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The Dual Position and Daily Strategies of Disabled Soldiers in the 1950s and 1960s

Eunyoung Park 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study reviewed the postwar lives of disabled soldiers who were permanently damaged during the Korean War. Disabled soldiers were honored as national heroes early on. The Syngman Rhee government established a support policy to help their lives, but wanted to quickly make the disabled soldiers self-reliant in order to reduce the resulting financial expenditure. Accordingly, the disabled soldiers found a way to get a job through the job reporting service of the support policy, or to make a living through disabled soldiers’ organizations or networks. Meanwhile, the military government that seized power in a coup in 1961 systematized the military support policy and strengthened the duty of employing disabled soldiers by government agencies and companies of a certain size. However, many employers soon dismissed disabled soldiers, citing demands for work they could not do with disabilities or for other reasons. The Park Chung-hee government raised the visible employment rate through systematization of policies, but failed to impose sanctions on the discriminatory culture that disabled soldiers actually encountered in the workplace. The Park Chung-hee government expected the disabled soldiers to show themselves as exemplary men who diligently work on the ‘modernization of the country’ as war heroes. However, socially, there was a perception that they were victims and disabled people who returned from war, and there was discrimination accordingly. In the midst of this contradictory perception, disabled soldiers lived in society appropriately utilizing the identity of male/veterans or disabled soldiers who needed help from the support system.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.