Park Chung-hee

Park Chung-hee (}}; 14 November 1917 – 26 October 1979) was a South Korean politician and Republic of Korea Army General who served as the President of South Korea from 1963 until his assassination in 1979, assuming that office after first ruling the country as head of a military dictatorship installed by the May 16 military coup d'état in 1961. Before his presidency, he was the chairman of the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction from 1961 to 1963 after a career as a military leader in the South Korean army.

Park's coup brought an end to the interim government of the Second Republic and his election and inauguration in 1963 ushered in the Third Republic. Seeking to bring South Korea into the developed world, Park began a series of economic policies that brought rapid economic growth and industrialization to the nation that eventually became known as the Miracle on the Han River. South Korea became one of the fastest growing nations during the 60s and 70s as a result. Although popular during the 60s, by the 1970s, as growth began to slow, Park's popularity started to wane, resulting in closer than expected victories during the 1971 South Korean presidential election and the subsequent legislative elections. Following this, in 1972, Park declared martial law and amended the constitution into a highly authoritarian document called the Yushin Constitution. Formally, the pretense was that the Yushin Constitution was the seventh Constitutional amendment. In actuality, its effect was tantamount to abolition of the former Constitution – effectively creating a new one in an effort to legitimize the new Fourth Republic. During this time, political opposition and dissent was constantly repressed and Park had complete control of the media and military.

Park survived several previous attempts to kill him, including two operations associated with North Korea. Following the student uprising later known as the Bu-Ma Democratic Protests, Park was assassinated on 26 October 1979 by his close friend Kim Jae-gyu, the director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, at a safe house in Seoul. Cha Ji-chul, chief of the Presidential Security Service, was also fatally shot by Kim. Kim and his accomplices were tortured, convicted and executed for the assassination as Choi Kyu-hah became Acting President pursuant to Article 48 of the Yushin Constitution. Major General Chun Doo-hwan quickly amassed sweeping powers after his Defense Security Command was charged with investigating the assassination, first taking control of the military and the KCIA before installing another military junta and finally assuming the presidency in 1980. Whether the assassination was spontaneous or premeditated is something that remains unclear today—the motivations of Kim Jae-gyu are still debated.

Economic growth continued after Park's death and after considerable political turmoil in the wake of his assassination and the military Coup d'état of December Twelfth, the country eventually democratized. Later presidents included political activist Kim Dae-jung, who was arrested under Park's regime and later received a death-sentence which was quickly revoked, in part thanks to the urging of United States officials. Park is a controversial figure in modern South Korean political discourse and among the South Korean populace in general for his dictatorship and undemocratic ways. While some credit him for sustaining the Miracle on the Han River, which reshaped and modernized South Korea, others criticize his authoritarian way of ruling the country (especially after 1971) and for prioritizing economic growth and contrived social order at the expense of civil liberties.

In 2012, the Park Jung-hee Presidential Library and Museum was opened. On 25 February 2013, his eldest daughter, Park Geun-hye, became the first female president of South Korea. She was impeached and removed from office on 10 March 2017 as a result of an influence-peddling scandal. She was sentenced to 24 years in prison in April 2018. Provided by Wikipedia
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by Park, Chung Hee, 1917-1979.
Published 1979
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