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Hist Sci (Tokyo). 2009;19(2):105-18.

Imaginary Savior: the image of the nuclear bomb in Korea, 1945-1960.

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School of Humanities & Social Sciences, KAIST, Korea.


Two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 brought the unexpected liberation of Korea from the 35-year Japanese occupation. Koreans therefore had a very favorable and positive image of the nuclear bomb and nuclear energy from the beginning. The image of the nuclear bomb as "savior" was strengthened during the Korean War when the United States openly mentioned the possible use of the nuclear bomb against North Korean and Chinese military. After the end of the Korean War in July 1953 South Koreans strongly supported the development of the nuclear bomb in order to deter another North Korean invasion. When the US government provided South Korea with a research nuclear reactor in the late 1950s, most South Koreans hailed it as the first step to developing their own nuclear bomb. This paper will analyze how and why the savior image of the nuclear bomb originated and spread in Korea during the 1950s.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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