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The meaning of construction efforts of Korean Air power during the period of independence(1945∼1948)

Kidoong Kim 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study focuses on the efforts of airmen to build air power since the Liberation of Korea until the establishment of government and intends to reveal the significance of such endeavor. As a result, it was possible to see the activities of the Korean National Preparatory Air Force(KNPAF) and conflicts between the airmen in a new light. The gist of this study is as follows. After liberation, air facilities and equipments implemented by the Japanese Empire were left behind on the Korean Peninsula. Trained during the colonial era, the airmen rallied around the Korea Aviation Association(KAA) and the KNPAF and attempted to build air power by using the air heritage from the Japanese. In order to achieve this goal, cooperation with the U.S military government was indispensable. The U.S military authorities, however, ramped up its control over aviation and dismissed the two organizations as it referred to incidents, such as flying without notice and corruption. Although Korea's dream of building air power appeared fallen to pieces due to U.S intervention, the airmen strived to find ways to stand back up again by forming small organizations in their own specialized fields. Other Air Force figures, such as General Choi Yongduk, returning home from overseas became a cause for the remaining personnel in the nation to gather once again, and this led to the foundation of the Korea Aviataion Establishment Assocation(KAEA). The KAEA was not only an organization that combined the two associations aforementioned, but it also included airmen overseas. Accordingly, the KAEA could carry out activities in various fields to build air power. One area that produced noteworthy achievements was the military field, in which an air unit was created and the basis for aviation training was established. On the other hand, the transportation sector in civil aviation under performed. Considering that Korea Int'l Airline approved to fly by colluding with the U.S military government ended up not operating, such limitation is more likely due to the influence of U.S military policies than the lack of the KAEA's capabilities. In order to make a result immediately in case the U.S military government showed any sign of shifting its control policies, the airmen continuously put much effort in building air power. Again, the establishment of an air unit and of the basis for aviation training is just one representative instance in line with such exertion. Likewise, the steadily developing air power Korea could maintain before and after the foundation of government can be said to have derived from the effort inside rather than outside. These efforts were not fruitless, for they became the driving force for further development of air power.

Citation status

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