Korean War history will soon be prerequisite at South’s version of West Point
Stars and Stripes February 14, 2023
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — The history of the Korean War will again become a required course at the Korea Military Academy and part of a more “future-oriented” curriculum for future South Korean army officers, the school announced Monday.
The academy — a public, undergraduate institution in Seoul — produces many of the nation’s army officers. It is revising its curriculum next year for “individuals who have proper views of state and history and will lead a ‘scientifically and technologically powerful army,’” according to a news release.
Fourth-year cadets already nearing graduation will receive 30-hour “intensive supplementary” courses on the 1950-53 Korean War, war and strategy and North Korean studies, according to the release. The courses will include lectures from Korean War veterans and field trips during winter training.
Roughly 280 cadets are expected to graduate in 2024, an academy spokesperson told Stars and Stripes by phone Tuesday. South Korean officials customarily speak to the media on the condition of anonymity.
The decision comes after an internal review, according to the official. Several South Korean lawmakers during a parliamentary inspection last year voiced concern over the lack of such courses.
Former South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn in a Facebook post on Oct. 21 criticized the academy’s decision to remove the Korean War history course from its curriculum in 2019 and said, “a nation that forgets its past and history has no future.”
“What is clear is that we have to rectify curriculum even now,” Hwang wrote. “War history of one’s own country should be obligatory to cadets. Not teaching Korean War history correctly at the [Korea Military Academy] is the same as forgetting our roots.”
The Korea Military Academy was founded in 1946.
Stars and Stripes reporter Yoo Kyong Chang contributed to this report.