ was founded in Seoel. The new Republic wanted to present themselves as an independent state to the incoming Americans. When the Americans forced landed near Seoul on the 8th of September, the new government sent three English-speaking officials, but the Americans didn’t want to receive them, stating that no government of Korea would be recognized at the moment.
Korea – plaything of powerful neighbors
The division of Korea was the result of outside interests. Wedged between Russia, China , Japan and later America, Korea has experienced more than 900 invasions in the course of time. From 1637 on the Confucian kingdom encapsulated completely from the outside world, in an effort to thwart the raids of neighbouring countries. Henceforth, the country shut off from the outside world. A strategy that gained in popularity after the brutal invasion in the 20th century, most notably the Korean War (1950-1953). Kim Il Sung and his successors used this tradition to stay in power. The total self-isolation of North Korea proofs the success of this strategy.