Divided Peninsula:

The Two Koreas since 1945











South Koreans Cheer Their

Soccer Team at the World Cup

North and South Korea

At Night, 2008

North Koreans Cheer

The Launch of a Rocket



Key Terms

1) 38th Parallel and the DMZ

2) “Asian Tigers”

3) State Capitalism

4) Kim il-Sung

5) Juche

6) North Korean Famine

7) “The Cleanest Race” (BR Meyer’s Thesis)


I. Historical Background and Division


Š    Korean Kingdoms


Š    Chinese Influence and Indirect Control


Š    Japanese Influence and Occupation, 1905/1910-1945


Š    US and Soviet Occupation, 1945-1948


Š    The Division of Korea (The 38th Parallel)

o South Korea: August 15, 1948

o North Korea: September 8, 1948


Š    The Korean War, 1950-1953

Š    The Last Cold War Border: The DMZ



II. South Korea: Authoritarianism, Economic Growth, and Democratization


Š    Authoritarian/Military Rule 1948-1987

o Syngman Rhee (1948-1960)

o Park Chung-hee (1963-1979)

o Chung Doo-hwan (1980-1988)


Š    Becoming an “Asian Tiger”

o (East Asian) “State” Capitalism and “Export” Capitalism

o A Different Kind of Five Year Plan

o  GDP  (Per Capita: $28,000 vs. $1,900 for North Korea)

o Samsung, Hyundai, Kia, STX Shipbuilding: $465 billion in exports (6th)


Š    Becoming a Democracy

o Protest Movements: Students, Workers, Leftists

o A Growing Middle Class

o The Elections of 1985, Student Protests, and the “Revolution” of 1987

o The 1988 Olympics and the “Arrival” of South Korea


Š    South Korea Today: Globalized, Prosperous Democracy


III. North Korea under the Kim Dynasty: The Worst Place on Earth?


Š    Kim il-Sung: The Great Leader (1948-1994)


Š    Kim Jung-il: The Dear Leader


Š    The Workers Party of Korea


Š    Communism, Confucianism, Juche?


Š    “Paranoid Race-Based Nationalism”: BR Meyer’s Thesis of The Cleanest Race


Š    Economic Stagnation and Collapse, 1970s-1990s

o North Korea’s Famine, 1993-1996


Š    Nuclear Weapons, Missiles, and Saber Rattling


Š    The Future of North Korea

o The Death of Kim Jung Il and Kim Jung-un: Who’s really in Charge?

o Economic Collapse and Implosion?

o A New Korean War?

o Reunification with South Korea?


Š    The 75th Army Anniversary Celebration (2007)