Syngman Rhee in 1897, led a demonstration against the Japanese, being a Korean freedom advocate, and was soon sentenced to life imprisonment for his actions. But was soon released in 1904, because of an amnesty. Rhee then traveled to the United States where he went to Harvard and Princeton, both top level, best ivy league schools in the country. Syngman Rhee got a Bachelor of Art at George Washington University in 1907 and a Master’s Degree at Harvard in 1909.While September 1908, he enrolled at Princeton University, and obtained a PhD.D. in 1910, at the age of 33. After his schooling, and the terrible World War 2,he became a leader in South Korea under the United States. And despite his rebellious past, in 1948, Syngman Rhee became the first president of the Republic of Korea, which had the right to rule all of Korea.
This is a map of Korea, all of which Syngman Rhee had control over.
He was elected this noble government position with America backing him up. His anti-communism made him a very popular in the United States. In spite of his faith in Christianity, he had more Koreans killed than any other tyrants in the Korean history. He ruled Korea with a firm hand for twelve critical years, and lead his nation through the disastrous Korean War. He was the man behind the Cheju 4.3 Massacre, the Daejun Massacre, the Suwon Massacre, the blowing up the Hangang Bridge, assassination of Kim Ku and Yo Woon Young and countless other killings of Koreans .During his presidency he instituted several reforms many in education and ownership of land. But soon it all went south, and his leadership became very dictatorial, and had an autocratic style when it came to governing. In 1953, July 27, a truce was reached in the South Korean War, Rhee was preaching that all of Korea should be reunited. In 1960, Rhee was elected for his fourth term as president and won about 90 percent of the votes. But was soon accused of rigging the elections and in the protests students were killed, causing more demonstrations. So soon that everyone starting joining in on the demonstrations, teachers, professors, student, citizens, causing such a riot, that the police could barely keep them down.
This is a scene of a demonstration against Rhee, where everyone joined in on the madness, while the police tried to calm them down.
So because of these violent demonstrations and alleged rigging of the votes, the National Assembly voted on his resignation, in 1960. After which the American CIA spirited him away to a life in exile in Hawaii. where he died in 1965.
Why He's Important in History
Syngman Rhee, on the date of 1960, was put in the time line song by Billy Joel because that was the year of his resignation as the President of Korea. His resignation is important to history because right before his resignation many demonstrations were being held by citizens. Forcing the police to killing one hundred twenty seven demonstrators. Rhee was a true Korean nationalist that did much for the cause of Korean independence, but was constantly hampered by his own autocratic tendencies and corruption failures that would follow him around his entire life. His corruption and autocratic nature would cause Rhee to be the wrong man to lead the nation in the post-Korean War years that needed someone of great leadership abilities to unite the nation. Syngman Rhee’s post-Korean War rule saw much turmoil in Korea that ultimately led to the 1961 military coup by Army General Park Chung-hee.
by Cori Cannavino F period S.S