Chapter I: The Japanese Annexation & World War II3
Chapter II: Russian & American Influences5
Chapter III: The Korean War & Cease-fire Agreement6
Chapter IV: The Aftermath of the Korean War8
Chapter V: Inter-Korean Summits10
Chapter VI: North Korean Provocation11
Chapter VII: North Korea – Dangerous Dictatorship?12
Chapter VIII: Conclusion – What Caused the Tension Between North and South Korea?13
One of the most intriguing disputes between countries is the one between North and South Korea. A lot has happened since the Japanese occupied the country in 1910. From the country’s separation in 1945, up until today both countries have been in war with each other.
The fact that hardly any news or information comes out of North Korea and that this dispute is still going on today makes it a great subject for my Asian History paper. Therefore I will investigate what were the causes for the tension between the two countries.
Furthermore, will it be possible to reunite North and South Korea? I will find out.
Chapter I: The Japanese Annexation & World War II
Before they annexed Japan was quite isolated from the rest of the world. In the 19th century Japan realised that the West gained more and more power in Asia because of its imperialistic politics. This Western Imperialism frightened Japan and therefore decided take action and show Asia the power of Japan. Japan conquered several areas to secure its defensive strategy. The first Chinese-Japanese War from 1894 until 1895 was all about Korea. Japan feared an extension of the Russian empire and therefore was looking for allies that were in a close distance of Japan. At that time Korea had a close relationship with China and weren’t interested in Japan at all. Eventually Japan won the war on 17th of April 1895. The treaty of Shimonoseki was signed and China had to give up its few rights of Korea to Japan. Until the end of the 19th century Myung Sung, also called Queen Min, was the empress of Korea. She succeeded in keeping Japan on a distance by getting the help of both Russia and China under the Qing Dynasty. In 1895 she was killed by the orders of the Japanese minister Miura Goro. This assassination helped Japan to gain power of Korea. From 1904 until 1905 the Russian-Japanese war was fought. Japan again won this war and therefore could dispel all Russian influences that were left out of Korea. Some time later the Taft-Katsura agreement between Japan and the Untited States was signed. This agreement said that Korea was supposed to be independent and only be under protection of Japan, but looking at the past they weren’t strong enough to fight the Japanese. This meant that Korea would be in the hands of the Japanese from now on. In august 1910, the Annexation Treaty was signed and therefore meant the beginning of the Japanese ruling over Korea.
During Japan’s control over Korea it formed an army where both Japanese and Korean man could join. This army was first used in the March First Movement in 1919.
The March First Movement
The March First Movement was a series of demonstrations for Korean independence from Japan. The demonstrations started in Korea’s capital city Seoul at the time and later spread through the country. The March First Movement was organized by 33 cultural and religious leaders who had a lot of power and so created a Korean proclamation of independence. The demonstrations were organized all over the country, but it didn’t stop the Japanese to control Korea.
The March First movement was finally suppressed a year later. In total approximately 2,000,000 Korean’s participated, about 7500 of them died in the demonstrations. Until today, March 1st is a national holiday in both North and South Korea.
Japan was very harsh against the Korean...