The history and development of the tank in the South Korea spans the period from their adoption after War World II with the foundation of the South Korean Army, into the Cold War and the present.Over this period Korea has moved from being an operator of United States designed and produced tanks to being the designer and manufacturer of first class tanks in its own right Tanks in the South Korean Army have over several decades of history, from the M4A3E8 "Easy Eight" variant of Sherman tanks, and M47 and M48 Patton series tanks to the K1A1 Main Battle Tank and will soon see the K2 Black Panther (흑표;黑豹 Heukpyo).
The development of the vehicle which resulted in the South Korean K1 88-Tank was completed in 1983, with a prototype being delivered to the South Korean government in the same year.
A long history of invasions by neighbors and the unresolved tension with North Korea have prompted South Korea to allocate 2.6% of its GDP and 15% of all government spending to its military (Government share of GDP: 14.967%), which has allowed its own development of tanks.
Despite the initial plan of a unified Korea in the 1943 Cairo Declaration, escalating Cold War antagonism between the Soviet Union and the United States eventually led to the establishment of separate governments, each with its own ideology, leading to Korea's division into two political entities in 1948: North Korea and South Korea.
In the North, a former anti-Japanese guerrilla and communist activist, Kim Il-sung gained power through Soviet support.
When the North Koreans invaded South Korea in June 1950, using T-34s, the South Koreans had no armor of their own so had to retreat in the face of North Korean tanks.
Soon after the invasion of South Korea, the United Nations voted to support the South Koreans.
With the Korean War so closely following on the heels of WWII, many of the top tanks used in World War II were also utilized during the Korean War.
In the South, elections supervised by the United Nations were held, a Republic of Korea was declared, and Syngman Rhee inaugurated as its first president.
In December, the UN General Assembly declared this "a lawful government" and "the only such government in Korea." The United States engaged in the decolonization of Korea (mainly in the South, with the Soviet Union engaged in North Korea) from Japan after World War II.
After three years of military administration by the United States, the South Korean government was established.
On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, sparking the Korean War, the Cold War's first major conflict that continued until 1953.