Military history


Behind the Wire

The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops—no, but the kind of man the country turns out.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, SOCIETY AND SOLITUDE.

AS THE LINES stabilized and the year lengthened, Army Postal Office 971 also began to get things stabilized at Yongdungp'o, on the outskirts of Seoul. First Lieutenant Leonard Morgan received a new C.O., First Lieutenant Forrest Patrick. An ex-infantry officer, Patrick was blood and guts all the way, which was sometimes out of place in an APO.

He tried to get the four officers and eighty-five enlisted men shaped up, with lectures, and other exhortations, while the mail went through.

One day, he had the men assembled outside t

he shoe factory beside the Korean brewery, discussing the problem of the five-gallon water cans always being filled with native beer. At another time Patrick discussed proper conduct in the host Republic of Korea, in compliance with a directive put out by the 2nd Engineer Brigade in Inch'on.

"We've got to be friendly, and make a good impression," Patrick said. "I don't like this going into the local houses and carrying off the possessions, as some of you have been doing. I want it stopped."

While he talked, two GI's walked past behind him, carrying a large antique dresser on their backs. Even though they were from another outfit, Patrick's show was ruined.

Finally, a new C.O. came in, Major Harry Steinberg, Adjutant General's Corps. And Steinberg, called "Dollar Sign" because his initials on a piece of paper looked like one, was an operator. He got things done.

The first month, he got a shower for the em.

The second month, the water ran dry. A careful investigation proved that Kim, the Korean factotum who took care of the officer's tent, had been an engineer, and had diverted the water from the shower pipes underground to the Korean houseboy quarters.

Kim went, the water came back, and the mail continued to move.

Business was good.

During the third month there was an arrangement with the officers and men flying in now and then from staff jobs in Tokyo—who wanted to see how things were doing in Korea, earn a shiny new campaign ribbon, and qualify, if they came often enough, for the $200 per month income-tax exemption granted to all serving there—to smuggle in Air Force liquor.

And so the months went by.

It took a hell of a long time to accumulate thirty-six points this way, but as the boys of APO 971 knew, there were ways much worse.

On 17 March 1951 Sergeant Charles B. Schlichter's group from the Valley closed in at Prison Camp Number 5, near Pyoktong, on the Yalu River. The officer and N.C.O. ranks were separated from the others, and a physical count revealed 3,200 POW's of all grades present.

Between March and October that number was reduced by 50 percent.

American doctors were allowed to continue with sick call and treatment, but they were given nothing to work with. Medicines were almost nonexistent. The food continued below the calorie content necessary to keep an average American's flesh and spirit together.

One American doctor in the camp told Schlichter the 400 to 600 grams of boiled cracked corn and millet—with occasional dabs of soya beans and Chinese cabbage—issued each day could not contain more than 1,600 calories, and sometimes the content was only 1,200.

While under this diet extreme weight loss was inevitable, the worst was the diet's lack of mineral and vitamin content. In East Asia soya is almost the sole source of protein for the poor. But the Americans did not understand how to cook the beans; usually half cooked, these were often indigestible, and their sharp edges tortured men already suffering from starvation-induced diarrhea. Many men refused to touch the soya—cattle fodder in the States—and ate the starches alone. Few of these men lived.

The Geneva Conventions, revised after Western experience in Japanese POW camps in World War II, state:

To keep prisoners of war in good health, and to prevent loss of weight or the development of nutritional deficiencies, account shall be taken of the habitual diet of prisoners.

But to expect an Asian nation accustomed to famine to feed its prisoners of war better than its own half-starved peasantry was and remains wishful thinking on Americans' part.

The evidence does not suggest that the Chinese deliberately tried to starve the POW's with the end of extermination in mind, in the footsteps of the Nazis. When in late winter the death rate climbed alarmingly, to twenty-eight men each day, the Chinese commandant of Camp 5 showed signs of concern; he ordered the American doctors in the camp to stop the deaths, at once. More medicines were made available—but the commandant angrily resisted the Americans' demands for more food.

He admitted the POW's were fed worse than the guards—but they were receiving the same diet that class enemies of the Chinese state received, who not only had to undergo two or more years of reorientation on such rations, but hard labor, too. It was only with the coming of spring and summer, when most of the deaths had already occurred, that the Chinese improved the POW's diet. It was again improved, late in the war, for obvious reasons of world opinion. The Chinese did not wish to repatriate tottering skeletons.

And one fact that stands out starkly among the pieces of evidence is that while 50 percent of the American POW's died, and a percentage of British that caused grave concern later to her Majesty's Government, few South Koreans experienced much difficulty, and not one Turkish prisoner of war died.

Chemistry and culture killed the Americans.

The disciplines, attitudes, and organization that Americans brought into captivity killed many of them.

Only an extremely cohesive group, with tight leadership and great spiritual strengths, coupled with inner toughness and concern for one another, could have survived the shocks visited upon their minds and bodies.

The British sergeants stood like rocks, and did well. The British other ranks, largely National Servicemen drafted from the factory towns, with little sense of purpose or cohesion, did less well.

But it was the Turks who did best of all.

The Turks were a completely homogeneous group, with common back-ground and common culture, and with a chain of command that was never broken.

They remained united against the enemy, and they survived.

The Turks did not come from an admirable society. Only a few decades back in time, Turks were slaving in Egypt, and conducting vast pogroms in Armenia. In the last century Turks still blew living men from the mouths of cannon for minor crimes and punished more serious ones by impalement—a peculiarly horrible form of execution, in which a man was seated on a sharpened tapered stake, toes off the ground, and his body weight, and movements, slowly drove him downward.

There had never been anything approaching freedom, or democracy, in Turkey. Elections have been held, but the losers normally wind up in jail.

Turkey had journeyed partway into the twentieth century only under the iron fist of Kemal Atatürk and his successors, who were just as determined as the Chinese Communists to destroy an ancient, backward, Oriental way of life.

Atatürk was determined to Westernize his people by force. He broke the power of the Moslem clergy, revised education, changed the traditional head-gear and alphabet.

But in the middle of the century the Turkish soldier who served his country's colors was still a fanatically devout custom-ridden peasant, close to the soil and survival, accustomed to the fiercest discipline all his life, from father, state, and army—but with a barbarian's pride in himself and his people.

He would take baths only with his clothes on in the prison camps, or allow a nonbeliever friend such as Schlichter to view his Koran only through the seven veils, and he went white with outrage if venereal disease were even discussed. But he was completely aware of what he was—he was a Turk, and a Turk was unquestionably the finest of all possible things to be, even as there was no God but Allah. These matters he felt no need to prove or argue; he had imbibed them with his mother's milk, and his mind had not been cluttered with other notions since.

He knew Russians were Communists, and he knew Russians were enemies, always had been, always would be. He hated Russians; he hated Communists. The matter was not arguable.

He was close to the soil, and knew hardship; he ate what Allah or the dogs of Communist Chinese provided, without complaint. He also knew enough to eat any scrap of greenery he could place his hands on, and in the camps many better-educated Americans watched him eat weeds in amazement. Later, many of them followed suit.

He was barbarian-proud of his manhood and his fighting ability. He knew, dimly, that his ancestors had been the backbone of Near Eastern armies since the Empire of Roum and that their courage with cold steel had rarely been equaled. He knew, dimly, that firepower had vanquished his vaunted empire and that economically he was backward, but this had not lessened his faith in Turks or Turkdom. What schools he had attended used no economic arguments in teaching the greatness of Turks.

Even after thirty years of state anticlericalism, his faith in his God was childlike, ignorant, and complete.

He had enlisted for a minimum of six years, and he could not hope to become a sergeant until after that first six years. He had served long with the men about him in these camps, and he expected to serve beside these same men again, if Allah willed him to survive. He could not understand these Americans who often acted like strangers to one another, and as if they would never see one another again.

His senior enlisted man took command in the prison camp, because he was senior. Neither he nor the British N.C.O.'s held an election, as did the Americans—who elected in Camp Five a corporal masquerading as a sergeant who was popular with the Chinese guards.

His senior enlisted man ran a detail roster daily. There was never any question of who would chop the wood, haul the water, or care for the sick—while American N.C.O.'s and doctors and chaplains often begged men to feed the sick, wash the unconscious, or go outside for firewood—and were told, "Go to hell, you're no better than I am!"

When his senior enlisted man was threatened by the guards for defiance, it did them no good to remove him. The second, the third, even the hundredth senior man took over, and nothing changed.

When one Turk was too friendly with the Chinese, court was held, and Sergeant Schlichter was invited to observe. The senior N.C.O. sat as judge, and trial was held, with argument and testimony. When one Turk was found guilty of amiability toward the enemy, he was severely beaten. His defense counsel was beaten, too, for daring to extol such a traitor.

When Schlichter asked, "What happens if he does this again?" he was told,

"Then we shall kill him."

It was a rigid society, far from admirable by Western standards. Disturbingly, it had the best record of any group in Communist captivity.

Americans should remember that while barbarians may be ignorant they are not always stupid.

The sociologists, soldiers, and doctors will argue long why Americans died in Communist prisons, why some broke, and why others lived. The evidence has been fed into hearts, not computers, and the answers are unclear.

In Prisoner of War Camp 5, at Pyoktong, the Chinese tried to reeducate their captives. The methods were much the same as those of all Communist reeducation—reiteration, argument, lies, confusion, and the application of force and fear with varying degrees of subtlety.

It came to be called brainwashing, but it was nothing new. The Soviets had employed the same means against men they took at Stalingrad, with about the same degree of success.

Men behind wire are always afraid of their captors. Only by tight inner discipline and complete cohesion can they hope to resist completely what their captors will do to them. Inevitably, when pressured, some men collaborate.

Turks were asked to collaborate. They did not, because each Turk was firm in what he believed, and he knew implicitly that his group—the Turks—would never permit any individual lapses. A Turk who aided the Chinese was signing his own death warrant—and knew it.

There was no such cohesion to the body of Americans within the wire. In any group of human beings, of whatever nationality, there are criminals, fools, and potential traitors. American policy within the wire remained disapproving of such—but tolerant.

A certain number of Americans did criminal acts, against their own. A very few committed treason. A very few resisted fanatically.

The great majority, although disorganized, confused, and completely uninstructed as to how to behave in this new situation in which they were asked to sign petitions and state anticapitalist opinions, resisted passively. They did not condone collaboration, though they made few moves to stamp it out, as did the Turks. They preferred to shun it.

The Chinese educators were not diabolically clever; at times they were incredibly stupid. But they had the prisoners in their power, and they had them continually off balance. The POW's never understood the Communists, and never caught up with them.

As Charles Schlichter reported, almost all POW's were under the misapprehension that they might be tortured at any time. They were threatened with it, though it did not materialize.

Day after day, the POW's attended forced classes. They sat on hard wooden benches for six to eight hours a day, while Chinese lecturers hammered at them, over and over, about Okies, Roman Catholics, and Negroes in America, that all officials of the Republic were rich men, that all congressmen were college-trained, and that not one workingman had any say in the Republic's affairs, in American accents ranging from that of the deep South to Brooklyn.

The POW's were never excused from class for any reason. Men fainted, and were left where they lay. There was no excuse to visit latrines, even for men with dysentery. These fouled themselves, and were forced by guards to continue sitting.

The Chinese instructors found the POW's knew almost nothing of civics or the mechanics of American government, and of this they made big play. The fact that American soldiers knew so little, they said, proved that the ruling interests wanted it so.

The fact was that the majority of the very young men taken in the early months of Korea had little education—averaging not much beyond eighth grade. They had imbibed very little, also, with their mother's milk, as to what they were and what they stood for.

They knew the Communist lecturers were wrong—but they did not know how to refute them. American youth, during a grade-school education, or even beyond, do not learn the status of American Roman Catholics vis-á-vis the Constitution, discuss the plight of Okies, or hold debate on the ramifications of the Negro in American life.

Under the hammering, some of these men began to feel they did not even know who or what they were, or what their place might be in the grand design of the universe, while the Turks—fortunately protected by the language barrier—no Chinese spoke Turkish—sat happily aware that a Turk was a Turk, unarguably better than any pig of a Chinese Communist, educated or otherwise.

It was apparent to some men in Camp 5 that in order to permit Americans to live more amicably together, American education had done a great deal of damping of the flaming convictions men live and die by.

The men who had in one way or another come to hold strong, unswayable beliefs—such as Schlichter's reborn faith in his God, or some old infantry sergeant's belief in his service and Colors, or even some men's firm convictions on the superiority of Anglo-Saxon institutions—were the men who were untouched, whom the Chinese soon classed as reactionaries, and segregated.

Fortunately, after lectures, the POW's talked among themselves, and sometimes came up with answers to the provocative questions of their tormentors. Sometimes, they could not, although few believed in their hearts the Chinese had the right of it.

And, oddly, it was with the Okies, Catholics, and Negroes that the Communists, on the whole, had small success. Many of the disadvantaged understood the dream of America better than those who had enjoyed its benefits.

Sitting in the lecture room, Sergeant Schlichter, like so many others, was taken sick. He was sent to the crude Chinese hospital with pneumonia.

He almost died.

But here, as he said, he saw the greatest example of faith he had ever seen, in the actions of Chaplain Emil Kapaun, who had been taken at Unsan. Father Kapaun, ill himself, stood in front of the POW's, prayed, and stole food to share with other's. By his example, he sometimes forced the little bit of good remaining in these starving men to the fore.

But Chaplain Kapaun could not take command, and he soon grew deathly ill, probably as much from sorrow as from his own starvation.

Schlichter saw him put in a room, without food or medicine. No other American was allowed to treat the priest, and he soon died. He was not alone. Schlichter heard that no other chaplain survived the prison camps of Korea, the only class or group to be wiped out.

The Communists had no great fear of capitalist production; they hoped to surpass it. But as the proponents of what is certainly a secular religion, they feared and hated any sign of non-Communist spirituality, and showed it no mercy. They understood clearly that religion—not necessarily organized religion—was among the greatest stumbling blocks they faced.

They feared no church, as such; some of these they had come to control, in East Europe and elsewhere—but they were deeply apprehensive of forces such as neither Nero, Gallienus, nor Maxentius could destroy.

Also in the hospital was Dr. Kubenick, ill, like Schlichter, with pneumonia. Kubenick called to Schlichter, "Sergeant, I want you to do me a favor."


"See my things get home to my wife—"

"Why do you think I'll live and you won't?"

"Sergeant, I know—that's all. I want you to promise."

Later, Schlichter gave Kubenick's poor effects to Graves Registration. And later still, he visited Kubernick's wife, who asked him only if he had seen her husband die.

Among the families of men who died in the prison camps, there remains much bitterness. And there have been no reunions of POW's either.

On 3 October 1951, his thirtieth birthday, Charles Schlichter was released from the hospital. The next day the last man died in Camp 5 at Pyoktong.

Immediately after the deaths ceased, the Chinese saw a chance for propaganda. American doctors were removed from sick call, and more medical supplies were made available. The Communist Green Cross took over sick call.

Schlichter was made camp sanitation officer. "What can we do to help living conditions?" the Chinese asked him, with apparent sincerity.

"Replace the American M.D.'s, if only for psychological reasons," Schlichter told them.

"Ah, we can't do that—why, the American doctors didn't care whether you lived or died. Look how many died while they took care of you—"

It was the big-lie technique; the American doctors had held sway while the diet was at its worst, while men with wounds died without drugs, and with no cooperation from the guards. Only after the worst were they removed.

Yet many POW's believed this lie. Some never relinquished it, even after repatriation.

But prison life was not all horror. The Chinese announced a huge clean-up campaign of the camp. To get it rolling, they offered a pack of cigarettes for each two hundred dead flies caught, or three smokes for a rat.

Each evening Sanitation Officer Schlichter picked up the dead flies and rats, counted them out, and marked them down in his notebook. Then, with a guard, he marched in front of a camp official, who determined if the count was honest with a broken chopstick.

No one objected to Schlichter's handling the tobacco; he did not smoke.

One sergeant, who had been active as a Scout, devised a gauze flytrap, and placed it over the reeking latrine. When he had about 1,500 flies enmeshed in it, he took them to the Yalu and drowned them.

That night, when Schlichter turned in flies for cigarettes, the Chinese officer's eye popped. He said, "So many flies—good! Good!" Then his eyes narrowed. "How come no squash?"

But he paid off.

The Turks, closer to the soil than Americans, sought out pregnant rats, caught them, and slit them. Sometimes they got twenty-one smokes per rat.

There were libraries available, stocked with books from Communist countries, extolling the beauties of collectivism and exposing the fallacies of the capitalist system. From boredom, everybody read them.

The only newspapers available were old copies of the New York Daily Worker and the Shanghai Daily News, English-language sheets that gave only the Communist side.

The sole English or American books in the library were Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, and Dicken's A Christmas Carol, a story the Communists have never quite understood.

Life, through 1951 and 1952, was composed of details, now, in addition to the constant education. Men cooked, cut firewood, and wondered about the war.

There was almost no news. Newer prisoners, taken after the big hauls during the summer and winter of 1950, were never allowed to mingle with the older prisoners.

There was free enterprise, even in a Communist camp. The troops had been paid just before Kunu-ri, and almost everyone had a great deal of MPC. Money was useless; besides, all knew that the Military Payment Certificates had been changed, and doubted if the government would make the old ones good. An old watch went for $200. A cigarette cost $10, or sold at a volume price of three for $25.

Some men gambled. Schlichter saw as much as $1,000 rest on the turn of a card—though men seldom bet their food or sugar ration.

Inevitably, some men in Camp 5 soon had all the money there was to be had.

That was also part of free enterprise, any way you cut it.

For recreation, the POW's were taught to sing the "Internationale," and "The Chinese People's Volunteers' Marching Song." Sometimes, by a particularly hearty rendition of these, they could get extra chow.

Slowly, bitterly, even though the dying had ended, the months dragged on.

Finally, on 12 August 1952, Schlichter and many others, classified as reactionaries unfitted for further education, were sent to Camp 4, at Wewan. This was a camp reserved for sergeants; there were three POW companies: Number 1 contained three French N.C.O.'s, Puerto Ricans, Niseis from the 5th RCT, 35 British sergeants, and 23 Turks. Number 2 was wholly American and white, while Number 3 was filled with colored soldiers.

Here, one man asked Schlichter, "Do you think a POW-camp promotion will be permanent?" The man was a private who had told the Chinese he was a sergeant.

Schlichter answered him that, unlike a posthumous promotion, he didn't think it was.

On Koje Island, the U.N. compounds were now filled to bursting with Chinese and North Koreans. The 2nd Logistical Command in Pusan, under whose command Koje-do remained, continued to cope as best they could.

Actually, all seemed to be running very well.

The POW's were busy in workshops, making placards, flags, and newssheets, with which they flooded the island. They were making other things, too, but these they hid.

Each day one American N.C.O. with a couple of POW trusties made routine inspections of the compounds housing the 80,000-odd captives. There was no question that food, clothing, and housing were adequate, although the number of POW's in each compound made control difficult, and close inspection almost impossible.

POW's still disappeared or turned up dead; there still seemed to be dissension in the compounds. But none of the guards thought it was their business, or of any great concern.

In the absence of concern, or pressure, the control of the camps tended to grow lackadaisical.

And certain of the POW's tended to grow more and more arrogant.

The command of Koje-do changed rapidly, now, as Colonel Fitzgerald became a sort of permanent executive officer to various officers sent in by 2nd Logistical Command in Pusan. In all there were thirteen different commanders, none with any experience with POW's—and none with any backing from higher up.

Certain nations of the U.N. were hypersensitive over the treatment of the POW's, whether because of common geographical background or fear of American discrimination, or whatever. These, and the International Red Cross, and the Neutral Nations Inspection Teams—called NITS by all Americans—harassed the POW Command regularly regarding POW rights and privileges.

None of these agencies could enter North Korea because of the blunt refusal of the Communists, but they compensated by being twice as officious on Koje-do. Because of their vigilance and constant complaints, higher head-quarters in the Eighth Army and FECOM made it quite clear that no force of any kind might be used against the POW's, regardless of their actions.

Colonel Lee Hak Ku and the mysterious Hong Chol were spreading their network of control through the compounds day by day. Certain American officers knew this, but their hands were tied. As Major Bill Gregory said: "No commander could get any backing from General Yount in Pusan, General Van Fleet, Ridgway, or anyone else. Ridgway himself never seemed to care a hoot in hell about what happened in Koje-do."

There were certainly no appropriations for new compounds, new wire, new construction materials. Eighty thousand potential tigers milled behind the flimsy, jerry-built wire pens that had been erected in early 1951; no better ones were ever built. Such requests were promptly rejected.

One big reason so little concern was shown for the POW camps was that higher headquarters, with the start of truce talks, was convinced the war would end any day, automatically ending the POW problem by repatriation.

There were matters that needed straightening out within the compounds—but each commander on Koje-do knew clearly that if the hair of one POW were bruised, if one guard bashed a prisoner, neither Van Fleet nor Ridgway would lift a finger to aid during the ensuing hue and cry.

It is very clear that if Washington and Far East Command had been less concerned with world and neutral opinion and more with internal order, the near tragedy that was to come to Koje-do could have been averted.

By late 1951 it was already clear to both Americans and neutrals that there was intense political ferment within the compounds. The POW's were dividing into Communists and non-Communists—and amazing to the neutrals, who would not at first believe this—many POW's began to petition the U.N. not to allow them to be repatriated.

The treatment of the POW's, and their glimpses into non-Communist life, had had some results. More fundamental, however, was the fact that many Koreans and Chinese had been forcibly pressed into the Communist armies, and many of these had no political belief and even, in thousands of cases, a genuine hatred of their rulers.

The U.N. was slow to capitalize on this fact. The situation called for fair and impartial screening of all POW's, as Swiss Delegate Lehner reported. There was an unspoken reason behind the United Nations' reluctance to become involved in the POW's loyalties, however.

After agreement on the cease-fire line in November 1951, hopes appeared bright for a quick end to the fighting in Korea. The only really knotty question remaining was disposition of each side's POW's. The Communists—who had oasted of having taken 64,000 POW's, mostly Koreans—now claimed they had only 11,000 available to return. This disclosure caused anguish among the ROK's, who wondered at the fate of 50,000 of their countrymen, but did not seem an obstacle in the way of the U.N.'s desire for peace.

But in March of 1952, at Panmunjom, the U.N. negotiators were forced to admit to the enemy that apparently a great many of the POW's held at Pusan and Koje-do did not wish to return to their homelands. Surprisingly agreeable, the Chinese and North Koreans suggested these men be screened.

For two days, beginning in April 1952, loudspeakers blared in every U.N. POW camp, telling the prisoners that each man would be individually interviewed to determine which desired repatriation, and which, for various reasons, did not.

No promises were now issued to those who might not want to return. In fact, the prospects held out were almost grim. After so many happy months of trying to indoctrinate the POW's, it had suddenly occurred to Americans that if a substantial number refused repatriation, the end of the fighting could be long delayed, with the further delay of repatriation of American POW's in the north.

One Captain Harold Whallon, the son of American missionaries born in China, a recalled Reserve officer, was ordered to Koje-do to assist with the screening. Arriving at the island, he found a number of other officers and men, all with backgrounds similar to his.

The screening began. It was a difficult job; most of the Orientals could not conceive of truly free choice without strings.

But amazingly, of the Chinese, it soon turned out that not more than one in five wanted to go home. Most of the Chinese POW's claimed to be old soldiers of Chiang Kai-shek, forcibly inducted into the Communist Forces, who now considered themselves political refugees.

In the Korean compounds it was different. Here Communist leaders had imposed tight control in many compounds, and a virtual war was being waged between Communist and anti-Communist groups. American guard officers knew of this control, but they also knew that bloodshed would be required to break it. With world opinion focused on Koje-do, and with an armistice hang ing in the balance at Panmunjom, higher headquarters would not listen to suggestions of strong measures.

But the screening went on, and U.N. figures showed that only 50 percent—about 70,000—of the total POW's and civilian internees held by the U.N. Command would return voluntarily to Red China or North Korea.

It was one of the greatest propaganda coups against world Communism ever recorded, but it brought only gloom to U.N. officials, who by now wanted only "out" of the war.

President Truman, informed, declared that "forced repatriation was repugnant to the free world" and that Americans would not force human beings to return to Communist slavery.

He was not wholly applauded, though editorial comment was favorable. It was deeply feared that this development would delay the return of the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers now in Korea.

And at Panmunjom, as feared, the Communist representatives dropped dialectics for once and exhibited sheer rage. Publicly to admit defection from their ranks was an unthinkable loss of face. The Communist delegation shrieked that all captured personnel must be returned, whatever their politics.

They stated flatly the U.N. would get no peace, unless at least 110,000 POW's were forced to return. On 25 April 1952, they angrily recessed the meetings.

Faced with stinging defeat in an unexpected quarter, the Communists now planned a diversion—one that would prove to the world that the U.N. was actually coercing its POW's into the stand so many had taken.

The fact that the diversion would be bloody and cost hundreds of lives—North Korean and Chinese lives—bothered Nam II, the man who conceived it, not at all.

Jeon Moon II, or Pak Sang Hyong, the name he went by, was the child of Korean refugees in the Soviet Union. He was a Young Communist, a graduate of the University of Khabarovsk in 1937, and his rise was rapid.

In 1945 he had the honor of being one of the thirty-six Soviet citizens of Korean ancestry ordered to enter North Korea, change citizenship, and organize the Chosun Minjujui Inmun Kongwhakuk, in company with Kim II Sung and Nam II. He became Vice Chairman of the North Korean Labor Party.

In 1952 Jeon Moon II, a short, evil-faced man, was officially listed as a Private Pak of the Inmun Gun in the U.N. prisoner-of-war camp on Koje-do. Good Communists go where they are ordered, and serve wherever they may be.

Certain POW's, newly captured along the battle line and sent to Koje-do, reported to Jeon, head of the Communist Political Committee, once inside the camp. These brought news from the North, and fresh orders from Nam II, otherwise busily engaged at Panmunjom.

In April of 1952, Jeon received special orders. They came to him in a special way, through the major.

The major, whose real name and identity were as difficult to ascertain as that of all Communist bigwigs, had received several months' special training and instruction. He was taught to rehearse his story of the murder of his family by the Communists and of his secret hatred for the regime. When he was thoroughly prepared—even to a clear understanding of the dangers of his task—he was reminded once again of the promotion and decoration his work, successfully completed, would bring, and he was assured that if he did not return his family would receive a pension for forty years.

Then the major was given a dirty, ragged, front-line private's uniform, with a stained U.N. surrender leaflet in its pockets.

It was dangerous, but no great problem, to walk into U.N. lines with his hands up, spouting his story, and brandishing the surrender leaflet with its announced safe conduct.

From there on, the U.N. did the rest. They saw that he arrived at Koje-do. Inside the wire, it was no great problem to contact the Communist grapevine and pass Nam II's word to the head of the Political Committee.

Further screening and separation of Communists and anti-Communists must now be resisted to the death, the major informed Jeon. Further, a high-ranking American officer must be captured. With his life at stake, then a promise against further screening might be exacted—if not, then the enemy without the wire might be provoked into such violence that the Communist claims of U.N. brutality would be proved to all the world.

Jeon, the political officer, had a senior colonel and a full division of men under his tight command. He had compound colonels, captains, corporals. The senior officers, Lee Hak Ku and Hong Chol, felt they could capture Kojedo, if necessary, though they then had no place to go; they saw no great difficulty in capturing the newly arriving Brigadier Francis T. Dodd, the first general officer ever sent down to command the island.

Nor did they, on 7 May 1952.

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