North Korea is an asylum run by the maddest of the hatters and its leaders are hellbent on spreading bedlam to the rest of the world. To this end, they abet the disciples of intolerance, men of other nations who have deluded themselves into believing that they alone possess the one truth to which all people must submit or die. Their greatest danger is that they do not fear death. They welcome it, and Korea is ready, willing, and able to supply the instruments of death.
The war itself was a relatively simple affair. It may be summed up briefly in four campaigns: (1) The North Koreans drove the South Koreans from their capital and almost totally from the peninsula; (2) The South Koreans, with the aid of the Americans led by Douglas Macarthur, landed at Inchon, cutting off the North Koreans from their bases and briefly uniting the peninsula under one command; (3) the Chinese Communists launched a surprise attack drove the South Koreans and Americans back to the southern tip of the peninsula; and (4) the South Koreans and Americans, reinforced by U.N. Forces drove the Chinese Communists back to the original border, the 38th Parallel, where the war became stalemated. All of this occurred in a brief, though bloody, two-year engagement.
Koreans, both North and South, suffered terribly during the war. North Koreans murdered their cousins in the South during the first campaign, and South Koreans exacted brutal revenge during the second. As a result, enmity between the two halves of the Korean population remains strong to this day.
The only people Koreans despise more than their neighbors are the Japanese. Most of us know that the Japanese treated the Koreans terribly during World War II. Most notably, few are unaware that the Japanese Army used Koreans as “comfort women,” irredeemably debasing them and leaving them with self-loathing. However, Japanese crimes against Korea extend from well before World War II. Following the Sino-Japanese War in the early Twentieth Century, Japan annexed Korea and renamed it Chosin, a province of Japan.
Korea remained a province of Japan until the end of World War II. During that time, the Japanese attempted to eradicate all vestiges of Korean culture. Koreans were forbidden to speak their own language or practice their own cultural or religious celebrations. Japanese commanders and bureaucrats carried off Korean national treasures. Korean dissenters, sometimes whole villages, were annihilated to enforce Japanese demands.
Some may dismiss the loss of Korean culture as a minor event in human history. However, I have come to learn that Korea had a rich cultural heritage predating Western Civilization. It simply had the misfortune of being located between two militarily superior forces, China and Japan. Ultimately, it fell victim to that fate alluded to in the African Proverb - “When two bulls fight, it is the grass that suffers.”
It is my habit to research the people and the place in time long before the milieu of my story so that I will have a deeper understanding of them. As I studied the history of Cuba to pre-Columbian times to better understand Fidel Castro's Revolution, I am reaching back into antiquity to understand the Korean culture that Japan attempted to eradicate. I believe that it still resonated during the Korean War as well as it resonates today despite Japan's best or worst efforts.