They can be martyrs on any given day, and traitors the next

Sunday, September 27th, 2020

T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War) the Korean character, as he saw it:

The Koreans, North and South, are by any standard a brave people, but they are mercurial, rising one moment to extremes of exaltation, dropping quickly back into despair. They can be martyrs on any given day, and traitors the next. They have been called, not without reason, the Irish of the Orient. And in some cases, not even rigid Communist training, with its denial of basic human nature, can eradicate the nature of the Korean peasant.

When it became daylight, Senior Colonel Lee Hak Ku walked softly up into a small village held by the 8th Cavalry Regiment. Ironically, he had to awaken two sleeping American soldiers carefully in order to surrender. When they took him to the rear, the young, hard, square-faced North Korean was very cooperative with his interrogators.

He supplied them with whatever information they desired about his division. It did not matter, whatever he told them, because the division had been destroyed as a fighting force. Other prisoners, though of lesser rank, had told the same story.

His surrender so impressed General Walker that, when he heard the news, he phoned Tokyo from Taegu. Senior Colonel Lee Hak Ku was the highest-ranking Communist prisoner to be taken by the U.N. during the Korean War.

And in captivity, he would do more damage to the U.N. cause than he had ever accomplished while serving in the Inmun Gun.

Leave a Reply