Never-Ending War: The Two Koreas
The events that followed in Korea as a consequence of the Cold War.
The Korean peninsula and its people have never had it easy. Annexed by the Japanese in 1910, the country was split in half after World War II. It was then decided that the northern area would be protected by the Soviets and the southern area by the USA. A couple of years passed, yet no agreement was made to form a single government. Thus the divide was created at the 38th parallel with the Republic of Korea (and subsequently K-pop) in the south and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (with the Kim Jung Il Cult of Personality) in the north.
How sad was it that the ideologies of two foreign superpowers would divide families and a people from each other for more than half a decade.
When a person goes to Seoul, one of the recommended free attractions is the War Memorial of Korea, a monolith dedicated solely to selling the propaganda of war. The sprawling area houses a huge central building with floors that display war memorabilia: bullets, bombs, and even cars used by former presidents and leaders of both the north and south. The displays are motion triggered and interactive, and it even boasts of a 4-D ride that takes the excursionist through the battle of Inchon led by General Douglas MacArthur. Outside, the tanks, planes of both civilian and military in nature, and artillery used in the war before the tenuous truce are displayed in the garden with a little convenience store and ice cream shop tucked in the corner of this display of military might.
If that is the way the south propagates their side’s ideologies, then the north has a terrific but equally insidious way of inculcating their ideologies through control of the media, execution of dissenters, and a lockdown of both entry and exit in the country. This counter propaganda war began after July of 1953, when the armistice was signed and the Korean Demilitarized Zone was created. But with no peace treaty signed and US interventionism heightening tensions between the states, there is no foreseeable end in sight for this continuing travesty to a proud and ancient culture that opposing western ideologies have ruthlessly split. Only time will tell if the two countries should ever become one again—or if Korea will forever be torn by a never-ending war.