President Park replaces President Rhee
Park Chung Hee, formerly known as Lieutenant Okamoto Minoru, of the Japanese Imperial Army in Manchuria, and fought against Korean Revolutionary Army during the Japanese occupation; Park's political ideology was mixed. After the end of World War II, Park joined the Korean Army. In 1948, Major Park participated in a Stalinist cell organized and led by his elder brother within the South Korean army, the Yosu Mutiny, and was arrested on November 11, 1948, tortured for several weeks, and sentenced to death at a Court Martial. General Choi was one of the military officers that participated on this Court Martial. However, Park gained a reprieved as a result of his cooperation with the authorities. He identified his former associates, including his own brother, but he was stripped of his rank and released from prison and the army. He was broke emotionally and financially and eked out a living as a civilian consultant for the army (intelligence informant). The Korean War saved Park's life. He was put in charge of the army security unit and he rapidly rose in the army hierarchy.
On June 27, 1960, President Syngman Rhee resigned. On May 15, 1961, a military coup led by General Park Chung Hee ousted the Second Republic, kicking out Prime Minster Chang Myon (1899-1966), an inept civilian who replaced Syngman Rhee, and placing himself in charge, and ended democracy in Korea. At the end of 1962, Park became the President of the Third Republic.
Park was virtually unknown to American officials, he was not the man the United States would have chosen to lead the new Korea, there were strong suspicions that Park was a crypto-socialist and the media sometimes referred to him as "Parkov", a Russianized version of his name. Although Park did not have affiliations with the Stalinist movement, his thinking and ideological orientation was decidedly Stalinist. However, his predilection for central planning and autocratic control probably came from his experiences in the Japanese army.
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