The Center for Korean Studies colloquium series will present a look at two influential observers’ ideas about Korea’s post-World War II future on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 4 p.m. when historian Mark E. Caprio delivers a talk titled “Silent Voices: The Wartime Views of George McCune and Andrew Grajdanzev for Post-Liberation Korea.”
The failure of the U.S. occupation of southern Korea (1945–1948) is often considered a result of a lack of wartime preparation. Policies for the occupation are said to have been hastily determined with little thought of the peninsula’s future. Archival documents suggest otherwise: U.S. officials gathered a substantial amount of information; experts drafted a number of useful reports that informed broader reports on the circumstances facing the Korean peninsula and its residents.
Two such informants, George McCune and Andrew Grajdanzev, contributed position papers that proved useful for reports designed to assist U.S. occupation forces in post-liberation Korea. Opinions from these two experts optimistically saw Korea’s future in positive terms and offered advice on how the Allied forces could best guide the people toward gaining national sovereignty. Their voices, however, fell silent from the time of the establishment of the U.S. Military Government in Seoul in September 1945.
Caprio’s presentation will explore the factors that intervened to separate the optimism found in wartime reports and the realism that defined U.S. occupation policy in southern Korea. Did the views expressed by McCune and Grajdanzev hold answers for a more successful occupation? If so, what barriers prevented their implementation? And, what consequences did this occupation suffer from United States occupation forces not affording them greater attention?
Mark Caprio is professor of Korean history in the College of Intercultural Communication, Rikkyo University. The author of Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945 (University of Washington Press, 2009), he is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled “Dregs of Colonialism in Liberated Southern Korea.”
Caprio’s presentation will take place in the Center for Korean Studies conference room from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Center for Korean Studies colloquia are free and open to the public. For further information, telephone the Center at (808) 956‑7041.