South Korea Table of Contents

Whatever counsel the civilian leaders may have offered Ch'oe, the military's position prevailed. Chun Doo Hwan, as head of the Defense Security Command, had already replaced the army chief of staff in December 1979 and had taken the command of the KCIA in April 1980.

Chun's methodical and speedy actions after May 17 clearly revealed that he had a well-laid plan. He issued a decree closing down the colleges and universities and prohibiting all political gatherings. All publications and broadcasts were to receive prior censorship, criticism of the incumbent and past presidents was outlawed, and the manufacture and spreading of rumors were forbidden. Chun's plan aimed not only at quelling demonstrations but also at destroying the power base of all existing political figures and groups.

The arrest of Kim Dae Jung and other arch enemies of Park was to be expected as soon as the military stepped in on May 17. But the arrest of Kim Chong-p'il and other people who had been influential under Park came as a total surprise.

Custom Search

Source: U.S. Library of Congress