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Chun Doo Hwan's Manipulation of the Kwangju Popular Uprising

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Master's thesis,

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Many scholars and journalists point to the tragic events that occurred in the Kwangju Popular Uprising as a pronounced materialization of the dependent nature of the relationship between U.S. and South Korea. However, this position ignores that perceptions of American complicity in the Kwangju tragedy were constructed and molded by the personal greed and ambition of Chun Doo Hwans military regime, which effectively censored the media and intelligence agencies reporting from South Korea. This regime used the media to construct the viewpoint that the U.S. was only interested in the stability of the region, and that the U.S. actively supported the actions of the new regime. Chuns regime frequently excluded and distorted U.S. official statements to further amplify this misconstrued image. In addition, Chun removed all personnel affiliated with the liaison channels of the Korean government and replaced them with people loyal to him. In other words, he effectively controlled all intelligence, diplomatic, and military communication channels and proceeded to manipulate the Carter administration into viewing Korea from a perspective advantageous to serve his own political purposes. Media censorship had a profound effect on the Korean general public and the control of intelligence outflow led to distorted decision-making processes in Washington. Consequently, the failure of the U.S. to escape manipulation by the Chun regime reached its peak during the Kwangju massacre, which can be directly attributed to the rise in anti-Americanism.

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  • Government and Political Science

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