The splitting of Korea first started in 1920 when Rhee Syngman, a dogmatic demagogue who lived in the United States for much of his life, saw the United States as the savior of Korea. Rhee believed that Korea would be better off as an American protectorate. Opposing Rhee were the communists who believed that the Soviet Union was the savior of Korea. Caught between these two world powers were the nationalists who believed that the Koreans themselves should liberate Korea. The fights intensified after 1945, culminating in the Korean War. Pro-US elements took control of South Korea while pro-Soviet elements ruled North Korea. The Korean nationalists who wanted Korea for the Koreans were purged in both Koreas. The former comrades in arms who once ate from the same bowl turned on each other. Millions were killed while the lucky ones escaped to Japan, China, Europe and the United States. .
This half century long feud between democratic South Korea and the communist North Korea has recently diminished into a fluid and dynamic relationship. The obvious drastic economic deterioration in North Korea has brought international humanitarian aid to the beleaguered regime to help the plight of hungry and starving children. Because of this the North is allowing trade with the South in order to earn critical foreign capital. But it is still reluctantly willing to open its self to the South and the international community. While there has been much speculation about the collapse of North Korea, it is very unlikely to come anytime soon. The communists" grip on all manner of social, economic, political, and military affairs has so far ensured their stability and may well continue to do so. The South does not wish for the collapse of the North because it could open up military, political, and humanitarian pitfalls. Both Koreas aim to achieve reunification gradually instead. .
The first sign of a reunification between the two Koreas was when North president Kim Jong I1 played the gracious host to the South's president, Kim Dae Jung, at a historic summit between the two countries who are technically still at war.