Woojune KimCore A WibleFHPJan 15How did the assassination of Park Jung Hee positively affect Korea? Have you ever wondered what would have happened if JFK had not been assassinated? Perhaps the Vietnam War would not have happened, nor the Cold War. If Korean president Park Jung Hee hadn’t been killed, Korea would be very different in many ways such as the government, economy and earned Koreans their rights. It all started on October 26th, 1979 at a KCIA safehouse. The KCIA had been created to suppress opposition against Park by tapping, arresting and torturing anyone without interference from the court. The director of the KCIA at the time was Kim Jae-Kyu, who killed President Park. According to director Kim at his trial, he named five reasons for this assassination. He stated it was for democracy, to prevent more deaths, stop North Korea from improve relations with the US and to wash away the image of dictatorship in Korea. During the ensuing confusion in the country, General Chun Doo-hwan started a coup and took control, leading to violent protests that culminated in 1987 when Chun finally stepped out of office. So the assassination of Park Jung Hee had associations with the protests in the 1980’s, which still have some effects on Korea. Korea’s success today is, in part, due to the assassination of Park Jung Hee because it changed the government, economy and gave Koreans rights they deserved. Firstly, the government of Korea would be different. Since the Korean war, Korea had effectively been a dictatorship. Presidency was passed on in such a manner that there was no way for a different form of government to come in power. This was such until the death of President Park, when General Chun usurped power. Chun’s rule was filled with violent protests and suppressions from the government as the entire nation struggled for democracy, free press and a voice. It started from the 1980 Gwangju Uprising and culminated in the 1987 protest involving over a million people to drive Chun out of presidency. The Gwangju Uprising was the first major movement against the government. Thousands of people were injured and it incited thousands of relatives, students and civilians to join the protests. As claimed by the New York Times, Seoul National University students voted it as the most tragic event in Korea since World War 2, voting it as a more tragic event than the Korean war. Unfortunately, the Korean and US government worked to conceal the event and manipulated media coverage. But today, it is remembered as an admirable act of bravery that lead to Korea’s democratization. Korea held its first fair presidential election in 1987, and nothing has changed since. Without the assassination, millions of people may not have revolted. Park was very popular with the older generation, and even now some of the older generations who were not so educated or updated with news believe that Park Jung Hee was a great leader. In fact, a primary reason why Park Jung Hee’s daughter won the election in 2013 is thanks to the support she got from those who loved her father. Thanks to economical advances during Park’s rule, which will be further examined later, many were ardent supporter of him. Those people would not have protested if Park was alive, therefore countering the argument that protests would happen if Park was alive. So Korea may not be a democracy without the death of Park. Not only did Park’s death directly lead to the first democratic election and eventually the first democratic president through a chain of events, but without Park’s death the government might not have changed. There are other implications if Park had not been assassinated, such as not being able to make international trades, host international events or become the economy that it has, which is the second major effect of Park’s death.