Pak Mae-Hyeong (1894 - July 18, 1973), also spelled Pak Mae-Hyong, was the first President of Korea and a military commander in the Pacific War, Second Sino-Japanese War and the Korean Civil War, best known for leading the Republican forces against the Monarchists and Communists. After establishing the Republic of Korea in 1947, Pak was reelected nine times to the Presidency and ruled Korea with the backing of the military, which he had filled with his close allies. While his rule was initially harsh and undemocratic, his centralized policies helped modernize the Korean economy and make it a major export country, lowering unemployment and significantly raising the standard of living. In the mid-1960's, his ruling Korean National Party began opening up the process through which other political parties could enter government and eased restrictions on free press and corporate laws. Shortly after his death in 1973, Korea became fully democratic. Pak is often referred to as the "Father of Korea" for his 26-year stewardship of the country and his contributions as a military officer in the three major conflicts involving Korea in the early 20th century.