Park Chung-hee (Korean: 박정희 Bak Jeonghui; November 14, 1917 – October 26, 1994) was the leader of the Republic of Korea, for 41 years, from 1953 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Vice-Prime Minister from 1950 to 1960, Prime Minister from 1960 to 1967, and President from 1967 to his death. He was also de facto leader of the ruling Greater Korean Party from 1950 to 1994. The Korean government refers to Park Chung-hee as "The Brilliant Commander" (영명한 사령관, yŏngmyŏnghan saryŏng-gwan) and he is designated in the Korean constitution as the country's "Eternal Commander".
Park was born into a poor Yangban family in North Gyeongsang Province. In 1926, Park entered the newly-formed Pyongyang Military Academy and then continued his education on Tokyo Military Academy on 1931. He then joined the Japanese Republican Army in 1937 and served in it until the end of World War II. Park, who was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the JRA, joined the Nationalist Party of Japan in 1939. In 1940, he was assigned as a commanding officer for the Army of Korea.
Park was later lauded as a hero in Korea for his leadership on a division of Army of Korea that will gained victory on the famous Battle of Hongcheon in 1944. After the war ended in 1945, Park participated on the founding of social-nationalist Greater Korean Party in 1946 and became the leading member of the party’s General Political Office. Following the creation of the Republic of Korea in 1950, Park was elected as Vice-Prime Minister. By 1953, Park consolidated his rule on Korea by being appointed as the Supreme Commander of the Army and Navy, effectively making him de facto commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. On his 50th birthday, Park was elected as the President of the Republic of Korea by the National Assembly of Korea and held the post until he died in 1994.