Concept

Paik Sun-yup

Summary
Paik Sun-yup (; November 23, 1920 – July 10, 2020) was a South Korean military officer. Paik is best known for his service during the Korean War, for being the first four-star general in the history of the South Korean military, and for his service as a diplomat and statesman for the Republic of Korea. Paik was born in Tokhung in Kangso county, Phyŏngannamdo, Korea on November 23, 1920. He was the second of three siblings, with an older sister and younger brother, being raised by a widowed mother. In 1925 the Paik family moved to Heijō (modern Pyongyang), where they lived under deplorable conditions in a single, rented room. Unable to feed her family, Paik's mother attempted to commit family-suicide with her children by jumping from the Daidō River Bridge but was dissuaded from doing so by her eldest daughter. Paik's mother and sister soon took jobs at a rubber factory. this in addition with the help of a greatly reduced tuition allowed Paik to attend Mansu Primary School for four years before transferring to Yaksong Primary School. After which, he spent five years in Pyongyang Normal School, studying to be a teacher. However, in 1939, instead of becoming a teacher, he entered the Mukden Military Academy of Manchukuo. After graduation from the Mukden Military Academy of Manchukuo, Paik became a second lieutenant in the Manchukuo Imperial Army and was assigned to the Gando Special Force, engaging in guerrilla suppression work in Jiandao (eastern Manchuria, Gando in Korean) as part of the Japanese campaign in northern China against the 8th Route Army of Communist China for ten months from 1944 to 1945 until its defeat by the Red Army. After the end of World War II, he returned to Pyongyang and started working as an assistant to Kim Gu (a leader of the Korean independence movement against the Empire of Japan). In December 1945, he fled south due to the rising communist’s presence. After safely reaching South Korea, he enlisted in the Constabulary, the predecessor of the ROK Army, as a first lieutenant.
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