Sharp differences between North and South had traditionally been part of the Korean scene. South Koreans considered their northern neighbors crude and culturally backward. North Koreans viewed southerners as lazy schemers. During the Japanese occupation, Koreans in the north had been much less tractable than those in the south. Differences in farming accounted for some of the social differences in the two zones. A dry-field type of farming in the North opposed a rice-culture area in the South to produce marked variations in points of view. In the South were more small farms and a high tenancy rate, while in the North larger farms and more owner-farmers prevailed. All of those economic and cultural differences the 38th Parallel promised to exacerbate.
The United States has been present in Korea and an influence in Korean society and politics since its military forces first landed at Inchon on September 8, 1945. Following the Potsdam Conference, the United States quickly imported a Korean puppet from the United States, Syngman Rhee, to be the president of South Korea. Between 1945 and 1950, the United States oversaw a systematic cleansing of the popular movement of Koreans who desperately desired their independence from any outside forces and was vehemently opposed to the United States occupation. A civil war developed between the wealthy Koreans and the United States supported police/military apparatus, which supported continuation of an oligarchy, and the majority of Koreans who wanted genuine independence and democracy.
The brutal repression of Korean dialogue and aspirations for independence led to the Korea War. Following the end of the war, from 1953 to the present, the United States has continued its occupation. Over the decades, Korea has received huge amounts of United States aid.