The REAL Reason North Korea Hates the USA

72 Hours Exploring “The Scariest Place on Earth”
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The Border of North and South Korea can seem like a scary place. And yet, in the US we tend to think of everything wrong. In this piece, I jump into an alternative approach to the modern history of this conflict and try to understand why South Koreans aren’t nearly as afraid of North Korea as Americans are.

Correction: 18:57 The shop owner says “11 years” not “12 years”

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Johnny Harris is a 2-time Emmy winning filmmaker and journalist. He currently is based in Washington, DC, reporting on interesting trends and stories domestically and around the globe. Johnny’s visual style blends motion graphics with cinematic videography to create content that explains complex issues in relatable ways. He holds a BA in international relations from Brigham Young University and an MA in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.

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Comment (36)

  1. Pretty sure it was a Pakistani nuclear scientist who gave them the knowledge to build the Bomb. Also, fairly certain that the North Korean museum doesn’t include the minor detail that it was they who invaded the South. I just wish Johnny had gone into exactly how long America not only had troops there but essentially governed the country; South Korea didn’t have meaningful elections until the mid 80’s. This was largely our mistake in Iraq and somewhat also in Afghanistan; a people who have never experienced democracy cannot embrace it so quickly. I think the French are on their fifth go around, and Germany is at least on its third.

  2. Lol, was wondering why the author of the book was left out and why someone famous for Korean war stuides like Bruce Cummings wasn't cited, searching the title I find it is Charles K. Armstrong aaaaand, gee, maybe this is why,

    His 2013 book, Tyranny of the Weak, won the John K. Fairbank Prize, but he voluntarily returned it in 2017 after the American Historical Association asked him to account for issues with the citations, including plagiarism and source fabrication. He left Columbia in June 2020.

    And of course Cummings wasn't used surely because he gets to the actual heart of the matter: a direct indictment of the grotesque belligerancy of US "full spectrum domination" empire. We are literally the cause of all of these conflicts globally as they are stabilizing in their chaotic tensions and more importantly can be perpetually profitted from while we strip-mine the earth for resources, imposing neoliberal finance capitalism post-WWII through Bretton-Woods and our tentacles of financial domination in the IMF/World Bank. Cool stuff.

    If anyone wants actual depth, check out the podcast Blowback and their third season on what actually occured, with interviews with Bruce Cummings and other scholars standing in for the stylish hollow performance of any substance that this guy thinks accounts for any sort of understanding.

  3. The podcast Blowback does a really good job covering the events leading up to the start of the Korean War if you are interested in more details.

  4. ". . . if anything, it's just plain sad. It's sad to see 70 years of this standoff: this needless standoff that was created by powerful outsiders; and, once again what we see is that the people who share the same history and culture and language but are divided continue the be the ones that suffer from this." Johnny Harris

  5. The 2nd world war was a weird time-period. My Grandfather was a carpenter before the war and helped to rebuild bridges in Italy(and was fluent but never told us). Upon returning to England though, his wife had left him for another man and it took him a decade to find my father. Although we like to believe there are issues in societies nowadays, imagine being put in a home because your father was at war and your mother abandoned you. We are lucky to live in the 21st century; despite the issues.

  6. I've heard the 9/11 memorial has criticized as being used as an excuse to hate on foreigners rather than as a method to commemorate the death to some that visit it, I'm not saying its exactly that but it is a good similarity as to what north korea will do to keep hate alive no differently than what the US may do when it comes to 9/11… Much worse in North Korea but you get what I'm saying…

  7. I worked in South Korea from 2014-2015 then when I finished my contract I went to North Korea for 12 days in autumn of 2015 via a British operated travel agency HQ'ed in Beijing (Koryo Tours)- I remember going to Pyongyang seeing how crazy deep the metro system was (can be repurposed as bomb shelters) and the some of the tunnels dug around Pyongyang from the war. The scars are still there. The only city with any intact buildings that predate 1945 in the DPRK are in Kaesong, and that's because it was originally part of South Korea before the war.
    It's also not just a defensive mentality there. It's a revenge one as well. There's a museum south of Pyongyang at Sinchon devoted solely to American war atrocities. Are some of them embellished to serve as state propaganda? Sure. Do some ring true like mentioned in the video? Yes. Anyways at this museum there's an outdoor amphitheater like area that is a "revenge pledging place" where school kids can go to pledge revenge on the United States. It's pretty grim stuff.

  8. It’s crazy to think how different things would be if the US didn’t join WW2 and Germany wiped out the USSR. Then the US could have easily defeated the Germans as their armies would have been exhausted and supplies depleted and how different things would be. No German nazis and no Soviets to help North Korea. The US would be insanely more powerful than any other country could even dream. This outcome could have prevented all the proceeding conflicts with Russia and North Korea. Nuclear weapons wouldn’t be as plentiful and the only other country that would somewhat be a threat would be China (big maybe). I know the US definitely has blood on its hands but that definitely seems like a better option than total nuclear war bringing an end to all human progress in a matter of days.

  9. A real life case study of capitalism vs communism. Those Dems today who think communism isn't horrible should look at N Korea and S Korea very closely.

  10. I really appreciate your effort ,enthusiasm and attention to details in your research , and presentation! I learned a lot and I’ve seen my fair share of YT videos about North Korea

    Side serious note Mr.Johnny , I don’t suppose you have a map/app/symbols for any shelters in Houston, Texas ?😂

  11. Whilst American mainstream news outlets do love to pump up the prospect of war for ratings, the thing that I took from this video was how unprepared SK has become in the case of a war. The fact that either old bomb shelters have been repurposed or underground facilities slap on a bomb shelter sign for some bureaucratic compliance seems blasé to me. For South Koreans, of course they wouldn't think about the prospect of war when NK and its nuclear tests have always been a regular part of their life – this doesn't mean the danger is false however. Most of us don't think about car accidents or natural disasters at all if they don't happen to us directly, yet it happens all around us and the chance is very much real. It reminds me of days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when some reporters on the ground in Kyiv interviewed people and asked if they were concerned and almost all people were not, just going about their lives as usual, thinking its a media beat up. You can't expect regular citizens to understand and be aware of military readiness and security intelligence. I'm not saying things should be any other way, but these are my thoughts from this video. Many thanks Johnny for offering such a unique look into this and congrats on the Emmy!


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