ANTICOMMUNIST ARCHITECTURE IN SOUTH KOREA

During the 1960s and 1970s anticommunism was reflected in architecture and urban planning in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The Federation of Artistic and Cultural Organizations of Korea (FACOK) was founded with the Korean Institute of Architects as a member of FACOK.

The Freedom Center is one example of the buildings constructed in the 1960s. Other examples are statues of national war heroes (Yi Sun Sin), and the War Memorial. There were plans to fortify Seoul and coastal development plans for the Han River and south of the river.

Yi Sun Sin (1545 – 1598) was a naval commander during the Japanese invasions of Joseon (Korea) that lasted from 1592 to 1598. The invasion is also known as the Seven Year War, or the Imjin War. The official name of Yi’s title was “naval commander of the three provinces” as he was in charge of navies of Chungcheong, Jeolla, and Gyeongsang provinces. He is known for his exceptional leadership and naval strategies which resulted in victories in all his twenty three battles. Although he was arrested and relegated for a while, he was soon restored to lead Joseon’s navy till the last battle.

The War Memorial of Korea, located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, exhibits and preserve materials related to the Korean War and serves as a national moral educational venue. It was established to commemorate the noble sacrifice of patriotic martyrs by the War Memorial Service Korea Society on June 10, 1994. The museum houses approximately 33,000 artifacts with about 10,000 on display at an indoor and outside exhibition halls.

There are six separate indoor halls, including Expeditionary Forces Room, Patriotic Memorial Room, War History Room, 6•25 Korean War Room, Development Hall and Large Machinery Room. The outdoor exhibition hall showcases large-sized weapons. Visitors of all ages from children to adults can also participate in 20 various educational programs and diverse cultural events such as military music and honor guard events, drawing contest, cultural event and more. The character of War Memorial of Korea is ‘Mudori’ featuring a helmet symbolizing the protection of the nation and a bay leaf meaning peace.

The total area of the War Memorial is 116,793m² with the exhibition halls 20,360m² .

In the Memorial Hall there is an exhibition hall dedicated to the memory of patriots involved in past war efforts. The place presents sculptures, reliefs, and wall paintings under the theme of overcoming hardship, and working towards the unity, prosperity and eternity of the nation.

There is also a war history from prehistoric era to the Japanese colonial period. Military remains, relics, and documents are on display as well. Among them are war & victory records, ammunition, the Turtle Ship (and other military vessels from the Joseon Dynasty), fortress models, and more.

The background of the Korean War is presented with the progression of the war and how a truce was eventually established. Exhibits also display ammunition used by hostile and friendly forces, information and artifacts from people displaced by the war, and information on major battles.

The role of the expeditionary forces was important. Information in this exhibit describes the Vietnam War and the implication of Korean troops dispatched in Vietnam. Other information explains the activities Korean troops were mainly engaged in during the Vietnam War, and the tactics of the Viet Cong.

The ROK Armed Forces part presents the progression of the Korean Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps from the time of their inception till today.

The South Korean defense industry is presented with replicas of state-of-the-art weapons that are produced by domestic companies. Items include fighters, submarines, destroyers, and communication apparatuses.

Around 110 pieces of large military equipments/symbols are on display. They include Korean War sculptures, the Statue of Brethren, the Statue of King Gwanggaeto, AH-2, T-34 of the North, US B-52 and others.

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