ABSTRACT

As seen in the previous chapter, Park’s military career had reportedly been scheduled to end by late May 1961. At the same time, social and political chaos had made Korea’s conservative establishment extremely nervous and

unstable. Park therefore claimed to have “disregarded the peril to my life” (Park Chung Hee 1963a: 153) and led the military coup of 1961. He saw his mission as that of finding a solution to the prevailing socio-political and economic chaos, and ultimately removing the Communist threat from North Korea. Of course, he also saved his own career and those of his colleagues. He claimed that his “revolutionary tasks” were also to “eliminate corruption and eradicate other social evils . . . [and to] inculcate [a] fresh and wholesome moral and mental attitude among the [Korean] people” (SCFNR 1961: title page). The objectives of the coup, as shown in the junta’s Six Pledges included: anti-Communism; strengthening international relations, anti-corruption, economic reconstruction, unification and returning power to a civilian government (MHHCPW 1962: 26).