Tae Choon Park was already very interested in Germany during his studies at the military academy in Korea. During his officer’s training, he was given a posting in Germany from 1986 to 1988. In the course of the following two decades, he occasionally returned to Germany – to the Army Training Division, the Army Office and also to the General Staff Office of the 2nd Army. From 2012 to 2016, he was posted to Berlin as the Defence Attaché for South Korea.
During this time, Tae Choon Park clarified a mistake in German-Korean history at the time of the Korean War. He was responsible for correcting the history books dealing with the almost forgotten story about Germany as a source of hope at difficult times. During the Korean War (1950-1953), Germany first of all offered to support the USA financially and by building a field hospital in South Korea. However, while the equipment was still being shipped, a cease-fire was declared. What was originally planned as a field hospital in 1953, turned into an almost normal hospital with 250 beds in a former lyceum in Busan, which was opened in 1954. Until 1959, the German Red Cross operated the hospital in Busan, which included a surgical, internistic and gynaecological department. In these five years, only poor patients were admitted, usually seriously ill. When the German Red Cross took stock after five years of service, the results were amazing: 22,000 patients admitted and 230,000 people given treatment as outpatients, 16,350 operations, 6,000 births.
By mistake, Germany had previously only been credited with giving financial support, but not with providing medical aid. This correction thanks to Tae Choon Park is of vast importance to Germany, not least because this means that Germany made an essential contribution to developing modern medical technology in Korea. Tae Choon Park rightly realised that this hospital was of great significance to Korea on the road to becoming an industrialised country. [NU]