Republic of Korea
Continent: Asia
Capital: Seoul
National Language: Korean
Government: Unitary presidential

constitutional republic

Status in OTL: Active

The Republic of Korea (Korean, 대한민국) colloquially known as South Korea, is the government of the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the island of Jeju off the peninsula's southern tip.

The government traces its historical origins to the provisional government-in-exile organized by the signers of the Korean Declaration of Independence, which was proclaimed on March 1, 1919. The government-in-exile was based mainly in Shanghai until that city fell during the Second Sino-Japanese War, at which point the government moved to Chongqing. The ROK government was firmly on the side of the Allied Forces throughout World War II, and in the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the leaders of the Big Three Allied governments recognized the ROK as the only legitimate Korean government and affirmed their support for installing it in power over the entire peninsula after Japanese forces were repelled from Korean territory.

However, once the Japanese were defeated in 1945, the peninsula was partitioned along the 38th parallel, with American martial law being temporarily enforced south of that latitude and Soviet martial law to the north. With the support of the United States, the Republic of Korea was established in 1948, but only south of the 38th Parallel; the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was set up north of that line.

The two Koreas fought a war from 1950-1953. In the early months, South Korea was badly unprepared as a result of extreme reluctance on the part of the United States to equip the ROK's armed forces, and the Republic very nearly fell to the much better-equipped, Soviet-backed DPRK. However, that summer the United Nations Security Council unanimously (with the USSR boycotting the Council's meetings) passed Resolution 83, which supported South Korea against Northern aggression and authorized the creation of a multinational force to repel the invasion. In early September, US-led amphibious operations against the occupied port city of Incheon forced the North to retreat, and over that autumn, UN forces plunged deep into DPRK territory. Intervention by the People's Republic of China forced UN forces south of the 38th Parallel, and by the end of 1950 the war had become a stalemate, which it more or less continued to be until a ceasefire was signed in 1953. (As of 2015, an official peace treaty has never been ratified.)

Throughout the rest of the 1950s, South Korea suffered from economic underperformance and rampant political corruption. Both were ameliorated by a military coup launched in 1962, but at the expense of a severe crackdown on civil liberties. The 1970s were marked by periods of often violent pro-democracy demonstrations and crackdowns thereon, as well as rapid economic growth. By the early- to mid-1980s, the Korean government had largely liberalized. Today the ROK is widely considered to be a modern, developed industrial democracy,

South Korea in The Hot War

North Korea's invasion of South Korea in 1950 became the catalyst for World War III. While North Korean forces managed to drive far into South Korean territory in its initial surprise attack, UN forces, under the command of U.S. general Douglas MacArthur, had succeeded in pushing the North Koreans back, and had even driven up towards the Chinese border.[1] However, in November, 1950, Chinese troops crossed the Yalu River and came to Kim Il-sung's aid. In late November, the Chinese forces thoroughly destroyed three divisions of American forces between the Chosin Reservoir and Hungnam.[2] Red forces recaptured Seoul in December.[3]

In response, the United States used atomic weapons in Manchuria on January, 1951.[4] The Soviet Union, China and North Korea's ally, attacked Britain, France, and West Germany, and in short order, World War III was underway.[5]

With China's help, Kim's forces were able to move south again, with the Korean War looking more and more like World War I. Nonetheless, the U.S. military was able to deliver a regiment's worth of Pershing tanks in advance of an attack near Chongju. The battle proved to be a success for the UN.[6] Another engagement in April saw U.S. infantry forces hold back a column of T-34s until air support could do enough damage to force a retreat.[7] In April, 1951, the U.S. launched a substantial bombing raid on Kim's capital, Pyongyang, in a failed effort to kill Kim himself. That same night, communist forces destroyed a key U.S. airfield outside Pusan.[8] After that event, the war quieted down, with both sides blaring propaganda at each other over loudspeakers.[9]

The month of May saw the snow melt, and an increase in shelling attacks from the Chinese. NATO's efforts were hobbled by the long logistics chain between Korea and the U.S. after the attacks on the U.S. west coast, and the Panama and Suez Canals.[10] While many hoped that the U.S. atomic attacks on Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk would slow down supply lines to the Chinese and North Korean armies, others had doubts.[11]

The lines stalemated south of Chongju, with the Americans and the Chinese intermittently taking shots at one another throughout June and July, 1951.[12] This was broken when the Soviets dropped atom bombs on Pusan and Chongju in South Korea in August,[13] Chinese and North Korean troops poured through the hole the Soviet's had created,[14] driving UN troops south to Kaeryong,[15] where their stubborn resistance stabilized the lines once gain.[16]

However, within weeks, the situation had sufficiently deteriorated such that the U.S. Army recruited South Korean soldiers to fill things out. U.S. troops who'd seen how badly the South Koreans had done at the outset of the war in 1950 were not impressed. The fact that many of the South Korean officers used a model of discipline patterned on one the Japanese had used was further cause for alarm.[17] In short order, the South Koreans demonstrated that they'd learned a great deal since the war began and proved themselves in combat.[18] Tensions did flair up between U.S. troops and their South Korean counterparts over ROK methods of discipline.[19]

While the line had stabilized again with the arrival of winter,[20] with the spring thaw, the Reds advanced and successfully took Kaeryeong in April, 1952, and UN forces set up a new line just south of the town.[21] UN propaganda played up the role of the new hydrogen bomb in Stalin's death, and intimated that it could be used against the Chinese. Mao and his allies were defiant,[22] and kept fighting even after Treaty of Versailles ended the war in Europe. UN forces began increased pressure in Korea, with B-47s now picking up where the B-29s had left off.[23]

Despite Mao's public defiance, NATO attacks on North Korean and Chinese infrastructure began taking a toll. In August, 1952, the Chinese government approached the government of Yugoslavia to open up talks with the U.S. While Marshal Tito was a "deviationist" in Mao's eyes, Yugoslavia was one of the handful of countries to maintain relations with both the U.S. and the P.R.C.

Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-Lai proposed a return to the status quo ante bellum in Asia if the U.S. ended its bombing campaign against China. Chou further promised that North Korea would withdraw its forces north of the 38th Parallel. Yugoslavian Foreign Minister Edvard Kardelj met with President Truman in Philadelphia with Chou's proposal. Satisfied that Kim would withdraw, Truman accepted Chou's plan, and the war officially ended on all fronts.[24]

South Korea in State of Jefferson

In early 1980, Korean fishing practices, combined with those of Japan and Russia had begun to deplete the coastal waters off the west coast of the U.S., negatively impacting the food supply of the merfolk who resided off of the coast of Jefferson. When the merfolk turned to consuming salmon that swam into the Klamath River, they in turn cut into the food supply of the Karuk Indians.[25]


  1. Bombs Away, see, eg., pg. 7, ebook.
  2. Ibid, pg. 5, ebook.
  3. Ibid.,pg. 39.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 55-57.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 65-70.
  6. Ibid., pg. 204-205.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 273-277.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 283-287.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 311-315.
  10. Ibid., pgs. 357-360.
  11. Ibid., pg. 382.
  12. Fallout, loc. 197-268.
  13. Ibid., loc. 2152-2213.
  14. Ibid., loc. 2302.
  15. Ibid., loc. 2503.
  16. Ibid., loc. 2562.
  17. Ibid., loc. 3371-3422.
  18. Ibid., loc. 3434-3446.
  19. Ibid, loc. 4408-4482.
  20. Ibid., loc. 5157-5231.
  21. Ibid., loc. 5535.
  22. Armistice, pgs. 85-88.
  23. Ibid., pg. 163.
  24. Ibid., pgs 277-280, ebook.
  25. https://www.tor.com/2020/01/08/something-fishy-harry-turtledove/