December 31, 2023
For educational institutions
April Revolution Timeline
⟶ Updated 14 Dec 2018 ⟶
List of edits
National Liberation Day of Korea
Korean War Outbreak
Syngman Rhee Became a President
America's approval rating decreased
Korean War Ceasefire
President Rhee had been in office, but faced increasing domestic discontent as his rule had delivered limited economic and social development, while being perceived as corrupt with Rhee amending the constitution to prolong his stay in power.
The U.S. had reduced its economic aid from a high of $382,893,000 in 1957 to $222,204,000 in 1959.
Rhee forced through the National Assembly an amendment to the National Security Law giving the government broad new powers to curtail freedom of the press and prevent members of the opposition from voting to ensure Rhee's political survival
For the election of the vice president, which was done separately in Korea, Rhee was determined to see his protege, Kipoong Lee, elected. Lee ran against Myon Chang of the Democratic Party, who was the former ambassador to the United States during the Korean War. On March 15 Lee, who was mostly bedridden, won the elections with an abnormally wide margin, winning 8,225,000 votes, while Myon received just 1,850,000 votes
A protest against electoral corruption took place in Masan. The protest, sparked by Democratic Party members' exposure of electoral corruption, led to about a thousand residents of Masan gathering in front of the Democratic Party Headquarters in Masan around 7:30 in the evening.
Taking increasingly desperate measures
Death of Juyul Kim
Juyul Kim had been a student at Masan Commercial High School who had disappeared during the Masan rioting of March 15. His body was found in the harbor at Masan by a fisherman. Kim Kim's skull had been split by a 20 centimeter-long tear-gas grenade which had penetrated from Kim's eyes to the back of his head. Though Rhee’s regime tried to censor news of this incident, the story was reported by the Korean press along with a picture of Kim when his body was first found and delivered to the world.
Students from Korea University launched a non-violent protest at the National Assembly against police violence and demanding new elections; however, they were attacked by gangs funded by Rhee's supporters as they returned to their campus.
Thousands of students marched from Korea University to the Blue House, as they marched past other high schools and universities, their numbers grew to over 100,000. Arriving at the Blue House, the protesters called for Rhee's resignation. Police opened fire on protestors killing approximately 180 and wounding thousands. That day the Rhee government proclaimed martial law in order to suppress the demonstrations.
Professors joined students and citizens in large- scale protests outnumbering soldiers and police who refused to attack the protestors.
Resignation of Syngman Rhee
President Rhee stepped down from power. Kipoong Lee, Rhee's handpicked running mate for the vice presidency, was blamed for most of the corruption in the government.
KiPoong Lee and his entire family were murdered by Lee's oldest son, who then committed suicide.
Minister of Interior Inkyu Choi and the Chief of Security resigned taking responsibility for the Masan incident.
After the resignation of Rhee and the death of Kipoong Lee, the rule of the Liberal Party government came to an end. South Korea adopted a parliamentary system to remove power from the office of the president and so while Boseon Yun was elected President, real power was vested in the prime minister, Myon Chang.
Following months of political instability, General Chunghee Park launched a coup d'état overthrowing the short-lived Second Republic of South Korea and replacing it with a military junta and later the autocratic Third Republic of South Korea.
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