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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Biographies

Jo Byeong-ok

Andrew C. Nahm and James E. Hoare

Jo was educated at Christian schools in Korea and studied at Columbia University, where he was strongly influenced by liberal and democratic ideas.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

JO BYEONG-OK (1894-1960). Born to a Christian family, Jo was educated at Christian schools in Korea and then studied at Columbia University, where he was strongly influenced by liberal and democratic ideas. After earning a Ph.D. in 1925, he returned to Korea, becoming a professor of economics at Yeonhui College (now Yonsei University). He joined a pan-national society of men named the New Shoots’ Society (Singanhoe), and in 1929 he was imprisoned for three years for his involvement in the Gwangju student incident. After his release from prison, Jo became a staff member on a vernacular daily paper, Chosun Ilbo. In 1940, he was again imprisoned for his nationalistic activity. In September 1945, Jo was one of the founders of the Korean (Hanguk) Democratic Party, serving briefly as director of the Department of Public Security of the United States Army Military Government in Korea. On the inauguration of the Republic of Korea, Jo became minister of home affairs. In 1952, he visited the United States and other democratic countries as a presidential envoy, campaigning for membership of the Republic in the United Nations. From 1951, Jo, as secretary general of a small Democratic Nationalist Party, struggled to promote democracy. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1954 and again in 1958, and in 1955 he became a co-founder of the Democratic Party. In 1959, the Democratic Party nominated Jo as its presidential candidate, but he died on 15 February 1960 while receiving medical treatment in the United States.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. (Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea, by Andrew C. Nahm and James E. Hoare, published by RLPG Books, appears by permission of the author and publisher).