The purposes of this paper are to analyze how three South Korean scholars—Kim Junyop,Min Tu-ki, and Rhee Yeung-hui—interpreted modern China during the Cold Warera and thereby show that the development of South Korean studies on modern Chinesehistory was linked to the global Cold War. It was only after the Korean War that SouthKoreans began to study modern Chinese history in earnest. Despite anticommunistpressure on academic interests in the field, South Korean interpretations of modernChinese history at the time were not uniform. For example, Min viewed it as thehistory of the establishment of a modern state, while Rhee saw it as the history of therevolutionary movement to overcome Western modernity. What is also interestingis that each type of interpretation matched its proponent’s attitudes toward andunderstanding of modernization. More precisely, each researcher’s understanding ofmodernization was an important and powerful argument for his interpretation anddescription of modern Chinese history. In this sense, it can be said that South Koreanstudies of modern Chinese history during the Cold War era were the products ofintellectual activities that included selective acceptance, reinterpretation, and criticismof the cultural Cold War symbolized by modernization theory.
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